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Introduction

Heavy oil has recently become an important resource as conventional oil reservoirs have limited production and oil prices rise. More than 6 trillion barrels of oil in place have been attributed to the world's heaviest hydrocarbons (Curtis et al., 2002). Therefore, heavy-oil reserves account for more than 3 times the amount of combined world reserves of conventional oil and gas. Of particular interest are the large heavy-oil deposits of Canada and Venezuela, which together may account for approximately 55%–65% of the known less than 20° American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity oil deposits in the world (Curtis et al., 2002)....

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