Marc A. Evans



BASc. Mechanical Engineering – University of Ottawa, 2007

MSc. Candidate (Engineering Management) – University of Alberta, 2010 (Expected)


Industry Experience:

GasTOPS Ltd. (Aerospace/Defense Engineering - Ottawa)

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (Federal Government - Ottawa)


University Experience:

Teaching Assistant (Design, Laboratory and CAD courses)

University of Alberta Outreach Coordinator (Educational Outreach in Alberta)


Volunteer Experience:

Past President of the Mechanical Engineering Student Society (U of Ottawa)

Past President of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Association (U of



Project Summary:


Title: Evaluation of Acoustic Stimulation as a Candidate Production Technology for Shallow Depth Reserves in the Alberta Oil Sands (Expected Completion – Summer 2010)


Background: Of the estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil sand in Alberta, approximately 10% are proven reserves. The remaining unproven reserves are either inaccessible by current technology or are not economically  viable in the current energy market. A large portion of the unproven reserves are located between 100 - 3000m depth where current in-situ production technologies, which rely heavily on thermal and chemical methods of bitumen viscosity reduction, are ineffective.


Purpose: The primary aim of this research was to evaluate acoustic excitation as a candidate technology for bitumen viscosity reduction in the unproven shallow depth reserves. The secondary aim was to investigate whether a viscous response to acoustic excitation would be influenced by non-Newtonian fluid behavior.


Methodology: A lab scale experimental apparatus was designed which could subject test fluids to the pressures and temperatures present in shallow depth reservoirs. Once at static downhole conditions (500psi, 20-80°C), samples could then be subjected to acoustic excitation at various amplitudes (± 100 to 400psi) and frequencies (0 to 20Hz). If present, changes in viscosity could be observed by monitoring the viscous response of the fluid during and after acoustic excitation using a viscometer. Experiments were designed to test the effects on (1) NIST calibration oils, (2) bitumen, (3) Athabasca oil sand, (4) non-Newtonian drilling muds, and (5) non-Newtonian starch mixtures.


Progress to Date: Design & commissioning of the apparatus has been completed and acoustic

experiments have been performed on fluids 1, 2, and 4. Acoustic excitation amplitude was found to have a significant effect (reduction) on the viscosity of drilling muds; however, further testing using fluid 5 is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the effect of non-Newtonian fluid behavior. It can been concluded that at the conditions tested, acoustic excitation does not have a significant effect on the viscosity of bitumen and thus has limited potential as an in-situ oil sand production technology.


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