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Cold Lake Cyclic Steam Stimulation:

A Multiwell Process
E. Vlttoratos, SPE, Oeorge R. Scott, and Craig I. aeattle, SPE, Esso Resources Canada ltd.

Summary. Cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) typically is thought of as a single-well process. At Cold Lake, however, where steam
injectivity is achieved by fracturing the formation, considerable interwell communication is observed. The result is usually the watering
out of a producer by condensed steam from a neighboring injector. These interwell interactions greatly complicate steam-injection scheduling
for commercial projects involving hundreds of wells but do not seem to reduce bitumen production in early cycles. Field experience
indicates that steaming rows of wells sequentially with 50% overlap in injection time between adjacent rows significantly reduces water
transfer between wells, increases the conformance of the injected heat, and reduces the field's tendency to form communicating well
couplets. Exploratory numerical simulations show that the impact of steaming strategy on bitumen production is not significant until
later cycles.

Introduction
CSS is a complex recovery process composed of a variety of averages 11 wt %, or about 0.7 of the PV. The oil is very viscous,
recovery mechanisms whose relative importance changes with cycle about 100 Pa' s [100 ,000 cp] at the ambient reservoir temperature
number. For the Cold Lake reservoir, where steam injectivity is of 13°C [55°F]. Essentially no water or steam injectivity exists
achieved by fracturing the formation,I,2 modeling the process is unless the formation is mechanically failed. Both vertical and
particularly challenging. The basis for investment decisions for com- horizontal fracturing have been observed at the initiation of failure,
mercial expansion, therefore, has been largely empirical. Even so, with horizontal fractur~s more common near areas that have un-
efforts to understand the process, and in particular to delineate the dergone intensive steam injection. Fluids move preferentially in the
recovery mechanisms, are continuing. 3 northeast/southwest direction. ERCL's current production at Cold
CSS generally has been modeled as a single-well process. The Lake is more than 14000 m 3 /d [88,000 B/D].
injected heat and fluids are envisioned to remain in the vicinity of The Maskwa and Mahihkan commercial projects currently consist
the wellbore, lowering bitumen viscosity and increasing reservoir of more than 600 and 300 wells, respectively, with a spacing of
pressure. During the production phase, the increased reservoir 1.6 ha/well [4 acres/well]. Well separation at reservoir depth is
pressure, along with gravity, drives heated bitumen to the wellbore. nominally 167 m [548 ft] toward the northeast/southwest and 98
No-flow boundary conditions are assumed to encircle the spacing m [322 ft] in the northwest/southeast direction. The wells are direc-
area of the well. 3,4 Conceptually, such a model is correct for small tionally drilled from 20-well "pads," which contain the in-
steam-stimulation volumes. As the steam-stimulation volumes in- jection/production facilities. With the usual steam injection rate of
crease, however, the disturbances associated with heat injection 225 m 3 /d [1,415 B/D] (cold water equivalent), the steam capacity
become less localized; for very large volumes associated with con- of the plants permits steaming of about 20% of the wells at any time.
tinuous injection, the process evolves into a multiwell steamflood
process. Thus, a continuum exists from single-well CSS to mul- Example of Interwen Communication
tiwell displacement.
At the Leming pilot at Cold Lake, substantial single-well CSS Existing single-well theories of steam stimulation predict mono-
