Gas Over Bitumen

Gas over bitumen occurs when natural gas pools are found above bitumen reservoirs. Bitumen and natural gas rights can be leased separately, resulting in a need for technical and regulatory solutions to maximize the recovery potential and minimize cost.

Depletion of the gas pool causes lower pressure in the zone above the bitumen reservoir, making it more difficult to recover the bitumen. In addition, when steam is injected into the bitumen reservoir, there is a high potential for the steam to escape into the depleted gas pool, requiring significantly more steam to recover the bitumen, increasing the cost of the operation.


In April 2000, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) issued Decision Report 2000-02, which shut in production from 146 natural gas wells in the Surmount area. A joint industry/government committee was struck to find a technical solution that would allow independent production of both bitumen and natural gas. 

Gas Over Bitumen Project ScopePDF iconupdated April 2008.

Technical Solution RoadmapPDF iconA tool to assist companies in making a decision about how a research project may aid in the process of finding a technical solution to the gas over bitumen issue.

Bitumen Conservation Requirements Affecting Gas Production in Oil Sands Areasexternal link icon(AER)

Progress Reports, Gas Over Bitumen technical solution, industry & Government collaboration

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