Thermal recovery methods used in the exploitation of heavy-oil and bitumen reservoirs can create severe expansion problems on liner and production tubular equipment caused by the effects of thermal expansion. This is more often the case when using horizontal sandface completion configurations in steam flood, cyclic steam, and steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) applications.

Many single lateral and multi-lateral horizontal heavy-oil wells are produced initially using cold ambient reservoir heavy-oil production methodologies where liner expansion is not a concern. However, with proper up-front planning and engineering, these wells could be converted to thermal EOR producers with the addition of thermal expansion devices placed within the liner assembly when initially completed. These expansion devices are engineered to activate when exposed to elevated temperatures once the thermal operations begin and do not require mechanical activation or well intervention. Since these devices are deployed with the liner assembly, they must also be capable of handling compression, tension, and torque loading across the liner during the deployment phase.

These devices can be deployed with the slotted liner/sand screen applications or can be used with production or concentric tubing configurations. This paper will present use of this new device in different wellbore configurations found in various thermal recovery methods.

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