behavior has been observed and successfully modeled for well tonically decreasing water production and fluid temperature and
patterns with large aspect ratios. 3 CSS is not a single-well process, a bitumen production profile that initially increases to a peak and
however, for commercial projects with steam-stimulation volumes then declines slowly with time. The profiles tend to broaden with
of 8000 m 3 [50,000 bbl] or more and wells on 1.6-ha [4-acre] time for later cycles, as Fig. 1 shows. For such behavior to be ob-
spacing with aspect ratios of 1.7. For example, a fraction of the served at the Cold Lake commercial projects with their aspect ratio
fluids injected in a well may not be produced by the same well but of 1.7, however, the steaming strategy must be highly structured,
rather by neighboring wells on production, indicating that elements as will be explained. When wells are steamed at random, the typical
of displacement also exist in the process. Interwell interactions behavior is illustrated by the second cycle of Well A shown in Fig.
during CSS at the Cold Lake area have been reported. 5 ,6 This in- 2. Data from this well are of particular interest because the downhole
terwell interference or "communication" affects the production pressure and temperature measurements facilitate interpretation.
profiles dramatically. Thus, the total performance of the reservoir We note that the monotonic declines of water production and fluid
is not merely the summation of isolated wells whose performance temperature were strikingly interrupted twice during the cycle. In
is independent of the steaming sequence. the first episode, water production rose from about 10 to 120 m 3 /d
This paper gives examples of the interwell communication ob- [63 to 755 BID], before the well was shut in for 8 days; in the second
served with CSS at Cold Lake and introduces terminology useful episode, the water production rose from 5 to 175 m 3 /d [32 to 1,100
for quantifying the process. Approaches to inferring the properties BID], when the well was shut in again to await its third stimulation.
of the interwell communication path from surface measurements The downhole pressure rose from < 1 to > 5 MPa [ < 145 to > 725
are outlined, and the practical limitations in their use noted. The psi] during both communication events, with downhole tempera-
paper then discusses a steaming strategy to reduce the degree of tures exceeding 200°C [392°F]. A neighboring injection well in
fluid breakthrough and to increase the reservoir conformance of the adjoining row (Row 3, 170 m [558 ft] away) affects Well A
the injected heat. Finally, results from numerical simulations of on two occasions. The first communication event is a result of the
the multi well CSS process are presented and compared with field neighboring well being "warmed up" with 3500 m 3 [22,000 bbl]
experience. of steam after being shut in for an extended period owing to me-
chanical problems; the second event occurs when the neighboring
Reservoir Description and Operations well receives its regular third stimulation.
To help quantify the interwell interactions, we define the water
The main steam-stimulation target for Esso Resources Canada Ltd. breakthrough volume, Vbw , as the amount of steam injected in a
(ERCL) at Cold Lake is the Cretaceous Clearwater formation. The well before the arrival of water at a neighboring producer, as indi-
sands are thick and unconsolidated, with net pay often in excess cated by a sharp increase in the water production of the producer.
of 35 m [115 ft] and porosity between 30 and 35 %. Oil saturation Similarly, the heat breakthrough volume, Vbh, is the quantity of
steam injected in the well before the arrival of heat at the producer,
Copyright 1990 Society of Petroleum Engineers as indicated by the wellhead temperature of the producer. Con-
SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990 19
Bitumen
Water 200 300

