Simulations of In-Situ Upgrading Process: Interpretation of Laboratory Experiments and Study of Field-Scale Test
- Alfredo Perez-Perez (Computational Hydrocarbon Laboratory for Optimized Energy Efficiency) | Marelys Mujica Chacín (Computational Hydrocarbon Laboratory for Optimized Energy Efficiency) | Igor Bogdanov (Computational Hydrocarbon Laboratory for Optimized Energy Efficiency) | Anne Brisset (Total) | Olivier Garnier (Total)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- December 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2,711 - 2,730
- 2019.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- in situ upgrading
- 26 in the last 30 days
- 72 since 2007
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In-situ upgrading (IU) is a promising method of improved viscous- and heavy-oil recovery. The IU process implies a reservoir heating up and exposure to a temperature higher than 300°C for a time period long enough to promote a series of chemical reactions. The pyrolysis reactions produce lighter oleic and gaseous components, while a solid residue remains underground. In this work, we developed a numerical model of IU using laboratory experience (kinetics measurements and core experiments) and validated the results by applying our model to an IU field-scale test published in the literature. Finally, we studied different operational conditions in a search for energy-efficient configurations.
In this work, two types of IU experimental data are used from two vertical-tube experiments with Canadian bitumen cores (0.15 and 0.69 m). A general IU numerical model for the different experimental setups has been developed and compared with experimental data, using a commercial reservoir-simulator framework. This model is capable of representing the phase distribution of pseudocomponents, the thermal decomposition reactions of bitumen fractions, and the generation of gases and residue (solid) under thermal cracking conditions.
Simulation results for the cores exposed to a temperature of 380°C and production pressure of 15 bar have shown that oil production (per pseudocomponent) and oil-sample quality were well-predicted by the model. Some differences in gas production and total solid residue were observed with respect to laboratory measurements. Computer-assisted history matching was performed using an uncertainty-analysis tool with the most-important model parameters. To better understand IU field-scale test results, the Shell Viking pilot (Peace River) was modeled and analyzed with the proposed IU model. The appropriate gridblock size was determined and the calculation time was reduced using the adaptive mesh-refinement (AMR) technique. The quality of products, the recovery efficiency, and the energy expenses obtained with our model were in good agreement with the field test results. In addition, the conversion results (upgraded oil, gas, and solid residue) from the experiments were compared with those obtained in the field test. Additional analysis was performed to identify energy-efficient configurations and to understand the role of some key variables (e.g., heating period and rate and the production pressure) in the global IU upgrading performance. We discuss these results, which illustrate and quantify the interplay between energy efficiency and productivity indicators.
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