BP Canada Inc, in partnership with Petro-Canada Inc., operates an in situ thermal project in the oil sand deposits of Cold lake. Parts of the project area are underlain by a water-rich silt zone and a thin water sand which have the potential to limit bitumen production and increase water production. In order to minimize the water production, the operating strategy was optimized.

A detailed geological model of the oil sand-silt zone-water leg was prepared, and a numerical modelling study was initiated. The data were averaged for numerical modelling using a novel pseudoization procedure which maintained the important features of the oil sand-water leg interactions. Using the above technique, the numerical model reproduced the field performance accurately.

A pattern study was conducted to (1) duplicate field results and to (2) test several operating strategies. Analysis of the operating strategy indicated that a four well areal element could be used to model a sixteen well satellite.

The model developed was used to history match the bitumen and water production of the wells affected, using three different vertical representations. The models were subsequently used to investigate several operating strategies. Encouraging results were obtained, when the operating strategy recommended by this work was implemented in the field.

This paper describes the salient features of the pseudoization techniques used to develop the numerical model of the water leg reservoir, compares field and model results, and describes the operating strategies investigated.

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