Bitumen production from the Grosmont formation is enabled by bitumen-viscosity reduction caused by heating with steam, and is driven by three processes: thermal expansion, gravity drainage, and spontaneous imbibition. Gravity drainage is the dominant recovery mechanism. Maintaining a balance of injected and produced fluid is indicative of good performance. The projected steam/oil ratio (SOR) for the carbonate Grosmont formation is comparable to that of the clastic Clearwater formation; the impact of lower porosity is compensated by lower water saturation. On the basis of the experience from the pilot project, a followup development of the Grosmont formation relies on cyclic operation of injection and production. Saleski Phase 1, approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator, is designed for 1700-m3/d oil capacity from the Grosmont formation. For the first time, probable undeveloped reserves have been assigned to a fractured-carbonate bitumen reservoir. The cyclic-to-continuous steam-assisted-gravity-drainage drainage (C2C-SAGD) concept, where initial cyclic operation of individual wells is converted into continuous injection and production with well pairs as the reservoir depletion matures, intends to maximize recovery in future exploitation projects.

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