Imperial Oil Resources Limited began pilot experimentation with Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) at Cold Lake in 1964 and followed this with commercial application in 1985. Since that time an extensive amount of experimental data and operating experience has been acquired which has resulted in the continual evolution of steaming and operating strategies for CSS.

Optimization of the many process variables involved in CSS is complex due to their interdependency. The optimization of steaming and operating strategies has advanced significantly with commercial development and continues to evolve as the CSS process matures and the reservoir reaches more advanced stages of depletion. This evolution has focussed on steam strategies to manage interwell communication and increase areal conformance, and operating strategies to maximize the efficiency of producing mobilized bitumen which lies at ever increasing distances from the wellbore. The continued success of CSS in Cold Lake is dependent on the continued improvement of these steaming and operating strategies.

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