In January 2014, a panel of Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) hearing commissioners conducted an inquiry into odours and emissions from heavy oil and bitumen operations in the Peace River area of Alberta. In response to the regulatory panel's recommendations, we were tasked with creating a 22000 km2 3D geological model, developing a sample program to address odour and source rock issues, and to evaluate the petroleum chemistry in a petroleum systems context. The model consists of 18 geological horizons spanning the surface digital elevation model (DEM) to the Precambrian basement. Elements incorporated into the model include wells, oil and gas pools, bitumen deposits, play areas, faults, geochemical data, petroleum chemical data, and satellite imagery. Various data were gathered using in-house and publicly available sources. Stratigraphic tops for over 25,000 wells were gathered from various sources to model the complex series of surfaces, including four major unconformities. The model was used to correlate produced petroleum chemistry to source rock petroleum chemistry, in an effort to predict where and why odours occur from some oil sands operations. A small sampling program was conducted to evaluate the geochemistry and petroleum chemistry of the Peace River area produced hydrocarbons, including the potentially odorous volatile organic compounds. This data was compared to hydrocarbons produced from other similar or related plays. The results of this project will be presented. These findings and similar workflows can be used to anticipate environmental impacts, and mitigate risks to the public and the environment through efficient and effective energy regulation. In addition, the 3D model has shown to be a good tool for communicating the information in a clear way to all the Stakeholders with various levels of background knowledge involved in the initial inquiries.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists - ACE 2015