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Heavy Oil Production within Large Point Bars of the McMurray Formation, Athabasca Oil Sands, Canada

Webb, Michael W.*1
(1) Suncor Energy, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Production at Suncor’s MacKay River In Situ project currently averages over thirty thousand barrels per day, and the project has cumulative production of over seventy million barrels of heavy oil since late 2002. Historic and current production is recovered from the McMurray Formation using steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD).

The reservoir at the MacKay River project consists of unconsolidated quartzose sands that occur mainly within a single large fluvial-estuarine point bar. The dimensions of the main MacKay River point bar exceed 7 km in length and 3 km in width. Point bar geometries at MacKay River and in the surrounding area are outlined using dipmeter data from hundreds of vertical wells that display consistent radiating patterns of dips. The point bar depositional model for MacKay River is further supported by seismic data and numerous sedimentological and ichnological features that are typical of modern and ancient large point bars.

Within the MacKay River point bar, trends of varying pay quality have been mapped, and substantial variation can be demonstrated. Upstream and mid-portions of the bar contain some of the highest-quality pay trends. However, upstream reaches of the bar can also contain thick intervals of mudclast-rich breccia related to bank collapse. Pay intervals in the downstream portions of the bar contain higher proportion of mudstone beds and generally more laminated pay. Particle size analyses within the MacKay River bar show clear fining trends both along and across the bar, and nearby bars show different grain size trends. Using a point bar depositional model at the MacKay River project provides a framework for understanding the distribution and lateral extent of reservoir and non-reservoir facies, allows for optimized horizontal well planning, and contributes to more focused data collection programs.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California