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Thermal mobilization and the regulatory response: preparing for the future
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Join us for a 1 hour panel presentation relating to the heavy oil industry.

When: Thursday, May 18th, 2017
11:45am - 1pm
Where: Calgary Petroleum Club - Devonian Room
315 - 5th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0L6
Contact: Alison Leontaridis - Programming; Jill Sugars - Registration
403.269.1755 x 303

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thermal mobilization and the regulatory response: preparing for the future

Jon Fennell, M.Sc., Ph.D., P.Geol.

Principal Hydrogeologist


Tom Parker, B.Nat. Res, B.Env. Mmt

Senior Environment and Regulatory Advisor

Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd., Calgary AB




Canada’s oil sands represent an important resource to the Canadian economy. These hydrocarbon deposits reside beneath a vast area in northern and east-central Alberta (i.e. Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River areas).  The bulk of these deposits are inaccessible from surface and require in-situ recovery techniques -  the most common being steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). To facilitate continued production, a relatively large array of well pads and associated subsurface infrastructure will be require over the coming years.


During the SAGD and CSS process, high-temperature steam is injected into the bitumen-saturated reservoirs to reduce viscosity and facilitate production.  Conduction of heat from the steel casings into surrounding sediments (particularly non-saline aquifers) has been shown to mobilize certain trace constituents to levels exceeding protective guidelines.  In response, the Alberta Energy Regulator (in conjunction with Alberta Environment and Parks) has developed a policy that will require all in-situ operators (new and existing) to assess the risks of thermal mobilization and address them, as necessary.  To fulfill this requirement, an understanding of site conditions will be required, as well as constituent mobility potential, and attenuating mechanisms.


This presentation will highlight key findings from research into this phenomenon, and the source(s) and mechanism(s) responsible.   A review of the pending regulatory policy and some strategies to respond will also be provided.


Jon Fennell, M.Sc., Ph.D., P.Geol.

Principal Hydrogeologist


Dr. Fennell is a Principal Hydrogeologist, and Vice President of the Consulting at Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd.  He has 30 years consulting experience in the natural resource sector, and has been working closely with the conventional and unconventional oil and gas sectors to address water management challenges.  Jon received his B.Sc. degree in Geology from the University of Saskatchewan in 1985, M.Sc. in Hydrogeology from the University of Calgary in 1994, and Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the University of Calgary in 2008.  The basis of his doctoral research was the effects of thermal mobilization.  Jon’s areas of specialization include physical hydrology and hydrogeology, environmental forensics, isotope geochemistry, risk assessment and the development of risk mitigation strategies.


Tom Parker, B.Nat. Res, B.Env. Mmt.

Senior Environment & Regulatory Advisor


Mr. Parker is a Senior Environment and Regulatory advisor at Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd. He has over 15 years experience working as an environment and regulatory specialist for various industrial owners and clients in North America and Australia. Tom’s Canadian career has focused on in-situ SAGD permitting and regulatory approvals, addressing areas such as industrial facility permitting, project development and environmental policy. Tom holds two degrees in the field of natural resource management from the University of New England, Australia.


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