Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

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 Analysis of Core Sample re: Heavy Oil

1. Core arrives at laboratory in plastic sleeves.

2. Core samples are placed in freezer @ -25oC for 48 hours.

3. Cores are X-rayed (X-Radiography).

  • Determine/record what depth oil sands are located.
  • Map the characteristics of reservoir (depth description).

4. Frozen core is cut into 1 meter sections and cut in 1/2 widths, one 1/2 goes on for analysis the other is returned to the freezer.

5. Core samples are visually examined in the viewing area and under UV light.

6. Dean & Stark analysis is done on core strip.

  • Testing for fluid saturation in core sample.
  • Distillation is used to determine the water content and the oil content of the sample.
  • A solvent (toluene) and heat are used to separate the oil, water and solids (sand).
  • The oil content is calculated by the difference of water, and solids removed from the total weight after extracting and drying the oil residue (bitumen).

7. Plugs are cut from cores samples and wrapped in Teflon sleeves for examining samples for permeability (the rate that a known fluid can flow through solids) and porosity (the size of the pores in the solids). This analysis is done under conditions simulating reservoir conditions. This information helps to determine the best recovery technique for a reservoir or if a reservoir is worth recovering at all.

8. Grain density is measured to give geologists a better idea of the characteristics of a reservoir.

  • Old technology is sieving solids (sand) with wire mesh screens.
  • New technology is analysis under an electron microscope.

9. Thin section slides (30 microns thick) are prepared to give another picture of the particle size distribution, porosity, etc. of a core sample. These slides give geologists information about the reservoir.

10. Environmental studies are also done to monitor the impact of the well on the land site.