--> --> Abstract: Application of Ichnology and Facies Mapping to Produce Bitumen and Titanium from a Surface Mineable Hydrocarbon Reservoir, by Errin K. Kimball, Burns A. Cheadle, Michael J. Ranger, and S. George Pemberton; #90914(2000)

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Errin K. Kimball1, Burns A. Cheadle2, Michael J. Ranger3, S. George Pemberton4
(1) University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
(2) Koch Exploration Canada Ltd, Calgary, AB
(3) M.J. Ranger Consulting Ltd, Chestermere, AB
(4) Ichnology Research Group, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

Abstract: Application of Ichnology and facies mapping to produce bitumen and titanium from a surface mineable hydrocarbon reservoir

Proven reserves of 988 billion barrels of bitumen has established the Athabasca Oil sand deposit as the world’s largest accumulation of hydrocarbons. This deposit is hosted in the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian/Albian) McMurray Formation of northeastern Alberta, Canada. Recent data indicates that the same deposit has the potential of yielding economic amounts of titanium. Completion of a small pilot project has an estimated four and a half million tonnes of titanium along with 1.4 billion barrels of bitumen in place.

Biogenic sedimentary structures and facies mapping are useful in delineating porosity and permeability trends within the reservoir. Both obvious and subtle stratigraphic features of the reservoir can be determined through the application of lithofacies and ichnofacies associations. Bitumen saturation is controlled by primary facies, therefore a clear understanding of the depositional environment is essential. Biogenic sedimentary structures in the Athabasca deposit are useful in defining facies and help to recognize stratigraphic surfaces. Defining these surfaces help reduce the complexity of this deposit, and ultimately improve reservoir characteristics. A core and electric log based study has aided in determining the spatial distribution of the highest weight percent bitumen trends, as well as isolating zones of high grade titanium.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana