This paper illustrates the successful design, implementation and evaluation of cyclic steam stimulation pilot in heavy oil field of Sudan. This field contains heavy oil in multiple reservoirs of Bentiu formations of late cretaceous age occurring at epths of 550–600m. Reservoirs are highly porous (~30%), permeable (1000–2000 mD) and unconsolidated in nature. Fluid properties include viscous crude of degree API 15 – 17 and corresponding viscosities in the range of 3700 cp and 3000 cp at reservoir conditions.

In view of higher viscosities and consequently lower oil rates and envisaged meager primary recovery of around 18–20%, plan is made for thermal enhanced oil recovery (TEOR) application early to overcome the resistance to flow and maximize the recovery. As EOR processes are reservoir and reservoir fluid specific, therefore, it is prudent to understand the reservoir response to the steam injection before full field application. Cyclic steam stimulation has been implemented in eight selected wells spread over the field encompassing varying reservoir characteristics for understanding the efficacy of the process, acquiring the valuable data and operational experience. Equally important objective was to gain experience for minimizing the key risks, associated problems and challenges.

Wells have been completed with heat compatible casing and cement. Steam quality of 75% was injected for 6–12 days and wells were subjected to soaking of 3–5 days. Putting on production an improvement of three to five folds has been realized compared to primary production and first cycle is sustaining more than six months. Actual results are better than predicted in simulation studies with lower steam intensity of 120 m3/m compared to planned 160m3/m. Paper also discusses improvement in oil production and its variation with formation and fluid characteristics, formation thickness, depth of formations, duration of injection and soaking periods along-with response variables like oil-steam ratio and steam/water production. Operational challenges in preventing the heat losses in annulus, lifting challenges and sand production are also discussed.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.