Shaft and tunneling technology commonly employed in the mining and construction industries has been shown to have application in the development of some petroleum deposits. The use of Shaft And Tunnel Access (SATAC) technology in the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta has been well documented by Hasten,1  Best,2  and others.3-8 

Arctic reservoirs, because of the hostile weather, are among the potential candidates for development using SATAC methods, particularly shallow (<5000’) heavy oil reservoirs. Underground space concepts offer solutions to many problems now commonly associated with developing oil reserves in these and other areas.

While not applicable to all reservoirs, SATAC is recognized technology and should be considered among the available tools to access and develop oil reservoirs. Possibilities include: (1) employing mining to develop oil reserves; (2) using for infrastructure, like access roads and pipelines; or (3) using in combination with other technologies like subsea production.

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