Gas Transport Mechanisms in Thermal Simulation

Paper Number: SPE 157837

Authors: Muhammad Atif and Neil Edmunds, Laricina Energy Ltd.

Source: This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Heavy Oil Conference Canada in Calgary, Alberta, June 12-14, 2012.

Many authors have published effects of Non Condensable Gas (NCG) injection during steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operation, on one hand it provides an insulation blanket to the steam chamber and avoids heat loss to the over burden and improves the economics of the project, but on the other hand it can stall the steam chamber growth in the middle of high pay zone, provided the reservoir has high solution gas. All the commercial simulators predict the accumulation of the gas blanket ahead of steam front. However, field operations have proved that the NCG are produced along with bitumen and water and doesn't accumulate, but simulators are unable to predict the right amount when it comes to history matching and accurate predictions This paper is focused on numerically findings of the gas transport mechanism in the SAGD operations Many possible mechanisms were considered and found that most of the commercial simulators lack the function of gas production due to viscous liquid drag, which contributes a lot towards gas production especially during early years of SAGD. Solubility exclusion of the two major NCG i.e. CO2 and CH4 in both water and oil phases is another reason for under-estimating the gas production. Along with the above two mechanisms, interestingly, the constraints on the production wells in the simulators also account for a great deal of NCG production. Now instead of using a fraction of GOR, simulation engineers can include the complete GOR of the Alberta bitumen reservoirs to history match and predict the correct amount of bitumen and gas production.

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