Microstructural characterization of a Canadian oil sandReport as inadecuate

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* Corresponding author 1 IFPEN - IFP Energies nouvelles 2 CERMES - Géotechnique NAVIER UMR 8205 - Laboratoire Navier

Abstract : The microstructure of oil sand samples extracted at a depth of 75 m from the estuarine Middle McMurray formation Alberta, Canada has been investigated by using high resolution 3D X-Ray microtomography µCT and Cryo Scanning Electron Microscopy CryoSEM.
µCT images evidenced some dense areas composed of highly angular grains surrounded by fluids that are separated by larger pores full of gas.
3D Image analysis provided in dense areas porosity values compatible with in-situ log data and macroscopic laboratory determinations, showing that they are representative of intact states.
µCT hence provided some information on the morphology of the cracks and disturbance created by gas expansion.
The CryoSEM technique, in which the sample is freeze fractured within the SEM chamber prior to observation, provided pictures in which the frozen bitumen clearly appears between the sand grains.
No evidence of the existence of a thin connate water layer between grains and the bitumen, frequently mentioned in the literature, has been obtained.
Bitumen appears to strongly adhere to the grains, with some grains completely being coated.
The curved shape of some bitumen menisci suggests a bitumen wet behaviour.

Keywords : oil sand microstructure X-Ray microtomography Cryo Scanning Electron Microscopy core disturbance bitumen

Author: Hong Doan Dinh - Pierre Delage - Jean-François Nauroy - Anh Minh Tang - Youssef Souhail -

Source: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/


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