Flow Control Devices (FCDs) in SAGD applications have succeeded and failed to varying degrees and their use has not been overly pervasive or fully accepted yet. However, recently it has been publicized that FCD technology has achieved upwards of 100% improvement in SAGD oil production and potential improvements in steam oil ratios (SOR), which has continued to spark interest in its application.

SAGD reservoirs are inherently heterogeneous and this presents distinct operational complexities when attempting to expedite the production of the oil while attempting to avoid steam breakthrough. Producing the steam reduces the thermal efficiency of the project which results in an increased SOR while also creating a high potential of compromising the mechanical integrity of the production liner. FCDs can mitigate the operational negatives and enhance the operational positives, however, they are not a ‘silver bullet’ for all ailments and their implementation needs to be carefully planned. This paper reviews FCD implementation workflows and highlights recent downhole instrumentation technology advancements that enhance FCD performance analysis and supports better deployment designs that should improve the economic viability of existing and upcoming SAGD projects.

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