i BhuIMfl ---
: Water
.
p

I
WtfTemp __

Time
Fig. 2-lnfluence of interwell communication on production
Fig. 1-Slngle-well CSS production profiles. profiles.

siderable judgment needs to be exercised with these concepts, par- Thus, in practice, the deduction of the properties of the commu-
ticularly with V bh , because a rise in wellhead temperature may be nication path from typical field data is rather conjectural. With the
associated with increased fluid production volumes and water cuts downhole data from Well A, Vbh/Ybw is about two for the second
rather than heat arrival from an injector. Furthermore, the increase communication event. This implies that the interwell disturbed
in fluids rate may represent only the increased pressure gradients region is approximately cylindrical. In other cases with wellhead
in the reservoir rather than the arrival of fluids from adjoining wells. data, however, the VbhlVbw ratios range from two to six or more;
Thus, in many cases, downhole data would be needed for an une- the larger values indicate a more planar communication path.
quivocal interpretation, but such data are rarely available. Notwith- Perhaps the data indeed reflect the physical reality: interwell com-
standing these limitations, these quantities have been found useful munication occurs through an assortment of paths ranging from
in evaluating alternative steaming strategies. For Well A, Vbw is cylindrical to planar.
about 1000 and 2200 m 3 [6,300 and 14,000 bbl] for the first and Because fracturing is necessary for steam injectivity, interwell
second events, respectively; Vbh for the second event is about 4700 interactions can be avoided only if wells are spaced significantly
m3 [29,600 bbl]. in excess of the currently used 1. 6 ha [4 acres]. The result would
be low overall recoveries. Therefore, the emphasis needs to be
Properties of Communication Paths placed on managing the interwell interactions that will occur if high
The extensive interwell interactions observed at Cold Lake are a bitumen recoveries are to be achieved. One aim is the achievement
result of the reservoir failure required to achieve commercial levels of high heat conformance in the reservoir. As discussed previously,
of steam injectivity. This failure can extend to distances equal to the heat fronts lag the fluid fronts by a factor of two or more; thus,
that of the well spacing or more. Thus, overlapping of the failed if heat is to reach the reservoir midway between the wells, water
portions of the reservoir may occur. The disturbed zones associated transfer between wells is to be expected.
with the wells create conduits of enhanced pressure and fluid prop-
agation between the wells, with the conduits embedded in a matrix Steaming Patterns
with significantly slower pressure and fluid propagation. In principle, there are two types of steaming strategies for a large-
For example, field experiments at Cold Lake have shown that scale commercial CSS project: random or highly ordered. If CSS
the hydraulic diffusivity, which controls the propagation of pressure, were indeed a single-well process, then, from a purely reservoir
is about 4x 10- 4 m2 /s [4.3 x 10- 3 ft2/sec] for undisturbed sands viewpoint, it would be immaterial which steaming strategy was
with a bitumen saturation of about 70%. Although much higher adopted. However, operational considerations-such as the steam
than the thermal diffusivity2 of7x 10- 7 m 2 /s [7.5 X 10- 6 ft 2/sec], distribution system layout and total generation capacity-make the
it would still require many months to propagate half the increase use of ordered patterns considerably more convenient and energy
of a pressure step a distance of 100 m [330 ft]. On the other hand, efficient. Steam scheduling and well servicing are also simplified.
such a pressure increase has been observed in less than 1 day be- Thus, the tendency would be to converge toward certain ordered
tween a well on injection and an adjoining well in the production steaming patterns even in the absence of interwell interactions.
phase of its stimulation cycle, presumably through the overlapping At Cold Lake, steam is delivered to pads for injection into 20
failure regions associated with the two wells. directionally drilled wells that span an area of 32 ha [80 acres] in
With the wellbore data, one could, in principle, make some the reservoir. This basic unit was first used in the Leming pilot,
deductions on the properties of the interwell communication path. and steaming was performed through rows of five wells each.
In the first injection cycle, the value of Vbw is controlled by the
areal extent and volume of the communication region and by the Row Overlap Concept. Early in the row-steaming pilot, production
leakoff rate into the matrix. A small Vbw implies that only a re- profiles were observed to vary considerably, depending on the se-
stricted region of the reservoir is contacted in the interwell com- quence in which the rows were steamed. Consider adjoining Pads
munication. Some inferences on the shape of the communication Band C in the Leming pilot (Fig. 3). The lines represent the
region can be made from the heat-to-water-breakthrough volume steaming periods for the second-cycle steaming schedule for the
ratio, Vbh/Ybw' Cylindrical channels will have values of two to two pads. For Pad C, steaming begins at the fourth row (R4). Before
three, whereas fractures will tend to have values of six and greater the completion of R4 steaming, R3 began to receive steam. The
because their larger surface for a given reservoir volume permits overlap, O(R4,R3), between R4 and R3 is equal to the steam injected
more heat to be transferred to the reservoir. These estimates follow into R3 during R4 steaming divided by the total R4 steam injected.
from the Marx-Langenheim theory, which does not incorporate In this case, O(R4,R3) =30%. The steaming continues sequentially
leakoff from the communication region 7 ,8 and assumes an initially to R2 and RI with overlaps of O(R3,R2) =70% and 0(R2,Rl) =30%.
unheated reservoir. For later cycles, the physical interpretation of Thus, the average overlap for this pad is about 40%.
the Vbh/Ybw ratio becomes increasingly difficult as bitumen- On the other hand, at Pad B, the steaming is not sequential and
depleted zones develop around the stimulated wells and the com- there is little overlap. Steaming begins at R3, shifts to RI, jumps
munication path becomes heated. In addition, as previously dis- to R4 with O(Rl,R4) =20%, and finishes at R2. Thus, rows are in-
cussed, choosing the breakthrough volumes from surface jecting while the adjoining rows may be well into the production
measurements is difficult. phase of their CSS cycle.

