Canada has enormous oil reserves which ranks third worldwide with proven oil reserves of 171 billion barrels. Alberta alone contributes with 165.4 billion barrels found in oil sands. However, the oil in oil sands is extremely viscous, and only 10% is recoverable through open-pit mining. In-situ thermal recovery methods such as Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) have been developed and adopted as an efficient means to unlock the oil sands reserves.

Different reservoir geological settings and long horizontal wells impose limitations and operational challenges on the implementation of SAGD technology. Wellbore trajectory excursions or undulations- unintentionally generated trajectory deviations due to suboptimal drilling operations- are some of the complications that lead to non-uniform steam chamber conformance, high cumulative Steam-Oil Ratio (cSOR) and low bitumen recovery.

Conventional dual-string completion scheme (a short tubing landed at the heel, and a long tubing landed at the toe) has been widely adopted in most of the SAGD operations. Such configurations allow steam injection at two points: the toe and the heel sections of the horizontal well. However, these completions have demonstrated poor efficiency when reservoir/well complications exist. Tubing-deployed Flow Control Devices (FCD's) have been introduced to offer high flexibility in delivering specific amounts of steam to designated areas (such as low permeability zones) and ensure uniform development of steam chamber in the reservoir. The work in this thesis presents the results of a numerical effort for optimizing the design of Outflow Control Devices (OCD's) in SAGD wells for different scenarios of well pair trajectory excursions.

A coupled wellbore-reservoir SAGD simulation model was constructed to optimize the placement and number of ports in every single OCD. Three different cases were generated from the constructed basic SAGD model with each case having a specific well pair trajectory which causes variable lateral distances between the well pair.

Results of the optimized OCD's cases demonstrate a higher SAGD efficiency compared to their corresponding conventional dual-string cases. Those enhancements resulted in a higher steam chamber conformance, a higher cumulative oil production, and an improved Net Present Value (NPV).

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.