- C.S. Matthews (Shell Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 465 - 471
- 1983. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 4.6 Natural Gas, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 5.7.5 Economic Evaluations, 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation
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Distinguished Author Series articles are general, descriptiverepresentations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology bydescribing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in thetopics discussed. Written by individuals recognized as experts in the area,these articles provide key references to more definitive work and presentspecific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to informthe general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleumengineering.
Steamflooding has become an established recovery technique within the last20 years. This overview discusses its evolution, methods for selecting anddesigning steamfloods, constraints, and possible improvements. The termsteamflooding is used here in a general sense. The discussion includes steamsoak (cyclic steam injection) and steam drive. For additional information thereader should refer to Farouq Ali and Meldau.
Early Developments: Steam Soak
There are records of steam injection into a Texas oil reservoir as far backas 1931. Steam drive on a sustained basis, however, did not begin until 1959-60when Shell affiliates undertook steamflood pilots in Schoonebeek, theNetherlands, Mene Grande, Venezuela, and Yorba Linda, CA. Steaming operationsstill under way at Schoonebeek and Yorba Linda are discussed later.
Venezuela. The steamdrive pilot in Mene Grande led to development of thesteamsoak process. While attempting to relieve the formation pressure byopening a steam injector to production, oil was produced surprisingly at a rateof 100 to 200 B/D. produced surprisingly at a rate of 100 to 200 B/D. This wasthe first steamsoak well. This process underwent considerable development inboth
Venezuela and the U.S. Most of the oil produced by steam from 1960 to 1970was by this process. Typically, steam is injected for several weeks and thenthe well is closed in (soaked) until the steam has condensed, A pump then isrun and the well is placed on production. When oil production falls to a lowlevel, the cycle is repeated. Thermal production in Venezuela is still almostentirely (95%) from steam soak. Compaction of these thick, unconsolidated sandstogether with solution-gas drive is leading to satisfactory oil recovery atvery high ratios of oil recovered per barrel of steam used.
The Netherlands. One of the first large-scale steam drives began at theSchoonebeek field in The Netherlands in 1960. Recovery of the moderatelyviscous oil (180 cp) was quite successful. This encouraged additional fieldtrials of steam drive in the U.S. and in Venezuela. Coring showed that steamwas achieving low residual oil saturations of the order of 8%. The residual oilin the zone swept only by hot water was about 35%. Later tests at Schoonebeekwere carried out at high pressure and high temperature. Under these conditionsCO2 and H2S are generated in situ. Consequently, new alloys had to bedeveloped. Thus, Schoonebeek led to pioneering along both reservoir andmetallurgical lines.
U.S. Commercial steamflooding began in the U.S. in 1960 in the Yorba Lindafield, CA.
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