The influence of grain morphology on reservoir quality of some Athabasca oil sands samples

M. D. Aminu, Kanad Sadashiv Kulkarni

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study focused on the determination of detailed grain morphology using SEM technology on some Athabasca oil sands samples obtained from the Upper McMurray Formation in the Manville Group which occurs in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The research was carried out using scientific techniques to understand grain morphology—being a major effect in discerning reservoir quality—a factor which is essential for in-situ bitumen recovery. After studying various grain size and shape parameters, results showed that Sample B is poorly sorted medium sand of relatively low porosity but high permeability. Sample C on the other hand is moderately sorted fine sand of relatively high porosity but low permeability. It was also found out that although both oil sand samples contain heavy oil which is essentially recoverable in-situ; Sample B proved to be more promising due to its higher permeability values. At the end of the study, it was recommended that further research be carried out on the oil sands samples by use of core analysis techniques; computer-based simulation for heavy oil recovery; and a general study of structural effects on oil sands such as weathering and fracturing, all of which are important in better-quality in-situ bitumen recovery.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Geology & Geophysics
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2015


    • SEM technology
    • McMurray formation
    • oil sands


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