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Dumitrescu, Carmen C., and Larry Lines, 2013, Spectral decomposition in a heavy-oil and bitumen sand reservoir, in F. J. Hein, D. Leckie, S. Larter, and J. R. Suter, eds., Heavy-oil and oil-sand petroleum systems in Alberta and beyond: AAPG Studies in Geology 64, p. 605623.


Copyright copy2013 by The American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Spectral Decomposition in a Heavy-oil and Bitumen Sand Reservoir

Carmen C. Dumitrescu,1 Larry Lines2

1Terra-IQ Ltd., 10395 Rockyledge St., NW, Calgary, Alberta, T3G 5P8, Canada (e-mail: dumitre[email protected]); Previous address: Geoscience, University of Calgary, 844 Campus, Pl NW, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada.
2Geoscience, University of Calgary, 844 Campus Pl. NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada (e-mail: [email protected])


We thank the Consortium for Heavy-Oil Research by University Scientists (CHORUS) for the support of the Ph.D. thesis work, upon which this paper is based. We also thank Nexen Inc., a CHORUS sponsor, for permission to show the results from their Plover Lake and Long Lake projects. We thank Sensor Geophysical for processing the seismic data and Hampson-Russell for allowing the use of their PROMC software. We also thank Bruce Hart and an anonymous reviewer for their critical reviews of the manuscript, their suggestions of which have greatly improved this paper. We thank Beverly Ross for copyediting the original manuscript.


In this chapter, seismic-attribute spectral decomposition (SD) is used for understanding heavy-oil and bitumen sand reservoir behavior and comprehending their heterogeneities for future reservoir simulation. Spectral decomposition is performed on the migrated stack and on amplitude-versus-offset (Previous HitAVONext Hit) attributes (P- and S-wave impedance reflectivity). Examples provided in this chapter are from reservoirs with cold and thermal production. The observed differences between SD performed on P- and S-wave impedance reflectivity are explained with the solid state of the oil sands at their preproduction reservoir condition. The interpretation of the seismic attributes is based on the poroelastic and viscoelastic behaviors of the heavy oil and/or bitumen. The reservoir characteristics identified on the spectrally decomposed Previous HitAVOTop attributes can be summarized as follows: (1) higher energy at the top and base of the reservoir is associated with shale; (2) medium to high energy is an indication of water sand; (3) low energy in the middle of the reservoir is commonly associated with thick bitumen zones that have high absorption; and (4) the bitumen-water interface is identified.

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