20 SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990


Pad B PadC Pad B

[E
Row Row 2 Row 2
1 .......... 200
Row 1
f-----1
ROw~ 300
2 ·0··· .[!]•••
1-----1
ROW4 t---l P
I 1 Bitumen.-----
.......... 1-E
3
Water ----- 200 ~
4 Well Locations ~
; WHTemp--
Pad C
Row
0 Figure 4
0 Figure 5
6. Figure 6
a:
:!i! 100 :5
:
~
~
1 _steaming ii:
2 interval
3 0
0 100 200 300
4 Production Days
Day_
Fig. 4-lnterwell communication In Pad B with random
Fig. 3-Cycle 2 steaming patterns for Pads Band C. steaming.

Figs. 4 and 5 illustrate the strikingly different production profiles The disruptive consequences of interpad communication led to
resulting from different steaming strategies that are typical of wells the development of the "megarow" steaming concept illustrated
in R3 of Pads Band C, respectively (Wells D and E, respectively). in Fig. 7 for the commercial projects. Here, steaming extends in
For Pad C in Fig. 5, the oil and water production profiles have a line across the whole project area and incorporates several pads.
the appearance usually predicted by single-well theories: the water This approach has greatly decreased the incidence of intercolurnn
production falls monotonically with time and the oil production rises, communication.
reaches a peak, then declines monotonically to a low value at the
end of the cycle. The profiles from Pad B in Fig. 4, however, are Conformance With Overlap Steaming. At Cold Lake, late-cycle
characterized by periods of sharply higher water production and data are currently insufficient to make comparisons on the long-
lower bitumen production. The timing of the disturbances correlates term recovery associated with alternative steaming strategies. For
with the periods of injection in RI, R2, and R4 of Pad B. the first four cycles or so, there appears to be little difference in
If fluid breakthrough does not result in an increase in well recovery with steaming strategy, as illustrated in the comparison
downtime, its primary negative impact is the delay of bitumen pro- between Pads B and C; observed variations are essentially cor-
duction caused by the production of excess water. For example, relatable with reservoir quality. However, one may expect that
had Well D (Fig. 4) been resteamed after 200 production days, as steaming strategy could impact late-cycle recovery. One likely as-
was Well E (Fig. 5), the fluid communication would have resulted sumption is that increased conformance of injected fluids and heat
in Well D producing only 75% of the bitumen produced by Well in early cycles will lead to increased conformance and bitumen pro-
E. However, the extension of the production period of Well D re- duction in late cycles.
sulted in the production of 135 % of the bitumen produced by Well E. One criterion of improved heat conformance is a delay in com-
In summary, Figs. 4 and 5 demonstrate that steaming sequence munication as measured by a increase in the on-trend water-
can have a large impact on fluid production from individual wells. breakthrough volumes; another is an increase of fluid movements
Averaged over a pad or larger well group, however, steaming in the off-trend direction (northwest/southeast). One could argue
strategy does not seem to result in a significant difference in bi- that this improvement is best achieved by 100% overlap steaming
tumen production in early cycles. After minor allowances were made over the whole field. Apart from the fact that insufficient steam
for variations in the pad average steam volumes (Pad C 5 % higher) capacity exists to do this in a commercial project, 100% overlap
and production days (Pad B 10% higher), it was found that the bi- tends to cause increased leakoff of fluids closer to the wellbore be-
tumen production for Pads B and C was the same in Cycle 2. cause of the no-flow conditions at the pattern boundaries, which
concentrates the heat in the vicinity of the wellbore, reducing con-
Megarow Steaming. Thus far, we have considered interactions be- formance. Thus, both facility and reservoir factors suggest that an
tween rows. Some of the strongest interactions, however, are be- optimum degree of interwell interactions exists.
tween pads when one pad may be on injection and the adjoining Some directional arguments can be made that overlap steaming
pad is on production because the intercolumn separation between leads to increased conformance by considering the idealized case
wells is 98 m [322 ft] compared with 167 m [548 ft] between rows. of waterflooding a uniform, isothermal, horizontal light-oil
Pads Band C provide clear examples ofthese interactions. For ex- reservoir. Then, row steaming with no overlap corresponds to a
ample, when Rl of Pad B starts second-cycle injection, Rl of Pad linedrive in light-oil displacement. The conformance expected be-
C is 37 days into its 113-day first production cycle. Significant in- tween the rows at water breakthrough is a function of the aspect
tercolumn communication then occurs, as Fig. 6 shows. ratio of the pattern and the mobility ratio. For the commercial

