Horizontal well steam injection is effective to recover heavy oil for its large reservoir contact. To date, more than 150 horizontal wells have been drilled in Shuguang oil region, most of them are operated in steam stimulation and SAGD processes, and completed with slotted liner at length from 100 m to 500 m. But it is much challenging to recover oil from reservoir along horizontal well proportionally because of steam characteristics, large well length and reservoir heterogeneity. Results of simulation and field temperature testing show that only about half of reservoir along horizontal wellbore is recovered well, and average OSR (defined as ratio of oil production to steam injection) is less than 0.28, and it is not satisfying for the large cost of horizontal well drilling and completion. Furthermore, steam crossflow between wells and pressure depletion in local reservoir well steamed could also result in reduction in oil production and OSR.

To improve horizontal well steam injection, separated-zones horizontal well steam stimulation technology is developed, in which temperature sensitive packers, outlets, pressure sensitive valves and ball sealers are involved. The steam injection of different zones separated by packer(s) could be regulated or controlled according to engineering design. There are four techniques developed including dual-zones steam injection in sequence or at one time, selected zone steam injection, and simultaneous multizones steam injection. In order to investigate temperature and steam injection of different reservoir zones along horizontal well in different steam stimulation process, experiment, numerical simulation and field testing are carried out in past three years. In this work, laboratory experiments are carried out with large simulation apparatus packed with sampled oil sand and equipped with temperature sensors and pressure sensors at first. Secondly, structure of steam injection pipes and steam injection scheme are optimized based on numerical simulation, and primarily reservoir selection requirements are also provided. Thirdly, result of application of separated-zones steam injection to 76 wells and monitoring of temperature and pressure is presented, and considerable improvement of steam injection and heavy oil recovery obtained. At last, the future of intelligent separated-zones horizontal well steam injection is prospected.

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