Geostatistical Modeling of McMurray Oil Sands Deposits

CIM Edmonton 2004
Oy Leuangthong, Emmanuel Schnetzler, Clayton V. Deutsch,
Abstract The McMurray formation in the Athabasca oil sands deposit found in Northern Alberta is part to the world’s second largest proven crude oil reserves. The formation is characterized by stratigraphic layers that correspond to three different depositional environments: Marine, Estuarine and Fluvial facies. Resource estimation for oil sands has traditionally relied on polygonal and inverse distance schemes. These techniques are simple and straightforward in practice, but they do not permit reliable uncertainty assessment. This paper describes the modelling of the McMurray formation using modern geostatistical techniques.

Geostatistical modelling should be performed for each homogeneous geological facies type. The methodology for geostatistical simulation within each of the identified facies involves: (1) assessing the need for stratigraphic transformations for optimisation of the correlation structure, (2) determining representative distributions via declustering techniques, (3) modelling spatial continuity of the bitumen grade, fines grade, water saturation and other petrophysical variables, (4) performing estimation and cross validation as checks against simulation results, (5) performing simulation for uncertainty quantification of bitumen and fines grade, and (6) model checking of simulation results against the input data and comparisons against the kriged models. These steps are described in detail. The practical application of these models for resource classification is also discussed.
Keywords: Geostatistics, Resource classification, Oil sands
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