Field results from many heavy oil reservoirs in the Lindbergh and Frog Lake fields in northeastern Alberta suggest that primary recovery is mainly governed by the processes of sand production and foamy oil behaviour. Sand production leads to the creation of high porosity zones with increased permeability, while foamy oil generation provides the necessary support mechanism to sustain higher production rates.

PanCanadian Petroleum Limited and Centre for Frontier Engineering Research (C-FER) conducted experimental and numerical studies to understand the various reservoir mechanisms contributing to the high primary production recovery observed in the Lindbergh and Frog Lake fields. Laboratory tests were conducted to study the foamy oil behaviour and evaluate its contribution to the enhanced primary production observed in the field. The numerical modelling included a series of idealized models developed and analyzed to determine the most probable shape of the sand-producing zones. The evaluation focussed on matching not only the observed oil production but also the observed sand volumes removed from the reservoir. The analysis from vertical well simulation was also extended to horizontal wells.

The evaluation of heavy oil reservoir mechanisms for Lindbergh and Frog Lake fields is reported in two parts. Part I includes field testing and preliminary reservoir simulation based on the production data. Part II includes analytical and numerical studies for coupling the effects of sand and oil production, and laboratory testing of unconsolidated sand under foamy oil conditions.

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