This paper demonstrates the first cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) pilot test in Sudan, which was applied in FNE shallow heavy oil reservoir. B reservoir of FNE field is a shallow, heavy oil reservoir with strong bottom water, burial depth is 520 m. Well tests have shown low oil rates under cold production, averaging at 50–150 BOPD. Denser well spacing will be required if under cold production, which will be quite cost consuming. CSS generally could yield enhanced oil for heavy oil reservoirs. Therefore CSS pilot test has been planned by approaches as follows: 1) investigation of global heavy oil fields with successful CSS histories to confirm applicability in FNE field; 2) Pilot well screening criteria establishment based on sedimentary and reservoir engineering analysis; 3) Perforation optimization to avoid rapid coning based on thermal simulation; 4) steam injection parameters optimization; 5) applicability of natural gas as cost-effective heating source.

CSS Pilot tests on two wells began in 2009. Convincible results have been monitored with well daily rates 3–4 times of cold production wells with low water cut. Another six CSS wells further came on stream from July. 2010, achieving similar positive results. Conclusions drawn from pilot test were as follows: 1) Optimized perforation contributed to low water cut; 2) steam injection density was optimized around 120 t/m; 3) Natural gas as heating source greatly reduce operating cost.

Heavy oil reserves are estimated to take 40% of Sudan’s total reserves. Sudan is also abundant in natural gas reserves, therefore cost-effective CSS development strategy has wide applications for similar Sudanese and African fields. Successful CSS pilot test in this paper highlighted CSS well screening criteria, perforation strategy, steam injection optimization and natural gas utilization, giving a cost-effective staircase for CSS pilot design and implementation.

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