Finding Pathways to Produce Heavy Oil from Canadian Carbonates

Nearly 2 million bbl of ultraheavy crude are produced each day from Canadian oil sands, but the notion of also producing bitumen from reservoirs made of carbonate rock can spark skeptical remarks.

They are likely to say something like: “Carbonates are very different. In carbonates, it is just different,” said Daniel Yang, director of reservoir engineering at Laricina Energy, who has a different reading of the exploration history of formations that hold more than 400 billion bbl of the crude.

Laricina has partnered with a second Calgary independent, Osum Oil Sands, to try to prove that bitumen can be commercially produced from the Grosmont formation, which holds 75% of the heavy crude known as bitumen in Alberta’s carbonates.

The reality is the Grosmont is different. A pilot project by Laricina and Osum showed that the well design commonly used for oil sands is not a good fit in carbonates. But a mix of methods used for bitumen production worked well enough to convince the partners to plan a commercial test that they plan to use for the first commercial development in the formation.

The Laricina-Osum joint venture has filed for a permit to produce as much as 10,700 B/D from up to 32 wells, with first oil in 2015. Read the full article.

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