Abstract

The manuscript focuses on benefits realized in sucker rod pump system performance, number of workovers, downtime periods, and overall production efficiency as a result of continuous steam injection (steam flooding) on a heavy oil pilot field. It also presents benefits on production performance as a result of real-time well optimization of sucker rod pump systems.

Implementation of real-time production optimization techniques to record behavioral changes provide for up-close field operational surveillance (allowing for faster response time).

The steam injection effect varies from between locations, based on the distance between injector and producer wells, along with the degree of down-hole interference.

The objective was to study steam injection effects on a group of wells and adjust the operational parameters of sucker rod pump systems based on individual well performance conditions. Real-time wellsite monitoring (including creating notifications, warnings and alarms to identify troublesome or non-optimized wells) and data-trend analysis allowed us to make necessary corrective actions continuously, which led to an improvement in well performance since steam injection started (thus optimizing productivity).

The continuous steam injection, supported by real-time optimization and constant sucker rod pump system performance adjustments, led to the following operational efficiency improvements:

  1. Reduced downtime related to troubleshooting activities

  2. Reduced pump replacements (obtaining longer run life of downhole equipment)

  3. Improved pump efficiency (measured by improvements in production rates)

  4. Created a workflow for sucker rod pump system performance review and optimization opportunities

  5. Improved field-wide overall production

  6. Improvement in sucker rod pump system efficiency (pump efficiency dyna card analysis was significantly improved in wells with low pump submergence after steam injection)

Maintaining the same downhole pump configuration, we found that pump efficiency (calculated by measured production rates) changed significantly: from low efficiency before steam injection (on colder periods) to higher efficiency (after steam injection). We also studied pump performance during the production phase and adapted the sucker rod pump system operational parameters to the wellbore's changing operation conditions, driven mainly by wellbore's temperature changes.

Applying continuous steam injection in a heavy oil area supported in improving pump performance, reducing downtime, and improving overall production from a specific number of wells, compared to lower production and higher downtimes (with larger number of wells), but without continuous steam injection.

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