Symposium to Address Science, Social Responsibility

It is estimated that 5.6 trillion barrels of bitumen and heavy oil resources occur globally in more than 100 countries, with most of that resource occurring in the western hemisphere.

This is a massive resource that faces considerable challenges.

In the past decade, significant advances in the development and production of these resources have occurred, along with an increase in public perceptions of resource development and social license concerns.

To address some of what appear to be competing issues, the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG) and the AAPG will host a joint, multidisciplinary technical symposium on oil sands and heavy oil. This symposium “Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Symposium: A Local to Global Multidisciplinary Collaboration” will be held Oct. 14-16 at the Metropolitan Centre in Calgary, Canada.

The symposium’s goals are to highlight:

  • The global nature of the resource.
  • Advances in recovery technologies.
  • The contributions resource geoscientists are making to address the challenges of environmental protection and social license, as well as driving prosperity and better standards of living for all through sustainable energy development.

Many of these issues are being addressed in Canada, but the protocols and procedures can be exported to other world bitumen and heavy oil resources.

This multidisciplinary technical symposium takes a holistic approach to the various multifaceted aspects of the oil sands and heavy oil resources. The six half-day sessions focus on geology, geophysics, engineering, environment and regulatory aspects, including:

  • The International Resource Base: Oil sand, heavy oil and bitumen occurrences and prospects around the world.
  • The Elephants in the Room: Large-scale characterization, including geology, geophysics, outcrop, core work and geo-modeling.
  • Eating the Elephants: Medium to micro-scale within-reservoir characterization, including detailed studies of compartmentalization, bitumen and reservoir fluids, fluid segregation within reservoirs, geo-modeling and petrophysics.
  • 21st Century Geology for Production and New Prospects: New drilling, completion and production technologies, conformance issues for in-situ development; new prospects and other issues related to surface mining.
  • Focus Session on Public Safety and In-Situ Recovery: Caprock definitions, description, integrity assessment, identification of faults and fractures, casing integrity and other factors influencing caprock integrity, its prediction and steam-chamber containment.
  • Striking the Balance: Geoscience for better integrated resource management in a changing social and political climate.

This oil sands and heavy oil symposium will follow a three-day, single-track format including core/poster sessions and three panel discussions. Dedicated core and poster presentations will give an opportunity for all participants to be able to have a hands-on viewing of these important world resources.

What is unique about this conference is the integration of geology and engineering with issues of environmental, social and economic outcomes, providing the critical link of the geoscientists and engineers as producers of resource wealth to their scientific and professional responsibilities to achieve broader outcomes for the sustainability of oil sands and heavy oil development.

More than 30 invited speakers will be in attendance, including presenters from the United States, Canada, Venezuela, China, Russia and other European countries.

Other keynote and luncheon speakers include presenters from the Alberta Department of Energy, worldwide industry representatives, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and a First Nations Aboriginal Group in Alberta.

A meeting of this scope and format will provide an intimate environment free of competing session content. The symposium also will provide those in attendance with the opportunity to interact with presenters, and there will be dedicated time for group panel discussions.

Information on registration and numerous sponsorship opportunities to support this event, with updates are on CSPG's website.

The AAPG and CSPG local organizing committee are looking forward to see you in Calgary this fall.


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Division Column-EMD Fran Hein

Fran Hein  is EMD President, 2014-15.

Division Column-EMD

The Energy Minerals Division (EMD), a division of AAPG, is dedicated to addressing the special concerns of energy resource geologists working with energy resources other than conventional oil and gas, providing a vehicle to keep abreast of the latest developments in the geosciences and associated technology. EMD works in concert with the Division of Environmental Geosciences to serve energy resource and environmental geologists.

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