Friday, August 28th - Session Overview

Heavy Oil/Oil Sands
Oil sands development and our understanding through time will be highlighted. We will have presentations looking at how horizontal development and the depressurization of the Devonian aquifer below the McMurray formation, lead to further understanding of the structural and potential diagenetic connectivity of the aquifer to the overlying cretaceous strata. We will also have presentations showcasing the differences that can be drawn from outcrop to core of analogous sedimentary facies will also be examined in detail.

Presenter 1

Core Expressions of 3D Photogrammetrically modeled outcrop- for estuary associate point bar complex in the Lower Cretaceous McMurrary formation, Christina River, AB Canada
Qi Chen and Murray Gingras

9:10-10:15 Presentation

10:15-10:25 Live Q & A

Presentation Overview
The lower Cretaceous McMurray Formation has been interpreted to represent fluvial through estuary sedimentary environments. The dominant sedimentary facies observed in the ore-bearing parts of the McMurray Formation include channel-associated cross-stratified sandstones (both tidally and fluvially dominated) and inclined Heterolithic Stratification (IHS) . Cross-stratified sandstones (F1) are associated with the energetic (channel thalweg) parts of fluvially and tidally dominated channels. IHS packages (F2) are interpreted as complex estuary-associated point bars tied to the meandering of channel belts. The main objective of this paper is to use cored examples of IHS and cross-stratified sandstones and compare those to outcrop examples of analogous sedimentary facies to consider the different understandings that can be drawn from each dataset. The observation from outcrop indicates that the F1 is transgressive in nature, and it was subsequently truncated by regressive tidal meandering point bars (F2). Such TR cycle pairing was put forward by Ranger and Gingras (2010) as is evidenced here and helps in formulating a sequence stratigraphic concept that is not entirely dominated by the lowstand formation of large and deep incised fluvial valleys.

About the Speaker

Qi Chen received her bachelor’s degree in geology with honor at University of Alberta in 2014. Upon completion of a master’s degree in Integrated Petroleum Geology, she went on to become a PhD student at Earth and Atmosphere Science, University of Alberta. Qi has a passion and has been working on analyzing stratigraphy, sedimentology and ichnology of the Oil Sand deposit in the McMurray Formation near the Christina Region. Her interest focuses on the reconstruction of depositional model of fluvial to tidal dominated estuary throughout the deposition of McMurray Formation, and compare it with typical estuary models around the world. Qi is the recipient of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Graduate Scholarship in geology 2019.


Presenter 2

Releasing the Pressure: Industry’s First Horizontal Devonian Depressurization Well at the Kearl Oilsands and Mine 
Lauren Eggie | Imperial Oil Ltd.

10:30-11:30 Presentation

11:30-11:40 Live Q & A

Presentation Overview
Depressurization of the Devonian aquifer below the Kearl Oilsands Mine is of critical importance for maintaining operations at Kearl, and requires pumping wells to be installed prior to mining. Drilling of a HZ pumping well was proposed in order to access a larger portion of the aquifer for dewatering and to have surface facilities located safely outside of the ultimate mine footprint. Execution of drilling posed numerous challenges, however, due to the shallowness of the aquifer and the inherent geological uncertainty of the succession. The Kearl Geoscience and Hydrogeology team had to be creative in order to successfully drill and complete this well, in the process adding to our understanding of the geological controls on our aquifer and achieving a better result than was ever expected.

About the Speaker

Lauren Eggie is a Geologist-in-Training currently working on the Kearl Oilsands Mine Project at Imperial Oil Ltd. She received her M.Sc. degree from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Manitoba in October 2017, with a thesis on the Mississippian Pekisko Formation of northern Alberta. She also received her B.Sc. Honours Degree in Geological Sciences from the University of Manitoba in February 2013, with her Honours thesis focusing on the Devonian Duperow Formation. Lauren is the recipient of many scholarships and awards, including the Julie Payette-NSERC Research Scholarship, the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources Gold Medal, the CSPG Master’s Thesis Prize, and is a two-time awardee of the Winthrop Spencer Gold Medal (undergraduate and graduate level), which is awarded by the University of Manitoba for outstanding achievement in geological research. She has given presentations on her Honours thesis at three national and regional conferences, and on her M.Sc. work at one national and two international conferences, as well as for various geology interest groups.