Abstract

Predicting bitumen recovery from the McMurray Formation oil sands is required to optimize resource management and development planning. While there are many parameters that affect the recovery predictions, bitumen grade and fines in the oil sands mining, and permeability in the in situ projects, are the most important geological parameters. In this paper, we discuss how particle size distribution data can aid in the estimation of these and some other parameters and what value it brings in improving our understanding of oil sands quality and recovery. We conclude with a short review of the methods currently available for particle size distribution modeling, while paying special attention to a practical particle size distribution modeling approach based on look-up tables. The proposal is illustrated using Telephone Lake data.

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