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JCPT 95-04-03 Enhanced Steam-assisted Gravity Drainage: A New Horizontal Well Recovery Process for Peace River, Canada R.A. HAMM, T.S. ONG Shell Canada Limited Abstract A new horizontal well recovery process, developed for appli- cation in the Peace River tar sands of Alberta, Canada, has shown sufficient technical and economic potential to warrant a field test which commenced operations in November 1993. The new process is an enhanced version of the steam assisted gravity drainage(1,2) (SAGD) process which is currently being field test- ed by Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research
Authority (AOSTRA) together with a consortium of industry members at the Underground Test Facility (UTF) located in northern Alberta(3-5). The SAGD well configuration, wnich consists of two parallel and superposed horizontal wells, with continuous steam injection occurring in the upper well and liquid and gas production from the lower well, is also utilized in the Enhanced Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (ESAGD) process. A perfor- mance enhancement to the SAGD process is obtained through the application of a small pressure differential between adjacent pattem steam chambers. The gentle
"steam drive," which occurs once sufficient bitumen mobility has been obtained between steam chambers, is observed to be tolerant of reservoir hetero- geneities. Additional benefits include accelerated steam zone growth and bitumen production, up to 50% improvement in ulti- mate recovery efficiency, and no impairment to the thermal effi- ciency relative to the SAGD process. The surface access ESAGD field test currently underway in Peace River is described. Introduction The Peace River oil sands are located in northwestern Alberta (Figure I ). Following the oil sand deposit discovery in
1949, Shell (.'anada be,@an testing a variety of iii SitLi recovery process s, including steam soak tests in 1962, steani drive and in situ cOm- bustion testing iii 1965-66, followed by steam injectivity and pro- ductivity tests in 1973-74(6.7) . A 3 1 -well pilot (Peace River In Situ Pilot - PRTSP@ see Figure 2) began operations iti 1979, testin the pressure cycle steam drive proceSS@7 'l). Pilot operations ended in 1992 at a cumutative recovery efficiency ot' 65% and cumulative oil steam ratio of 0.25. In 1986, Shell Canada commenced opera- tions in the Peace River Expansion Project
(PREP), the only com- inercial project in the Peace River oil sands, with a target produc tion of 1,600 M3/day of bitumen from 163 pro(lucers(lo). The need to improve production economics bv reducin,, production costs was the motivation behind the Peace River horizontal well study. which began in early 1991. The use of horizontal wells in a pittern steliiii drive was shown via numerical simulation to result in poor recovery and thermal efficiency due to poor steam conformance. This led to the numeri- cal simulation study of SAGD(I-2). SAGD without any perfor- inance enhancement's did
not appear to yield the desired perfor- mance Lll)lil't il'i Peice River. Further study ultiniateiv led to the developiiieiit ol the ESAGD process. Geological Description The P@ice ]@Ziver oil sand deposit covers an area of approxi- niately o,'-OO square kilometres and contains some 12 billion cubic metres (if bitunien. The productive horizon is found in the Bullhead iii Fnber of the Cretaceous Bluesky/Gething zone at an avera,,,e depth @)f 600 in, and is geologically equivalent to the shal- I()wer, pi oductive McMLirray sands in Northeastern Alberta@l 1). An iiiipk)rta@ilt
feature of the Peace River reservoir is the Basal Transition Zorie (BTZ) located at the base of the reservoir, which hits suft@icientl,,/ hi,,h water saturation (greater than 30%) to allow fluid iii.jection at initial reservoir conditions. Other key character- istics ar(, lii,,h permeability ( 1,650 ± md) in the BTZ decreasing to a low ot- @Lppioximately '-)OO nid at the top of the reservoir, a net/_@i-oss i atio of one, and excellent vertical continuity. A type log section I-oi a PRISP well is shown in Figure 3. The lack of barriers to vertic@il tlo@, resulted in close to 100% vertical
sweep in the h(Nited ic,-,ioii@@, in PRISP. Ar@il variations in reservoir properties are fouiill to o,@,cur in reservoir and BTZ thickness, BTZ oil satura- tioil, tnci it) som de,,i-ee in horizontal permeability. Hvdr',iL[Iic 33