ABSTRACT

We have investigated the elastic properties of heavy oil sands influenced by the multiphase properties of heavy oil itself and the solid matrix with regard to temperature, pressure, and microstructure. To separately identify the role of the heavy oil and solid matrix under specific conditions, we have designed and performed special ultrasonic measurements for the heavy oil and heavy oil-saturated solids artificial samples. The measured data indicate that the viscosity of heavy oil reaches 1015  cP at the temperature of glass point, leading the heavy oil to act as a part of a solid frame of the heavy oil sand sample. The heavy oil is likely movable pore fluid accordingly once its viscosity dramatically drops to approximately 101  cP at the temperature of liquid point. The viscosity-induced elastic modulus of heavy oil in turn makes the elastic properties of heavy oil-saturated grain solid sample to be temperature dependent. In addition, the rock physics model suggests that the microstructure of heavy oil sand is transitional; consequently, the solid Gassmann equation underestimates the measured velocities at the low temperature range of the quasisolid phase of heavy oil, whereas overestimates when the temperature exceeds the liquid point. The heavy oil sand sample has a higher modulus and approaches the upper bound due to the stiffer heavy oil itself acting as a rock frame as the temperature decreases. In contrary, heavy oil sand displays a lower modulus and approaches the lower bound when the heavy oil becomes softer as the temperature goes up.

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