Steam channeling is an important factor affecting the steam flooding, for thin heavy oil reservoirs, the steam overriding in the vertical direction is not as severe as the thick heavy oil reservoir, and often can form a regular shape of the steam front which can directly reflect the extent of steam overriding. it also can determine the steam swept volume, steam breakthrough time. Therefore, the study of steam front is of great significance.
In this paper, a series of works are conducted to study the characteristics of steam front of horizontal steam flooding. Firstly, the equation of steam front and the equation of motion are established. Then, coupled with energy conservation equation and mass conservation equation, a comprehensive model is established. The model is solved with method of characteristics and the predicted results are compared against field data and previous models.
The results show that: (a). The new model is applicable to predict different shapes of the steam front according to the production conditions. (b). The comparison between experimental results and model results showed that this new model can predict the steam front well. (c). The comparison of steam front among different shapes indicated that linear-shape was the best, followed by the concave-shape, and the convex-shape was the worst, usually causing severe steam overriding and the severity will increase over time, the development effect can be improved by forming a proper shape of steam front.