Summary

Horizontal steam injectors can improve the efficiency of thermal operations relative to vertical injectors. However, effective in-well and reservoir surveillance are needed to understand steam conformance. Uniform steam-chest development improves the steam/oil ratio in continuous steam injection and accelerates recovery in cyclic steam injection. The conformance of the injected steam can be achieved by flow control devices (FCDs) deployed on either tubing or liner. A new liner-deployed FCD was used in a horizontal steam injector in the Kern River field. The liner-deployed FCD is intended to replace the tubing-deployed FCDs while reducing capital costs, surveillance costs, and well intervention costs for conformance control.

Fiber optics was used for surveillance, which is the most promising method in horizontal steam injectors considering reliability, accuracy, and cost. Fiber optic data enables monitoring the performance of liner-deployed FCDs as well as estimating the flow profile along the lateral length. Multimode distributed temperature sensing (DTS) optical fibers and single-mode distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) optical fibers were installed in the well for these objectives. Algorithms for interpreting DTS were improved to include a new technique, shape language modeling (SLM), and a probabilistic approach. The configuration of the FCDs was changed during the first well intervention, and it was monitored by DTS and DAS. Data from both DTS and DAS confirms the open/closed position of the sliding sleeve of FCDs initially and after the intervention. The probabilistic estimates of steam outflow in several FCD configurations match well with the theoretical outflow that is expected from the critical flow of steam through chokes installed in the FCDs.

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