Well segmentation and instrumentation have been used to improve steam injection and production conformance in a completions strategy for a thermal-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project by using intelligent well technology and interval control valves (ICVs). The initial field trial is ongoing in the injector of a Northern Alberta steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well pair. The development of the completion technology suitable for thermal conditions, initial field trial results and the plans for further development are described in this paper. The application modeling shows that, depending on the level of heterogeneity present in the reservoir, a 45% reduction in the steam-oil ratio and an almost 70% increase in recovery can be achieved in a SAGD process when both improved injection conformance and producer differential steam-trap control can be applied in a segmented horizontal well pair. A cost-effective, intelligent-well completion solution to achieve this segmentation and control has the potential to add substantial value to field developments through improved steam conformance. This will result in increased energy efficiency and oil recovery. The method under development is also applicable to a wide range of other thermal EOR processes such as cyclic steam stimulation (CSS), steam drive, and variations, including, for example, those involving solvent additives.
The initial field deployment in the injector well was initiated to prove the technology, to demonstrate the feasibility of modifying the steam distribution, and to obtain best practices for future developments. A successful installation and commissioning of the intelligent completion has validated the technology. Lessons learned are highlighted. Early injection test results and data show a significant increase in the understanding of the injection and production behavior in the well pair. A test program to optimize the distribution of the steam injection in the well is underway, and the results are discussed. The intelligent completion technology under trial and proposed further developments should enable more extensive use of downhole measurement and control in thermal EOR projects than has been possible to date.