Steam trap production control, i.e. producing fluids to maintain BHT just below the boiling point of water, has been traditionally recommended for SAGD operations. In this work a numerical investigation of the relationships between producing steam trap subcool setting and related parameters of interest such as fluid level, pressure, production rate, and steam/oil ratio is reported for a prototype Athabasca reservoir.

It is found that steam trap dynamics are rather more complex than previously imagined. In three dimensions and the real world, for example, inflow temperature can and does vary significantly along the well according to local conditions, resulting in 3D simulations predicting significantly lower production rates than equivalent 2D cases. The findings have implications to many aspects of SAGD engineering including process optimization, forecasting, completion design and installation, production operations and performance analysis.

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