Advanced Solvent-Additive Processes via Genetic Optimization

Paper Number: 2009-115

Authors: Neil Edmunds, Behdad Moini, Jeff Peterson - Laricina Energy Ltd.

Source: Presented at the 2009 Canadian International Petroleum Conference held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 16-18 June 2009.

Copyright: Copyright 2009, Petroleum Society of Canada

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This paper describes the application of a genetic algorithm to the development of a solvent-additive SAGD process. A review of related field projects and key simulation studies is provided, together with a discussion of the pros and cons of potential alkane solvents. Economics and the impact of dynamic and ultimate retention are discussed.

A general conclusion drawn from literature is that optimal solvent application to SAGD will likely involve time variations in both rate and composition of the solvent. This results in an optimization problem that has a large number of dimensions, and is very nonlinear. Genetic algorithms, which mimic biological evolution, have been found by us to be extremely effective in addressing such problems. The general methodology of application to solvent additives by Laricina Energy is described.

A key product of this effort, optimized for a simple clastic reservoir, is presented. The genetic algorithm produced an operable process, which could be described as a new combination of pre-existing concepts. The process offers material improvements in thermal bitumen supply costs, as well as recovery factor. Major reductions in the physical steam/oil ratio (SOR), (and therefore) capital intensity and carbon emissions, are indicated.

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