Different enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques for heavy oil reservoirs were reviewed for their ranges of applicability using available reports and publications. EOR screening criteria found in the literature are reprinted and provided. After reviewing more than 100 papers on the subject, it is apparent that there is a definitive knowledge gap on the effective sequence of EOR recovery strategies. While there are numerous studies on the application of heavy oil recovery techniques, there is a lack of comparison and categorization of the results.

For Canadian reservoirs, the first recovery method that is implemented first is either waterflooding, cold production or in some cases steamflooding. Chemical flooding and other emerging technologies are mostly coupled with these methods. In most reports, conversion of producers to injectors and introducing line drive and edge drive will improve the waterflooding performance. However, coupling waterflooding with horizontal wells, the addition of water mobility control agents and steam stimulation did not improve the waterflooding performance in some cases. In the case of fractured limestone reservoirs, it seems that immiscible gas injection is a suitable EOR method to implement, but because of the reservoir complexity, a clear understanding of the recovery mechanism and reservoir geology is needed. In-situ combustion and steamflooding are among the most efficient heavy oil recovery methods with a large range of applicability, and next to waterflooding, can become the most widely used heavy oil recovery method. Fireflooding methods can be more profitable if they are coupled with simultaneous or intermittent water injection with air.

The results obtained from this paper not only will help the petroleum industry to apply each technique to the right candidate fields, but also it will prevent researchers from duplicating unsuccessful research projects.

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