Consulting Inc.

In situ (in place) oil recovery land disturbance is 10% to 15% of a similar sized mining operation.

In situ SAGD recovery uses 20% of the water required for mining (only 0.5 bbl of water per bbl of oil).

In situ production uses non-potable or saline water which is unsuitable for drinking, livestock or irrigation. Up to 95% of the water is recycled.

87 of 91 active oil sands projects are in situ recovery (only 4 are surface mining).

In-situ projects resemble conventional heavy oil development and do not require mine pits or tailings ponds.

Majority of in situ oil operations use Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD).

SAGD is confirmed to be commercially viable heavy oil production process since the mid 1980s for oilsands deposits greater than 70 meters deep.

Our SAGD Reservoir Services

Thimm engineering offers specialized consulting in reservoir chemistry

to improve the performance of your SAGD wells (optimized In situ heavy oil recovery).

Prediction of Gas/Oil Ratio (GOR) and Produced Gas Composition

Knowledge of produced gas composition and GOR is important in commercial SAGD projects for cost effective design and operation of facilities. It is also important to understand the origin and fate of gases in the steam zone for proper understanding of pressure behaviour in the reservoir.  Thimm Engineering is the original developer of the theory of gas behaviour in SAGD, see:A General Theory of Gas Production in SAGD Operations (151 KB Acrobat PDF file).


A number of scenarios have been successfully evaluated for clients using Thimm Engineering’s Prediction of GOR and Produced Gas Composition proprietary method, including the following:

  • Gas injection into the SAGD chamber for enhanced recovery.
  • Gas cap re-pressurisation.
  • Hydrogen sulphide generation and production.
  • Steam zone blowdown with optimization of SOR reduction.
  • Flue gas injection for improved recovery or green house gas sequestration.
  • Air injection for estimating the threat of excessive oxygen production in facilities.
  • Effects of temperature and pressure regime over time in SAGD.


See presentation:

Recent Developments in Understanding Gas Behaviour in SAGD Projects (420 KB PowerPoint ppt file).

Gas Over Bitumen Issues

Has your delineation drilling revealed significant gas reserves over your bitumen deposit? Or do you have low native reservoir pressure in zone targeted for SAGD recovery?

Thimm Engineering provided technical contributions and expert testimony for the bitumen producers in the recent Gas over Bitumen inquiry and hearings, which resulted in the Alberta Energy & Utilities Board’s (EUB) unprecedented shut-in order of significant gas production in Athabasca region.

Thimm Engineering has expertise in the following areas related to Gas Over Bitumen:

  • Potential for gas cap souring if bitumen is preferentially produced over the gas.
  • Development of production forecasts of non-hydrocarbon gases proposed for re-pressurization of depleted gas caps.
  • Optimal gases for possible re-pressurization of depleted gas caps.
  • Water compatibility studies.


Case Study: Conoco Surmont

In May 2000, the EUB ordered the shut-in of 146 gas wells on or next to ConocoPhillips Canada’s bitumen leases, which have recoverable reserves of five to ten billion barrels of bituminous oil sands.

Case Study: Leismer-Chard

The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB/Board) has made decisions on 27 applications filed by various companies that involve the production or shut-in of gas in the Chard area and Leismer Field.

Carbon Dioxide Management

The potential for carbon dioxide sequestration in SAGD reservoir for the purpose of Green House Gas Management has received much attention from the producers of heavy oil. With the pending implementation of carbon dioxide emission penalties under the Kyoto protocol, the potential to sequester carbon dioxide production in a SAGD reservoir could offer substantial cost advantages.

Thimm Engineering’s theoretical developments have shown that it is possible to find operating procedures that will result in a net sequestration of carbon dioxide and potentially improve the productivity of SAGD wells.

Canadian proven oil sands reserves are 179 billion barrels (~ 13% of total global oil reserves).

Over 80% of the recoverable bitumen will be produced via in situ (in place) recovery technologies.

Oil sands GHG emissions are 6.5% of Canadian emissions (less than 0.1% of global emissions).

1.4 million bbls per day of oil are supplied to the United States from Canada (more than Saudi Arabia supplies).

Oil sands will create more than $307 billion in tax revenue across Canada over the next 25 years.

Oil sands will raise over $218 billion of capital investment during the next 25 years.

Oil Sands will create 450,000 annual jobs across Canada over 25 years (11.4 million person years of employment).


In situ Oilsands