An Integrated model of Geomechanics and a Multiporosity Reservoir Simulator to Investigate Improved Recovery Techniques in Shale Reservoirs

Shale reservoirs have become a very important source of hydrocarbons, especially in North America. Shales are rocks with very low permeability and therefore, produce the hydrocarbons stored in them is difficult. In order to do it, oil companies have to inject high pressurized fluids to break the rock. But, by using this unique strategy, most hydrocarbons are being left in the subsurface. This work aims to use mathematical and numerical models to investigate different methods that can lead to recover a bigger portion of the hydrocarbons stored in shale reservoirs.

Construction of a Numerical Model for Hydraulic Fracture Propagation in Multiple-Porosity Shale Petroleum Reservoirs

Shale reservoirs store gigantic volumes of petroleum (oil and gas). However, because of the complex nature of the reservoir rock, it is difficult to recover the oil and/or gas stored in shales. Under normal conditions, it is possible to extract only as much as 10% of the resources in place, thus leaving behind a huge potential that promises to satisfy the energy needs of Canada for several decades.

Nordegg Member source rock quality and Early Jurassic ocean redox conditions based on core analysis and organic/inorganic geochemistry

Unconventional shale gas has become a common source of hydrocarbons in the past few decades with advances in extraction techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Many hydrocarbon-bearing rocks that were once unobtainable are now available for oil and gas production; the Nordegg Member in northeastern British Columbia is one of these rocks units. Our project will involve characterising the Nordegg Member’s geological structure and geochemistry, as well as performing economic interpretations to assess the future exploration plans within the unit in the near future.

Development of an integrated microfluidic technology platform to assess fluid parameters at reservoir-relevant conditions

Recovering oil from underground reservoirs carries environmental and financial risks that can be minimized with prior knowledge of what fluids are there and how to efficiently extract them. Currently, fluid flow behaviour can be measured at reservoir conditions in large pressurized vessels capable of up to 150 atmospheres and 300°C, but measurements can take weeks to complete. As an alternative, Interface Fluidics is developing a miniaturized pressure vessel where fluid behaviour can be completely visually mapped in under a day and at comparatively low cost.

Human factors in drilling automation

The efficient utilization of automation systems necessitates a clear understanding of the interaction of the human operator, the automation system and any automated routines being run. Precision Drilling is installing the newest generation of drilling automation control systems on their fleet of rigs and wishes to understand both the interaction of the human driller with the automation system by creating a monitoring application which will record all human inputs to the system as well as catalog the routine or operation the automation system executes during a normal drilling operation.

Validating and improving predictive models using spectral reflectance measurements for the estimation of Methylene Blue Index of soft tailings

Annually, large number of tailings samples are collected by operators and sent to laboratories for measurement of Methylene Blue Index (MBI). This procedure is costly, time-consuming, and results are a function of the methods used and personnel expertise. In prior research we developed predictive models for the quick and consistent estimation of tailings MBI from hyperspectral measurements using a limited number of dry samples.

Electrical Heating for Oil Sands Production

Traditional oil sands production techniques include mining and transporting the sands and in situ production using steam injection, Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD). This proposed method will replace or enhance SAGD by using primarily traditional vertical well bores and an induction heating method which will potentially allow the heating effect to expand in diameter as production continues compared to steam injection which relies on steam permeating out from a concentrated injector.

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.

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