This reference is for an abstract only. A full paper was not submitted for this conference.


Peace River is a 100% Shell-owned heavy oil property located in Northern Alberta, Canada. A total of 7 billion barrels of 7 API oil is trapped in a 30 m thick semi-consolidated sand layer buried at a depth of about 600 m. At present, a "huff-and-puff" approach is employed to extract the oil, using closely spaced multi-lateral horizontal wells drilled from a central pad.

As part of a strategy to gain a better understanding of the extraction process at Peace River, Shell Canada designed and implemented a monitoring program over the most recently drilled production pads. This program included microseismic monitoring, surface time-lapse (2D and sparse 3D), a timelapse 3DVSP, and continuous tiltmeter monitoring. Shell Canada's Peace River asset team and EP Research and Development have been engaged in a collaborative, multidisciplinary effort to understand this data in terms of the implications for heat distribution, fluid flow, well and cap rock integrity, and other operational issues.

We have learned that our initial model of the extraction process at Peace River was incorrect, and that drilling and operational strategies based on this incorrect model are suboptimal. Our strategy for developing the field has now fundamentally changed based on the information gleaned from this monitoring project. Best practices include the integrated use of microseismic and other monitoring techniques for optimizing the drilling and operational strategy for a heavy oil field.

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