There is no charge. Non-members of the CSPG are also welcome. Please bring your lunch. For details or to present a talk in the future, please contact Weishan Ren via email at

Geomodeling Committee

Weishan Ren | Chairperson         Tom Cox                      Hayley Silberg             
David Garner | Co-chair              Sasan Ghanbari           Darcy Novak

Olena Babak                               Damien Thenin             Eric Niven  

Upcoming Division Talk

Optimization of the Mariana Thornbury in-situ oil sands development

SPEAKER: Weishan Ren, RWS Geomodeling Ltd. / PTTEP Canada Ltd

LOCATION: Husky Conference Room A, 3rd Floor, +30 level, South Tower, 707 8th Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta
DATE: 12:00 Noon Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Oil sands development is facing great challenges with current low oil prices. Optimization of development plans has become more critical to the economic success of oil sands projects.     

The oil sands in situ development plan involves multiple disciplines. It requires information not only from subsurface SAGD recoverable pay and thief zones to place horizontal wells but also from surface facilities and environmental constraints to place surface pads. A good understanding of subsurface geology with sufficient well data and seismic data could lead to a good characterization of the SAGD recoverable pay and thief zones; appropriately using geostatistical modeling methods will generate realistic geological 3D models. Utilizing the geological information and 3D geomodels to place horizontal wells is not straightforward. Horizontal wells are planned with uneven pay base surfaces. The drainage areas (DA), which houses a set of horizontal well pairs, needs to be placed in bitumen zones with irregular shapes of non-pay facies locally dominated, and with consideration of bottom water, top lean, top water or other ‘thief zones’. Surface pads (SP), which are tied to each DA, are greatly influenced by surface constraints such as lakes, rivers, roads, pipelines, and AER environmental regulations. The optimization of an oil sands development plan deals with all these challenges to determine the best DA and SP layout for a field to be produced where recovery or economic potential is maximized.  

The main reservoir in the In Situ Project Area (ISPA) of Mariana Thornbury phase 1 is comprised of stacked sandy channels and point bars deposited during middle McMurray time. The south to north trending channels sometimes are directly in contact with the lower McMurray sands, forming deep and narrow bitumen saturated sands or SAGD recoverable pay.  The original development plan of the ISPA has been laid out with 32 DAs. There is an ongoing effort to further improve the development plan in ISPA.

Optimization of drainage areas and surface pads for the Mariana Thornbury in situ project has been done with incorporation of all information from surface, subsurface, economic, and engineering disciplines. The optimization has achieved an increase of net value by more than 30% from the original DASP layout. Even with 31% drop on the number of SAGD DA and 23% drop on the number of well pairs, the optimized DASP layout is able to increase the bitumen recoverable volume significantly. Some of the learnings will be presented during the session. The challenge of the optimization is more toward characterization of reservoir heterogeneity, especially the IHS facies distribution and dealing with the geological uncertainty. Reservoir simulation of each DA has been implemented to verify the results of optimized layout.

Dr. Ren is currently a director of RWS geomodeling Ltd., and a geomodeling specialist contractor to PTTEP Canada Ltd. Previously, he worked as a Sr. Geomodeler with PennWest Canada Ltd, and as a Principal Geologist, Geomodeler with Statoil Canada Ltd. and as a Geostatistian, Geomodeling Advisor on Surmont Oil Sands project with ConocoPhillips Canada. Weishan has more than 18 years of working experience in oil and gas industry, and he holds a Ph.D. degree in petroleum engineering and a M.Sc. degree in reservoir engineering from the University of Alberta, and a Bachelor degree in petroleum geological exploration from the Southwest Petroleum University, China. He is the chairman of CSPG geomodeling committee since 2007.

Upcoming Division Talk

Geologically Consistent History Matching of SAGD Process Using Probability Perturbation Method

SPEAKER: Hojjat Khani | University of Calgary 

LOCATION: Husky Conference Room A, 3rd Floor, +30 level, South Tower, 707 8th Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta
DATE: 12:00 Noon Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

The overall objective of reservoir modeling is to reduce the uncertainty in the production forecasts by utilizing all available data to construct a calibrated reservoir model. Geological heterogeneities have a fundamental impact on the growth of the steam chamber and the performance of the SAGD. The objective of this work is to incorporate the geological heterogeneities into the history matching process using probability perturbation method (PPM) to preserve the geological consistency of the reservoir model.  
PPM is a geological data integration framework which employs multiple point geostatistics (MPS) algorithm. The heart of this method is to systematically perturb the underlying probabilities used to generate the reservoir facies. PPM generally consists of two loops; an outer loop which is responsible for randomly generating a global configuration of the facies, and an inner loop which systematically perturbs the generated facies to match the dynamic data. The combination of these two iterations creates a set of realizations that preserve the geological information.


Figure 1: Perturbation of initial realization based on different perturbation parameters

In this paper, a training image is built based on a 3D outcrop description of a meandering channelized reservoir that is analogous to some of the Canadian heavy-oil fields. All other available data including reservoir properties at well locations, seismic volumes and production data are also incorporated into the PPM framework for this history matching process. The reservoir model is characterized by three facies: clean sand, medium grained sandstone and silt, which have different porosity, horizontal permeability and vertical permeability. The SAGD performance is a function of steam chamber development, which depends on the level of heterogeneity in the reservoir. The results show that the heterogeneity distribution has a large impact on the fluid flow at different stages of production. Small scale heterogeneities influence the steam chamber development and fluid flow near the wellbore area, while large scale heterogeneities highly impact the oil recovery during the whole recovery process. The results show that such complexities can be well preserved during the history matching process using PPM by generating the geological patterns depicted in the training image. PPM is shown to be an efficient approach for the history matching in presence of complex reservoir geology.

Hojjat is a PhD candidate at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary. He is a member of “Reservoir Simulation, Advancing Energy Recovery Processes” and “Interactive Modeling, Visualization & Analytics” groups. Hojjat holds BSc and MSc degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. He has 4 years of industrial experience with Sinopec International Petroleum E&P Corporation, POGC and RIPI as a reservoir simulation engineer and programmer. His research interests are Reservoir Modeling and Simulation, Geostatistics, Machine Learning, Decision Making under Uncertainty, Reservoir Visualization and Analytics.

Division Profile
The mandate of the Geomodeling Division is to provide CSPG members with opportunities for education and information related to technical developments in the subject areas of geomathematics and computer technologies as they are used in the pursuit of petroleum exploration and development. As a main contribution of the division, technical luncheon presentations are held once a month, usually on the last Wednesday of the month. 

The subjects that are presented in these technical talks include, for example, The latest developments in geomathematical applications, Geological modeling technology, Geostatistical approaches to modeling and risk analysis, Geological case studies using computer technology and the benefits, Digital data organization - storage and retrieval. In addition, ad hoc forums may be organized where members can discuss geomathematical and geological computer issues with experts in the field.The Geomodeling Division does not endorse or promote the use of specific commercial software products, nor does it perform any testing or comparative studies of such products.We do encourage volunteers to present public talks on case histories that illustrate the use of technology and methods.

The success of the Division depends on volunteer participation. CSPG members are encouraged to attend the activities of the Geomodeling Division and to be involved in organizing these activities. Division meetings are held once a month over lunch. If you are interested in joining this committee or if you have suggestions for luncheon talks or other activities, please contact any members of the committee.