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Steam flooding is also known as CONTINIOUS STEAM INJECTION. Recovery by steam flooding is commonly used in heavy-oil reservoirs containing oil whose high viscosity is a limiting factor for achieving commercial oil-producing rates. It has also been considered, however, as a method for recovering additional Light oil. High-temperature steam is continuously injected into a reservoir. As the steam loses heat to the formation, it condenses into hot water, which, coupled with the continuous supply of steam behind it, provides the drive to move the oil to production wells. As the formation heats, oil recovery are increased by: 1. The heated oil becomes less viscous, making it easier to move through the formation toward production wells. 2. Expansion or swelling of the oil aids in releasing it from the reservoir rock.
3. Lighter fractions of the oil tend to vaporize, and as they move ahead into the cooler formation ahead of the steam they condense and form a solvent or miscible bank. 4. Finally, the condensed steam cools as it moves through the reservoir and results in what amounts to an ordinary water flood ahead of the heated zone.
An added bonus from the use of steam in both steams flooding and cyclic stimulation is the flushing of liners and casing perforations. Possible flow restrictions to oil production through the wells are thus reduced. CONTINIOUS STEAM INJECTION In a steam flood. The first is to heat the oil to higher temperatures and to thereby decrease its viscosity so that it more easily flows through the formation . Two mechanisms are at work to improve the amount of oil recovered. some wells are used as steam injection wells and other wells are used for oil production. as well as the reduction of deposits that may build up in the wells. sometimes known as a steam drive.
one a few meters above the other. and steam is injected into the upper one. in which oil is meant to be pushed to the production wells. it heats up the crude oil and reduces its viscosity. The intent is to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen to the point where gravity will pull it down into the producing well. further reducing the oil viscosity. While more steam is needed for this method than for the cyclic method. Another contributing factor that enhances oil production during steam injection is related to near-wellbore cleanup. . The heat also distills light components of the crude oil. it is typically more effective at recovering a larger portion of the oil. in which two horizontal wells are drilled.toward the producing wells. which condense in the oil bank ahead of the steam front. In this case. When steam enters the reservoir. A second mechanism is the physical displacement employing in a manner similar to water flooding. The hot water that condenses from the steam and the steam itself generate an artificial drive that sweeps oil toward producing wells. steam reduces the interfacial tension that ties paraffin and asphaltenes to the rock surfaces while steam distillation of crude oil light ends creates a small solvent bank that can miscibly remove trapped oil. A form of steam flooding that has become popular in the Alberta oil sands is steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD).
Following characteristics are beneficial. Viscous oils between 10 and 20 API are most susceptible to viscosity reduction by heat.APPLICATIONS: Hot fluid injection is limited in use to relatively few reservoirs. Volatile high API gravity crudes .
Permeability of 500 md or more assists flow of viscous oils. Reservoir depth of less than 3000 feet minimizes heat losses. more heat can be transported per pound of steam injected in to the shallow. Also latent heat is highest at low pressures. Therefore. Usually these oils cannot produce sufficient coke to sustain combustion. ADVANTAGES: Steam floods are easier to control than in situ combustion and for the same pattern size. Permeability in steam drive projects is very important because response depends on injection rate.may be considered for steam drive because of additional recovery caused by steam distillation and solvent extraction. The steam injection wells and oil producing wells are subject to much lower temperatures than the temperatures encountered in insitu combustion. Steam flooding can be applied to reservoirs containing high API gravity oils. low pressure reservoirs than into deeper zones at high pressure. . Oil saturation near 1200 bbl/acre-ft increases chances of economic success. the response time is 20-50% of response time with insitu combustion.
Emulsion formation is possible with some crudes during steam injection. . nor to reservoirs containing freshwater-sensitive clays. Field personnel must be familiar with steam generator operation to maintain efficiency.DISADVANTAGES: Steam floods cannot be performed at depths below 5000 ft. Operation at high temperature entails added safety risks. Cement failure in conventionally completed wells is frequent under thermal operations. New wells must be completed and equipped to operate at high temperature.