ABSTRACT

The Sonic Azeotropic Gravity Extraction Heavy Oil Recovery Process utilizes natural gas liquids (NGLs), extracted from local rich natural gas sources, in the "wild" condition to heat and extract heavy oil from oil sands. The gas liquids are vaporized by heating and are super-saturated with produced water vapor for injection in a vertical well from the surface through a perforated liner into the subsurface bitumen formation. A movable packer system segregates the vertical well into an upper outer injection annulus equipped with an in-line Hartmann acoustic resonating hot vapor injector and an inner lower production annulus equipped with a progressive cavity pump.

The superheated azeotropic NGL/water vapor flows into the oil sand formation horizontally and radially outwards in a focused bitumen solvating and mobilizing process. The acoustic waves resonate through the leached quartzite sand and are absorbed by the interstitial heavy oil, accelerating the mixing of the condensing NGL with the cooler bitumen at the quartzite/oilsand interface, allowing the vertical well to establish many of the characteristics of a SAGD horizontal well pair.

The mobilized solvated bitumen drains by gravity into the lower well bore where it is pumped to the surface via the progressive cavity pump using one of two possible processes. If surface subduction is allowed, the lower production section of the well bore will be equipped with a perforated liner sized to encourage the flow of some sand into the well bore for pumping to the surface with the heavy oil, which generates the formation of wormholes in the unconsolidated sand for improved oil production. Otherwise, the lower production section will be equipped with a slotted liner to preclude the flow of sand into the well bore. The pump's variable speed drive allows pressure pulsing, causing vaporization of the condensed solvent, and establishing a pulsating foamy-gas drive.

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