Title: Mechanistic study and performance evaluation of steam assisted gravity drainage using direct visualisation of pore-level experiments

Authors: Omid Mohammadzadeh; Nima Rezaei; Ioannis Chatzis

Addresses: Schlumberger-Doll Research Center, One Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA ' Department of Process Engineering, Memorial University, 230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL A1C 5S7, Canada ' College of Engineering and Petroleum, Petroleum Engineering Department, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Abstract: In this paper, insights into the pore-scale physics of SAGD process are presented through analysis of a systematic series of SAGD visualisation experiments, conducted using optical imaging technique and glass-etched micromodels of capillary networks. The steam chamber propagation was found to be influenced by the randomly-distributed fingering of the invading steam front near the mobile oil-steam chamber interface. The steam fingering was extensive during the vertical growth of the steam chamber where the steam buoyant front was protruding through the pores containing a continuum of oil. The steam fingering phenomenon was also observed during the outward propagation of the steam chamber near its lateral wings, but to a lesser extent. The rate of pore-scale horizontal interface advancement was constant at each elevation along the height of the micromodels. The average pore-level SAGD sweep rates as well as the net cumulative steam to oil ratio were correlated using an analytical model. [Received: March 15, 2018; Accepted: February 11, 2019]

Keywords: steam assisted gravity drainage; SAGD; pore-scale; visualisation; heavy oil; bitumen; heat losses.

DOI: 10.1504/IJOGCT.2020.109448

International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology, 2020 Vol.25 No.2, pp.103 - 132

Received: 15 Mar 2018
Accepted: 11 Feb 2019

Published online: 30 Apr 2020 *

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