Passive Reservoir Heating for Improved Bitumen Recovery

Paper Number: 2009-145

Authors: Mauro Cimolai, Sandeep Solanki and Neil Edmunds - Laricina Energy Ltd.

Source: Presented at the 2009 Canadian International Petroleum Conference held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 16-18 June 2009 and revised for publication as SPE Paper 139772 and published in the Journal of Petroleum Technology November 2010, Volume 49, No 11.

Copyright: Copyright 2009, Petroleum Society of Canada

A new strategy for heavy oil recovery is identified for layered reservoirs, where hydraulic restrictions or barriers to vertical flow separate adjacent oil-saturated strata. Passive heat conduction from a thermal operation in one layer is used to pre-heat bitumen in the adjacent strata. Once pre-heated, the oil properties within the adjacent strata are favourably conditioned to either primary production or the effective in situ application of solvents. This strategy permits greater thermal efficiency for heat either applied or generated with the reservoir, producing a higher recovery and access to otherwise uneconomic pay intervals.

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