Effects of Geomechanical Heterogeneity on Wormhole Development during Cold Heavy Oil Production – Phase 1

Canada possesses vast resources of heavy oil, which is oil that is too thick to flow through porous sandstone reservoirs and into production wells at economic rates when conventional operating practices are used. Since the mid 1980’s, heavy oil operators have demonstrated their ability to increase heavy oil production rates by encouraging the creation of porous and permeable zones (“wormholes”) within their reservoirs by allowing sand grains to detach from the reservoir rock and flow into the well (along with the oil).


Western Canada has vast heavy oil deposits in many thin heavy oil reservoirs with less than 10-m main pay zones. The cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is the primary production process for the heavy oil reservoirs. However, a typical CHOPS process can recover only 5?15% of the initial oil-in-place and waterflooding has had a limited success.

Fugitive Emissions in Liquefied Natural Gas Transmission, Storage, and Distribution: Canadian Solutions for Transportation and Remote Power

The proposed research will be focused on eliminating fugitive emissions from liquefied natural gas (LNG) transmission, storage, and distribution operations. LNG can be used as fuel for transportation, and for combined heat and power generation in remote locations. We will study transmission, storage, and distribution operations by developing quasi-steady-state and time-dependent thermodynamic models. These models will be validated using data from instrumented equipment at our industrial partners’ sites (a small consortium has been created specifically to support the proposed research).

Managing Microbial Corrosion in Canadian Offshore Oil and Gas Production – Focus on chemistry and genomics

This MITACS proposal focuses on the chemical processes occurring that may enhance or inhibit microbial growth, identify and detect key microbial chemical precursors to MIC, and development of models to predict/mitigate MIC. It is part of a much larger Genome Canada project where the information and models developed in the proposal will be used in a genomic analyses and this information will in turn be used by this group to optimize models and detection systems.

Experimental and Mathematical Modeling of Flow Instability in Heavy Oil Recovery Processes - Year two

This research project with the industry partner Saskatchewan Research Council focuses on the displacement front instability in heavy oil recovery processes such as water flooding, solvent injection and polymer flooding. In those processes, the less viscous displacing fluid usually moves faster than the more viscous displaced heavy oil. This results in an instability that manifests itself in the form of finger-shaped intrusions, and which is viscous fingering (VF). The VF phenomenon tends to greatly reduce sweep efficiency, leaving a large amount of untouched heavy oil underground.

Numerical Simulation of Two Phase Gas-Liquid flow in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines

Current Computational Pipeline Modeling based leak detection systems can not accurately predict the leaks in the pipeline when crude oil goes though phase change (column separation) along the 100s of kms long pipeline (due to hills and valleys). The objective of this project is to gain fundamental insight into the two phase gas-liquid flow physics in hydrocarbon liquid transportation pipelines that transport crude oil with various physical properties of crude and with various elevations.

Proxy models for Thermal Production Optimization

Amid the tough challenge of dwindling oil prices, GE is seeking for new technology to create production forecasting and optimization tools that simulate the real operating environments and optimize across the entire process, providing actionable insights that help producers achieve their cost, production, and environmental goals. The objective of this project is to develop data driven models for optimizing bitumen production in SAGD reservoirs.

Development of a hybrid seismic data inversion method for determining well-drilling location at complex geophysical area

Due to the current economic downturn, especially the lower crude oil price, the drilling success rate become the most important goal for any oil/gas company. For a start-up company, any failure in drilling will be a disaster. To this end, the Deep Treasure Corp wishes that through the combination of mature hydrocarbon prediction techniques and new research results in seismic inversion,  the success rate of hydrocarbon prediction, the theoretical basis for well placement can be provided  in Roncott field, which will improve the success rate in drilling.

Studies on the application of photocatalysis to capture methane and treat contaminated water with organic compounds

Recent developments in process industry as well as tight environmental discharge regulations required industries to recycle water which means removing contaminants and send it back to the process. Conventional treatment systems consume energy with large carbon footprint. Canadian economic movement towards decarbonization has lead us to focus our research on the development of a material and a passive system that captures energy from sunlight and converts to chemical energy, the result of which is mineralization of organic contaminants to non-toxic chemicals.


With the current challenges with depleted reservoirs and problems associated with heavy oil production, the implementation of the most cost-effective and feasible enhanced oil recovery method is inevitable. There are a wide range of EOR methods available and developed, which are in most cases expensive and complicated to carry out. Therefore, an extensive preliminary screening procedure is necessary before conducting a field-scale EOR method.