We propose a novel method for improving the efficiency of recovery of heavy oil. Two horizontal drainholes are made at the bottom of a vertical well so that one may be steamed while the other is in production. Downgoing steam and rising produced fluids are carried in the same vertical casing so that heat from the produced fluids reduces heat losses from the steam. This arrangement requires a downhole valve that will switch steam and produced fluids between the boreholes. We discuss the design of a suitable well and of the valves, and report results of tests to select suitable materials to function in the high temperature downhole environment.

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