Abstract

Controlling steam conformance in the horizontal injectors of SAGD projects is widely accepted as being critical for commercial success. This work is focused on steam distribution in horizontal injectors in mobile, heavy oil (non-bitumen), thermal development projects. Steam Conformance can be achieved by tubing or liner deployed FCD's (flow control devices). Liner deployed FCD's have several advantages over tubing-deployed FCD's which includes: smaller tubulars, lower capital costs, reduced well interventions, and potentially reduced surveillance requirements.

This paper provides an overview of a collaborative development methodology for liner-deployed FCD's in horizontal steam service between a service company and operator. This methodology included:

  • Establishing functional, operational and dimensional basis of design

  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the FCD design and phase-split testing in the Horizontal Steam Injection Test Facility (HSITF)

  • Design revisions based on CFD, HSITF and shift testing results

  • Field installations results based upon fiber optic, thermo-hydraulic, and mechanical analysis

These FCD's were designed with sliding-sleeve technology to enable opening or closing of each device. Different specifications of electroless nickel (EN) coatings were also tested to determine the performance for scaling and corrosion resistance. Within 6 months, three versions of the FCD's were tested in the HSITF with accompanying CFD. For each version the shifting forces before and after ~6 weeks of steam injection were measured. Each generation was improved based on the data from the prior version.

In December 2018, three FCD's were installed in a large bore horizontal steam injector in a tubing deployed completion for field qualification of the devices. This installation was the first step of a one-year field qualification test. The full test will involve multiple interventions to opening and closing the FCD's. A capillary tubing with fiber optic wrapped around the tubing and devices can confirm FCD openings or closings. The field qualification will also test the local operational capability to shift the FCD's. At the end of the field qualification, the flow devices will be retrieved for inspection and identification of further design improvements.

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