New high vacuum Gettering technology is being applied in today's Insulated Steam Injection Tubing. After the 1973 oil embargo, the U.S. government funded a number of initiatives to develop equipment and technology that might lead to additional worldwide heavy and unconventional oil resources. "Deep Steam", one of these projects, was funded to develop new technology could be applied heavy oil resources. Two approaches were taken; develop a downhole steam generator, and second, to develop new and improved thermally efficient Insulated Steam Injection Tubing.
Insulated Tubing, developed originally to address environmental concerns associated with permafrost regions on Alaska's North Slope, has evolved and been adapted for use in heavy oil fields around the world to reduce heat losses in steam injection wells, improve economics, and improve efficiency of heavy oil recovery.
This paper describes the evolution of Insulated Steam Injection Tubing: Reasons for using, new advances in High Vacuum Insulation technology, design requirements, review of field test results from past technical papers, and future work to improve the product, technology, and operating life.
Insulated Steam Injection Tubing can benefit both huff-and-puff and steamflooding projects. It will reduce heat losses in the wellbore, especially in deep reservoirs or where steam volumes are relatively low. Reduced heat loss improved bottom hole steam quality, and lowered casing temperatures combine together to improve project efficiency, economics, and reduce the risk of casing failure from thermal stress.
Developed originally to address environmental concerns associated with permafrost regions in Alaska's North Slope oil fields, Insulated Steam Injection Tubing was adapted for steam injection applications in heavy oil fields worldwide. In recent years, Insulated Tubing has evolved for use in offshore oil production as a method to reduce annular pressure buildup in deepwater completions, for cold startups in subsea completions, and to reduce paraffin deposits and keep crude production above the paraffin deposition temperature.1