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Case Study

Geophysical exploration and delineation of heavy oil resources

Madagascar

This effort, the first exploration program of its kind outside of North America, involved exploring and delineating heavy oil deposits in Madagascar, the third largest oil sand deposit in the world.

The Situation

Madagascar has the third largest oil sand deposit in the world. In close proximity are large areas of heavy oil in a block approximately 6,600 km2. In 2010, Advisian (formerly WorleyParsons) was retained to conduct electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys over their Tsimiroro pilot area as well as exploration areas on the same concession block.  Our objectives were to explore and delineate heavy oil deposits, enhance previous seismic surveys, delineate shale cap rock, identify potential geohazards and establish baseline information for future 4D steam monitoring.  

Our Approach

The Advisian geophysics group led all project planning, mobilization of staff and equipment, field execution and technical deliverables for the ERT program. The field program consisted of surveying over 400 km of ERT data at the Tsimiroro lease over a 6-month time frame. Field execution included mobilizing professional geophysicists and equipment from Calgary to Madagascar, training and utilization of local Malagasi support labor, as well as establishing HSE protocols with the client, setting up remote fly camps, and liaison with local communities.    

Value Delivered

  • Successfully executed a complex, long-term geophysical survey in a remote area of northwest Madagascar on time and on budget with zero recordable safety incidents. This was achieved by utilizing WorleyParsons’ in-house geophysicists and specialized geophysical equipment.
  • Successfully imaged complex local geology and hydrocarbon deposits using ERT techniques, providing valuable targets for subsequent exploration drilling operations.
  • Able to safely and effectively access and acquire valuable subsurface information not easily accessible by drilling operations, to further delineate structure and hydrocarbon deposits.
  • Provided geophysical field training and experience to over 40 local Malagasi workers, some of whom were able to assist the client with other field operations following the geophysical program.

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