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Recovery Potential of the Bitumen Saturated Grosmont Carbonate Shelf

May 20, 2008

The Athabasca oil sands are underlain to the west by a sequence of Paleozoic carbonate ramps understood to have formed the oil migration path to the clastics. These bitumen-bearing carbonates are dominated by the Grosmont, a heavily karsted and dolomitized reservoir sequence recognized to hold a minimum of 300 billion barrels of oil in place. Although lower permeability carbonates hold an extensive amount of the world’s recognized light oil reserves, notably throughout the Middle East, the Alberta Grosmont platform presents unique features that may prove ideally suited to bitumen recovery. Reservoir drive mechanisms within carbonates differ from clastics in several respects, but can be better appreciated with an understanding of the rock framework within the Grosmont. Key to effective bitumen recovery will be the distribution of enhanced porosity and permeability from the formation vug and fracture network. The application of computed tomography imaging and preliminary lab work has provided encouraging results for the recovery potential of the Grosmont to SAGD. This presentation will review a series of initial findings to recovery performance within the Grosmont, inclusive of some surprises that remain subject to further investigation.

Click Here to View Presentation (PDF - 2.9 MB)

Mauro Cimolai is an internal technical advisor with Laricina Energy involved with the reservoir characterization and exploitation strategy development of the bitumen bearing Grosmont carbonate shelf deposit. Mauro’s career covers 28 years in the industry, previously with Core Laboratories as Vice-President, Reservoir Characterization and Modeling, proceeding through several producing companies including 10 years focused within the Deep Basin at Canadian Hunter. Mauro’s career interests have centered on subsurface reservoir evaluation and numerical simulation, having worked with carbonate reservoirs throughout the world inclusive of the Middle East, Turkey, South America and across Alberta. This presentation will highlight current progress in understanding the thermal potential of the bitumen-bearing, Upper Grosmont dolomite karst.

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