A completions strategy has been developed for improving both steam injection and production conformance in a thermal- enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project by using intelligent completion technology that incorporates interval control valves (ICVs), well segmentation, and instrumentation. The initial field trial is ongoing in the injector of a Northern Alberta steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well pair.

Depending on the level of heterogeneity present in the reservoir, the application modeling shows that a 45% reduction in the steam-oil ratio and an almost 70% increase in recovery can be achieved in a SAGD process when both improved injection conformance and producer differential steam-trap control can be applied in a segmented horizontal well pair. A cost-effective intelligent completion solution to achieve this segmentation and control has the potential to add substantial value to field developments resulting in increased energy efficiency and oil recovery through improved steam conformance. The method being developed is also applicable to a wide range of other thermal EOR processes such as cyclic steam stimulation (CSS), steam drive and variations, which include those processes involving solvent additives. The initial field deployment in the injector well was conducted primarily to prove the technology, to demonstrate the feasibility of modifying the steam distribution, and to determine best practices for future developments. A successful installation and commissioning of the intelligent completion has validated the technology substantially. Lessons learned are highlighted.

Early injection test results and data show a significant increase in the understanding of the injection and production behavior in the well pair. The intelligent completion technology under trial and proposed developments should enable more extensive use of downhole measurement and control in thermal EOR projects than has been possible to date. This paper discusses the development of the completion technology, its applicability to thermal conditions, initial field trial results and the plans for further development. A test program to optimize the distribution of the steam injection in the well is underway, and the results to date also will be discussed.

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