Even temperature conformance along the length of the horizontal well is key to maximizing Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) production rates. When temperature logs are run in SAGD producers, temperature variations of greater than 50°C between the hottest and coldest spots are commonly observed. We theorize that this temperature distribution is related to an inflow distribution, and that production rates could be improved if this temperature variance was narrowed.

It is difficult to influence conformance with traditional SAGD producer well design. Flow areas are large, and liquid velocities are low, resulting in small frictional pressure losses. It is not possible to impose a materially different drawdown on hot and cold spots along the horizontal with typical well completion methods.

A field trial is ongoing at the Firebag project in which a production well is equipped with intelligent completion technology. The test well's horizontal liner section is split into four hydraulically isolated zones, with each zone having the ability to provide flow or isolation from the reservoir. The well completion is equipped with optical pressure and temperature (P/T) gauges and distributed temperature sensing (DTS) technology which monitors each segment's performance during operations. The capability to independently and immediately manipulate each segment's production inflow will provide the operator the ability to evaluate the influence of an intelligent completion design on a well's conformance and ultimate oil recovery.

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