Applications of Near Surface Geophysics to Oil Sands Exploration And Development

Bauman, Paul (Komex International Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada) | Kellett, Richard (Komex International Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada) | Gilson, Eric (Komex International Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada) | Pagulayann, Russn (Komex International Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada)



Most energy forecasters predict that the development of shallow heavy oil reserves in Canada’s enormous oil sand deposits will play a vital role in bridging the gap between North America’s reliance on conventional oil in this century, and the full integration of alternative energy supplies in the next century. Last year, a number of surface geophysical techniques have been successfully applied to oil sands exploration and development. These applications include exploration and detection of oil sands, calculation of bitumen saturation, exploration for water supplies beneath the oil sands, geological mapping, mapping and imaging of thick clays and shales for geotechnical purposes, and non-intrusive monitoring of leachate plumes. Geophysical techniques successfully applied to these problems include 2-D electrical resistivity imaging, transient EM, ground penetrating radar, and high-resolution seismic reflection. This paper reviews present applications of these techniques in the surface mineable ore reserves of the Athabasca deposit.