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On the Difficult Birth of

Neil Edmunds is a specidist in rhe

ls There any Evidence SAGD is Better
rhe'ml recolery of bitumen and heavy Than Conventional Methods?
oii. ad developmenr of relaBd simula- The besl evidence of this is thui thc more successful SAGD
tion softw@. He has over 20 yea$ of prcjects have demonsrared comparable ojl^team mtios (OSR' to
experience. including reseryoir, produc-
thosc of vcrticallhermal impleDenlations. even rhough thc SACD
tion, and software engineering d has prcjects *ere conductcd in rcscrlons olsignificandy lower quali-
piaclised as a specislis! manager. atrd
ly. This is illDsfated ii FiguE l. which conpares rhe realized or
projected OSRS of foor acrual p.ojec$ plus a projected "prime
Mr. Edmunds earned a B.Sc. in Athabasca case. Reservoir quah) is cbaracterized by pcDeabili
mechatrical etrgineering at the ly timcs thickness. Il can be seen that approxinateiy twicc tle,tl
Univesity of Albena in 1978. He bego his c@er with Gulf is needed lo achieve lhe sarre OSR using vedcal technology, as
Canada and wenr on to AOSTRA and Vikor Resources. He cxn be obtained with t$innvctl SAGD.
joined the UTF prcjecr in 1986. working on the Phase A,
Pikes Peak and Cold L!\e were each conducred in e$enLially
HASDriv€. and B-pau€m pilots unfl 1992. Duing the Phase
thc bcst rcservoirs ever lound in Lheir respectilc formationsi
B design period, he developed lhe Gensim coDpled rvhereas the p.y zone at Senlac. ar only abort,l0 feet thick, sould
wellb@/reservoir simulator. hrle hiled Dost scrcoring crileria lhal have been proposed lbr
In i993. Mr. Fnmunds joined CS Resources sith responsi lenicalCSS or stelm ilood.
bility for design and conslruction of the Senlac Thermal The lo$ ldlue of tl a$igncd ro the UTF B Partern is acruall)'
Project, a lwin well SAGD scheme in southwest on $e Senerous \ide. A 1o*-enerey e(uary rcsulted h good qual-
Sastarchewan, and was later alpointed vice president of ily saDd unils (5 Ddcyt bDt wnh frequenl silty laniMtions (25
recovery technologies. He rotir€d frcm CS in 1997. md is cuF 250 nD). which preldxed easy passage ol srexd arolnd thcm.
renny engaged in s new soitware venture. The reservoir was too hctcrogcnous lo estimale a. elleclile bulk
Mr. Edmunds is a member of APEGGA. the Peroleum perneabiliry. bur geostatistical \imllations aDd rhe obsened pro,
Society of CIM. and the SPE. He is ihe aulhor o. cGanlho. of ject perfbrmance suggesr an overall efiective SAGD pcrneability
oler 25 pape6 and patents on i! silu t@hnolo8y, dd was nn ofabout 1.0 a 0.3 Ddcy.
SPE Distinsuished Lecturcr it 1996 1997 .
The prcjccted Prine McMnray case n ba\ed on ,10 m of 5 D
\and. .epesenting peftaps a lop necile Alhabasca rer(on. Such
lntroduction reservon quality ; not ubiquirous oler rhe deposil. bur is known
in comnercial quamiry at r nufrber ofwidely{cparared places.iri
This contibution attcmpts to addres sone quesdons su8gested Finally. OSR is by far ihe mosr impondr e.onomic indicator
by rhe series(r rr) to dule. The lnsrvcrs lrc not all tcchnical in for srerd recovcly, bur rhe hieh producrilny of SAGD pai, s also
pronnes loser unit costs tbr drilling. workovers. Nellbore herr
''Problens rren r solved by re.hnology alonei se also Deed a losses. and field operlling labou.
thorolgh undestandin8 of social dynanics.'u
Alier tomc selecl technicrl observ.lions. rhis corribulioD is
indeed an essay on social dynaDics- as tbey rclate ro R&D in !en-
eral. and SAGD delelopnent in panicular.

wr\ ou
l" rll: lil' ;il.rf,'i"'^Y,"i."^.3$lr
fellured in in
Distinguished Author Series here lhe
-/CPl in Lhe June 1997. vol
36, No. 6 issuc. Since its publicr,
tion, Farouq s dticle hrs engende.ed conriderable discusioD.
Eve.mindfulof$e need forhealrhy dialogue and debare (Ycsl t
There have been somc differirg opinionsl) we have inlned a
lollow-up series of Distinguishcd Aurhos to offer their views
on lhis ftermal technique lor promoting gruvity dminage of
healy oil$/bitunen using honronlll well technology.

Diti'tr i\hert Auttor Seties Chui no

IIGURE r: COSR r!..cscfloi. qullil), Canadian sream projects.

14 Jouna of Canadan PelroleLm Technology