The performance of an autonomous inflow control valve (AICV), used to restrict the inflow of unwanted fluids like gas and/or steam was simulated using an industrial reservoir simulator. The simulation results were used to determine how AICVs can improve the oil recovery in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations. Utilizing inflow or flow control devices (ICDs/FCDs) in SAGD wells is a method with promising results. FCDs delay steam breakthrough and increase the oil recovery. The recently developed technology, AICV, further improves the oil recovery from SAGD operations. This paper provides a summary of the test data acquired from the full-scale flow loop testing that replicates the downhole operating conditions. Single and multiphase flow performance of an orifice type ICD and AICV is presented and compared. The results confirm the ability of the AICV to restrict the production of gas and/or steam. A performance analysis based on the results from the experiments and well case simulations is presented. The paper also presents an innovative approach on analyzing the well conditions which brings an insight into SAGD production wells completed with AICVs.
Simulations are performed in different scenarios of a SAGD late life process with non-condensable gases (NCGs), and these results confirmed a significant reduction in the gas liquid ratio (GLR), and an increased oil production when using AICV compared to the open hole case. Simulation results demonstrated that utilizing AICV in the SAGD production wells will reduce the gas and steam production by 64%. The reduction of steam production from the breakthrough zones allows a lower bottom hole pressure. This gives a higher sandface drawdown in the zones with less mobile oil, and thus a higher production from these zones. Further, this forces the steam chamber to be more evenly distributed along the different zones, resulting in increased oil recovery.
Considering the environmental aspect, AICV can contribute to a considerable reduction in the steam use which will consequently reduce the energy and water usage for steam generation. As a result, utilizing AICV in SAGD operations will improve the economics of SAGD projects.