Partnering to innovate for sustainable development – Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Working Group

This project is part of a research program to develop a model of sustainability-oriented innovation processes. The model would allow Canadian organizations to innovate systematically and deliberately and become leaders in innovating for sustainable development. We will work to develop the model with Canada’s Oil Sand’s Innovation Alliance and its members: Cenovus Energy Inc., Shell Canada Energy and Suncor Energy Inc.

Study of Cyclic Solvent Injection (CSI) Process with Carbon Dioxide/Methane/Propane Mixture Solvent

This project is to perform systematic studies to better understand key recovery mechanisms of mixture solvent CSI process and provide fundamental parameters for field-scaled prediction. For mass transfer, a methodology of measuring diffusion coefficients for multiple components simultaneously dissolving into heavy oil systems under bulk volume and porous medium conditions will be established. For foamy oil flow, its properties of non-equilibrium will be investigated by PVT measurement and depletion tests, respectively.

Responsible Development of Unconventional Hydrocarbon Reserves

Unconventional oil and gas resources are currently a significant portion of global oil and gas production and it is anticipated to continue its growth as production from conventional resources decline. Unconventional oil and gas resources include low permeability (“tight” resources e.g. shale), heavy oil and oil sands reservoirs amongst others. Economic and responsible development of these unconventional resources is a priority for society, governments and industry.

Effects of Geomechanical Heterogeneity on Wormhole Development during Cold Heavy Oil Production – Phase 1

Canada possesses vast resources of heavy oil, which is oil that is too thick to flow through porous sandstone reservoirs and into production wells at economic rates when conventional operating practices are used. Since the mid 1980’s, heavy oil operators have demonstrated their ability to increase heavy oil production rates by encouraging the creation of porous and permeable zones (“wormholes”) within their reservoirs by allowing sand grains to detach from the reservoir rock and flow into the well (along with the oil).


Western Canada has vast heavy oil deposits in many thin heavy oil reservoirs with less than 10-m main pay zones. The cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is the primary production process for the heavy oil reservoirs. However, a typical CHOPS process can recover only 5?15% of the initial oil-in-place and waterflooding has had a limited success.

Fugitive Emissions in Liquefied Natural Gas Transmission, Storage, and Distribution: Canadian Solutions for Transportation and Remote Power

The proposed research will be focused on eliminating fugitive emissions from liquefied natural gas (LNG) transmission, storage, and distribution operations. LNG can be used as fuel for transportation, and for combined heat and power generation in remote locations. We will study transmission, storage, and distribution operations by developing quasi-steady-state and time-dependent thermodynamic models. These models will be validated using data from instrumented equipment at our industrial partners’ sites (a small consortium has been created specifically to support the proposed research).

Managing Microbial Corrosion in Canadian Offshore Oil and Gas Production – Focus on chemistry and genomics

This MITACS proposal focuses on the chemical processes occurring that may enhance or inhibit microbial growth, identify and detect key microbial chemical precursors to MIC, and development of models to predict/mitigate MIC. It is part of a much larger Genome Canada project where the information and models developed in the proposal will be used in a genomic analyses and this information will in turn be used by this group to optimize models and detection systems.

Experimental and Mathematical Modeling of Flow Instability in Heavy Oil Recovery Processes - Year two

This research project with the industry partner Saskatchewan Research Council focuses on the displacement front instability in heavy oil recovery processes such as water flooding, solvent injection and polymer flooding. In those processes, the less viscous displacing fluid usually moves faster than the more viscous displaced heavy oil. This results in an instability that manifests itself in the form of finger-shaped intrusions, and which is viscous fingering (VF). The VF phenomenon tends to greatly reduce sweep efficiency, leaving a large amount of untouched heavy oil underground.

Numerical Simulation of Two Phase Gas-Liquid flow in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines

Current Computational Pipeline Modeling based leak detection systems can not accurately predict the leaks in the pipeline when crude oil goes though phase change (column separation) along the 100s of kms long pipeline (due to hills and valleys). The objective of this project is to gain fundamental insight into the two phase gas-liquid flow physics in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines that transport crude oil with various physical properties of crude and with various elevations.

Proxy models for Thermal Production Optimization

Amid the tough challenge of dwindling oil prices, GE is seeking for new technology to create production forecasting and optimization tools that simulate the real operating environments and optimize across the entire process, providing actionable insights that help producers achieve their cost, production, and environmental goals. The objective of this project is to develop data driven models for optimizing bitumen production in SAGD reservoirs.