Abstract

This paper presents a benchmarking strategy specific to heavy oil projects using thermal recovery methods. We use the new approach to benchmark heavy oil development projects and identify gaps in performance and suggest measures to close those gaps.

Typical benchmarking studies for development projects compare Reservoir Complexity Index (RCI) against Estimated Ultimate Recovery (EUR) to evaluate the performance of the projects. Shell developed a proprietary top-quartile expected ultimate recovery (TQ EUR) tool to compare fields in primary recovery and water flood. For this study, a new method was developed to calculate the RCI for heavy oil projects. Complexity Attributes and ranking criteria were developed based on key parameters influencing thermal recovery performance. This method was used to evaluate 20 heavy oil projects worldwide. Once RCI is calculated for each project, the reservoir performance and environmental footprint were plotted against RCI to identify the top quartile fields. Oil steam ratio (OSR), EUR, and CO2 intensity were the reservoir and environmental performance metrics considered in this study.

The data collected for the benchmark study included reservoir and fluid properties, reservoir geology, well operation and field development, and field performance metrics. The data sources included Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Canadian Oil and Gas Companies (Canoils), The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) publications, Shell's Top Quartile Estimated Ultimate Recovery (TQ EUR) Tool and Shell's tool of recovery efficiency prediction in prospect appraisal (SWEEP). A heavy oil development project was benchmarked using the new approach to identify the gaps to top quartile performance and provide guidance and measures to close those gaps.

A novel RCI framework has been developed specifically for Thermal Recovery Projects in Heavy Oil. Project benchmarking data and comparison methodology shown here can be extended to any other producing area in the world.

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