Abstract

Primary oil recovery methods in Saskatchewan’s heavy oil basin extract 5 to 10% of the available resource with the vast majority left in the ground and recoverable only through Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods. Traditional EOR generates steam in surface facilities and injects it underground to mobilize the oil for production with considerable energy losses inherent in the process. R.I.I. North America’s Solvent Thermal Resource Innovation Process (STRIP) technology moves the steam generator underground, reducing the operating and capital costs of a surface thermal production facility by 30% and 50% respectively, and saving more than 30% of the energy typically required for thermal production. STRIP technology combusts methane to produce in situ CO2 and steam. Because CO2 acts as a co-solvent, STRIP outperforms traditional steam-injection technology. This is demonstrated using a breakthrough modeling technique that couples fully compositional and thermal reservoir flow simulation capabilities. This new approach couples FlashPoint’s equation-of-state solver for the multiphase, multi-component, isothermal, isobaric flash problem, GFLASH, with Stanford’s Automatic Differentiation General Purpose Research Simulator for thermal reservoir flow simulations. This new computational framework exploits advanced techniques for skipping phase-identification computations and only uses exact phase equilibria from GFLASH when needed, reducing computational times by one to two orders of magnitude compared to the full rigorous solution.

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