A new in-situ combustion strategy, the top down process, is currently under detailed laboratory study. The process, aimed at overcoming some of the problems that have restricted the successful application of in-situ combustion in oil sand and heavy oil formations, involves the stable propagation of a combustion front from the top to the bottom of a reservoir, exploiting gravity drainage of the mobilized oil to a lower horizontal well.

Operational parameters that have been investigated and presented here include: air injection flux, degree of pre-heating, internal steam flood pre-heating and injection of normal air versus injection of oxygen enriched air.

To compliment the experimental investigation, the thermal numerical simulator STARS has been applied to the in-situ combustion process by incorporating reaction kinetics for Athabasca oil sand. A successful history match of an experimental test is presented accompanied by a discussion of application of the model to field scale,

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