Evaluation of Air Injection into Mature SAGD Chambers as a Follow Up/Wind-Down Strategy, Using a Novel Large Scale 3-D Physical Model
- Ehsan Aminfar (University of Calgary) | Belenitza Sequera-Dalton (University of Calgary) | Sudarshan Raj Mehta (University of Calgary) | Gordon Moore (University of Calgary) | Matthew Ursenbach (University of Calgary)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 30 September - 2 October, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Wind-down, Air ans steam injection in SAGD, 3-D Physical model experiments, In Situ Combustion
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- 257 since 2007
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The injection of air into mature steam chambers is a promising technology to reduce the steam-to-oil-ratios (SOR) in late stages of the Steam-Assisted-Gravity-Drainage (SAGD) recovery process in Athabasca oil sand reservoirs in Alberta, Canada. Air injection allows sustaining steam chamber pressures with reduced steam injection rates. The steam capacity that becomes available due to the replacement of steam with air in mature well-pairs or pads could serve new pads optimizing steam utilization and decreasing the overall environmental footprint of the project. A novel large scale three-dimensional (3-D) physical model was designed to evaluate the prospect of the "hybrid" air and steam injection technology in a SAGD configuration utilizing up to three well-pairs. This paper discusses the 3-D model design, commissioning, experimental procedure and main results of the first tests.
For each test, the 3-D model was packed with a low oil saturation core or lean zone, representing the reservoir portion swept by steam, and a high oil saturation core or rich zone representing the un-drained zone between two coalesced steam chambers. These zones were made with preserved native "lean" and "rich" cores from Athabasca reservoirs. Once the model was packed, it was placed inside a pressure jacket where it was pressurized to reservoir pressure. Steam was injected into the model to develop a representative steam chamber in the lean zone. Once steam conditions were attained in the lean zone, steam injection was switched to air injection. Temperatures distributed in the 3-D model as well as injection and production pressures and produced gas compositions were monitored constantly and recorded during the test. Produced liquid samples were regularly captured and stored for subsequent analysis. Post-processing analyses of produced fluids and residual extracted core material allowed for determination of clean-burned zones, material balance, upgrading of the produced bitumen samples and efficiency of the process.
High peak temperatures, gas compositions, clean-burned sand in post-test cores and significant oil production indicate the development of a high temperature combustion front in the 3-D experiments. The test results confirm the injection of air into mature SAGD chambers is a very promising method not only to reduce the cumulative steam-to-oil-ratios (CSOR) and to sustain the steam chamber pressures but also to increase oil production in SAGD late life.
|File Size||2 MB||Number of Pages||22|