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.

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.