Steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is widely applied in the exploitation of oil sand reservoirs, however, the development process is affected by complex geological conditions, wherein the interlayer has a great impact. Specifically, it has a great influence on heat and mass transfer of steam and on the effective flow of crude oil. For this reason, the characteristics of steam chamber and the production performance were investigated in detail to clarify the influence mechanism of interlayer.
In this paper, based on the reservoir parameters of Long Lake oil sands, a series of numerical simulations were conducted to study the characteristics of SAGD process with interlayers. First of all, the numerical simulation method was used to study the influence mechanism of interlayer on heat and mass transfer. Then, based on the above analysis, we reclassified the production stages. Finally, we completed a series of numerical simulations with different parameters of interlayer to determine the influence level of main factors.
The results of temperature profile show that the upper zone of the interlayer is mainly heated by heat conduction, whereas the area far from the interlayer is heated by the coupling effect of heat conduction and heat convection, hence, the steam chamber above the interlayer develops slower and the steam chamber in the area without interlayer develops faster. At the same time, it can be seen from the oil saturation profile that a dead oil zone is formed near the formation just above the interlayer. In addition, the production stage is no longer the classic "three-stage", due to the interlayer, the oil production rate is fluctuating, appearing peak production. Finally, we summarized the regular of the influence of each parameters and determined the main parameters, we considered the location, size, porosity, permeability, and thermal conductivity of interlayer comprehensively, the results show that the influence of thermal conductivity is smaller than other parameters.