Using Timelapse Seismic to Monitor the THAI™ Heavy Oil

Rob Kendall

Rob Kendall

Monday, September 14th, 2009 – 11:30 AM MST
Telus Convention Centre 8th Ave SE, Calgary


Toe-to-Heel-Air-Injection (THAI™) is an in-situ combustion process that is used for the recovery of bitumen and heavy oil. It combines a horizontal production well with a vertical air injection well placed at the toe. Compressional and shear velocities for heavy oil are extremely sensitive to temperature. As the oil is heated by the combustion process the velocity decreases causing distinct time-delay anomalies on timelapse (4D) seismic. The time-delay anomalies observed at the Whitesands pilot project indicate that the combustion front is moving from the toes of the wells, where the air injectors are located, towards the heels. Downhole thermocouples are used to measure the temperature and hence provide control and calibration points for the timelapse analyses. Multidimensional prestack interpolation was used to condition the older sparse data down to the bin size of the repeat survey giving surprisingly robust results.


Rob Kendall is currently employed with Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. as a Senior Geophysicist in Calgary. His two main areas of focus are heavy oil reservoir characterization and monitoring and interpretation of the Bakken resource play of the Williston Basin in southeast Saskatchewan. From 1988 until 1990 he worked in seismic data acquisition with Solid State Exploration mostly in western Canada and northwestern U.S.A. In 1992 he began work for Amoco Exploration and Production in Houston, then he moved to the Amoco Tulsa Research Center and eventually the Offshore Business Unit in New Orleans. Rob left BP-Amoco shortly after the merger in 1999 and moved back to Calgary to work with Geoscope. In 2000 he joined Veritas GeoServices and started the Multicomponent Processing Group. He managed that group until joining Petrobank in 2006. He received his M.S. from the Colorado School of Mines in 1992 and his B.Sc. from the University of Calgary in 1988.