The depositional environment at Statoil's Leismer SAGD demonstration project is dominated by a fluvial-deltaic system with complex geological features which present challenges for SAGD operations. An efficient monitoring tool that could combine geoscience data with production knowledge is vital for optimizing SAGD operational strategies. Time lapse (4D) seismic survey is one such monitoring tool. It can be integrated with wells and production data to prepare and optimize operational strategies. The pattern of growth of steam chamber is critical for well performance optimization. Steam chamber development dictates which reservoir areas are using heat efficiently and contributing to drainage of bitumen and increased production.

At Leismer, two 4D monitor seismic surveys have been conducted since the start of operations. The 1st monitor was acquired in 2012 to observe one year of SAGD performance and the 2nd monitor in 2013 to observe the performance after 2 years of operation. These surveys have been used to identify challenges to maximizing well pair productivity. Of primary concern is the effective distribution of steam along the entire horizontal section of the SAGD well pair. Other 4D monitoring benefits include, monitoring subcools with respect to reservoir heterogeneities, bottom water communication, steam chamber coalescence, baffle or barrier to steam chamber growth identification.

In this study, examples are presented to show how combining production and 4D seismic data has contributed to well pair optimization. Communication with bottom water in the early stages of SAGD, while rare, occurred in specific Leismer well pairs – analyses of production data combined with 4D seismic data helped identify steam loss into bottom water which drove steam injection strategy and improved well productivity. Another Leismer example shows how 4D seismic has been used to confirm a low reservoir roof at the toe of a particular well pair. This knowledge drove a change in injector well completion to optimize production. In the final example, it is shown how 4D seismic has helped analyze and confirm well conformance (heat distribution along SAGD well pairs) which is critical for uniform steam chamber development.

Based on Statoil's Leismer experience of applying results of 4D seismic analyses for well optimization, it can be concluded that 4D seismic has proven to be a very useful and value adding monitoring tool.

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