The McMurray Formation is one of the most significant bitumen deposits in Canadian oil sands. Bitumen-bearing sand intervals deposited and reworked in fluvial, tidal or estuarine environments result in heterogeneous sediment distributions comprising clean sands and low-permeability muddy laminae or mud drapes. These interlayers increase the difficulty in estimating reservoir permeability, which is a critical geological parameter to predict the performance of in situ thermal processes of the oil sands projects. In this paper, we describe a bedding-scale geomodelling and simulation workflow using core images, core-plug and Vshale logs to estimate the effective permeability (Kh, Kv) in the Upper McMurray Formation. Details of five steps in this workflow are presented. To show the general applicability of this workflow, three pay-zone facies from tidal-channel infilled deposits of the Mackay River Project, CNPC, were selected to demonstrate this sedimentary process mimicking bedding-scale geomodelling strategy. The results of effective permeability estimation have the potential to improve history matching in flow simulations and performance forecasting.

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