Steam-Solvent, Solvent, and Steam-Additive Recovery Process Design

Reservoir Description and Dynamics


This short course will cover the fundamentals of solvent-only (cold and hot, e.g. VAPEX, CSP, and heated VAPEX), steam-solvent (e.g. ES-SAGD, SAP, LASER), and steam-additive (e.g. steam-CO2, steam-surfactant) with considerations for recovery process design. The focus will be on how additives act physically in the reservoir to enhance or harm recovery from oil sands reservoirs. Laboratory experiments, thermal-additive reservoir simulations, and field pilots, both operating strategy design and results, will be described.

Learning Objectives:

  • Become familiar with fundamentals of steam-additive recovery technologies for oil sands reservoirs.  
  • Understand benefits and limitations of steam-additive recovery technologies.  
  • Learn about past experimental, reservoir simulation, and field pilots that have used steam-solvent, solvent, or steam-additive recovery technologies.

Learning Level


Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend?

Given the challenges the oil sands industry is facing with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption from steam-based recovery processes, one feasible route to reduced steam-to-oil ratio, emissions, and water consumption is via steam-solvent, solvent, and steam-additive processes.  This course presents the fundamentals of these technologies and a review of what has been done in the field to evaluate these technologies.  

Who Should Attend

Geologists, reservoir engineers, reservoir simulation engineers, technology development managers


0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) will be awarded for this 1-day course.

Cancellation Policy

To receive a full refund, all cancellations must be received in writing no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Send cancellation requests by email to; by fax to +1.866.460.3032 (US) or +1.972.852.9292 (outside US); or mail to SPE Registration, PO Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083.


Ian D. Gates is a professor in the department of chemical and petroleum engineering in the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.  He worked for seven years in the industry prior to joining the university. Since joining the University, he has been a consultant for many small and large energy companies both in Canada and internationally.  His primary research interests are in 1. thermal and thermal-solvent methods (SAGD, CSS, ES-SAGD, and SA-CSS) and optimization of these technologies for in situ heavy oil and bitumen recovery, energetics and efficiency, emissions, and water use, 2. well-wormhole models for cold production with sand and recovery from thin heavy oil reservoirs, 3. imaging reservoirs by using white noise reflection processes, 4. application of smartwell technologies for adaptive production of heavy oil fields, 5. support vector machine learning for reservoir characterization, 6. in-reservoir reaction engineering (in situ combustion and in situ gasification of oil sands, H2S generation in SAGD and CSS), 7. biofilm development in porous media and 8. biotechnology for energy recovery from petroleum reservoirs.

Gates has been a co-founder of several spin-off companies from the University of Calgary including Gushor Inc. and Profero Inc. as well as two consulting firms.  He has won eight teaching awards including a Killam Innovation in Teaching Award, six research, innovation, and commercialization awards including an ASTECH Award for Gushor Inc. (Category:  Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology with gross sales < $25M).  Gushor Inc. was sold to Schlumberger in June 2013.  He holds a BSc from the University of Calgary, an MASc from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota, all in chemical engineering.  He is a registered professional engineer in Alberta.