Pad BRow 1
300 200 1----1 300
Bitumen - ---
Water
Bitumen ----
Water
.
p
r::a.
WHTemp - - 200 ~ WHTemp - -
200E
~ ~

100 :5
: ~
a:
'0
.
I 100 :5
'0
::
~ ·S
ii: ....,'\j_.,. If\
I
1
~
o+----_~·_~_\~'_\~~!~~_-~-~-,~~~~-J----~~/~~!~\4--~f~!-------~o
o ~ ~ 1~
Pr<*luction Days

Fig. 5-Reductlon of Interwell communication resulting from Fig. 6-lntercolumn fluid communication from Pad C to B.
overlap steaming In Pad C.

SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990 21


(a) Low Overlap

• ..• • • • • ·• • • • • · Row,_
1 ,__ ) (
-
• • • ·• • ·• • • • •
... "\
Aligned 2 r- ,-.1
• • • • • • • • • • • • ·• •1
3 I... - "\ '. . . - J
4 ,.-.1 r-
...
"

• • • • • • ·.... .... } (b) Alternating Low/High Overlap

·... . . ·.. . .
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Not Aligned

== On steam injection
Row
1
2
3
4
--)

(C
--) Time ....
possible couplets
--
--)
)

Fig. 7-Allgnment of megarow. Fig. 8-Steamlng patterns tending to create well couplets.

projects at Cold Lake, the aspect ratio is 170/100=1.7; the mo- Vbw from 5000 to 6000 m 3 [31,400 to 37,700 bbl] to only 3000
bility ratio can be assumed to be infinite because of the high vis- to 4500 m 3 [18,900 to 28,300 bbl] after two or three cycles. Fur-
cosity of the bitumen. Then, the areal conformance expected at thermore, use of both high and low overlaps (Fig. 8) also tends
breakthrough is 35 % . 9 If the producer is converted to water in- to induce communicating couplets. Finally, the reservoir heter-
jection at water breakthrough, the conformance between wells would ogeneities tend to direct the fluids to a preferred direction. Field
increase, approaching 100% between rows if injection overlaps over observations indicate that an overlap of about 50% is the practical
long periods. For the Cold Lake situation, however, fracturing, optimum for diverting fluids from the formation of couplets.
leakoff into the matrix, and the small periods of overlap greatly
complicate the analysis. Nevertheless, overlap steaming clearly will Numerical Simulations
raise the pressure in the on-trend communication paths, spreading To quantify the empirically derived overlapping megarow steaming
the fluids perpendicular to the line joining injection rows, resulting strategy, an effort was made to simulate the multiwell CSS process
in greater conformance. numerically. The first objective was to compare the performance
Field data also support the view that overlap steaming increases of different degrees of overlap ranging from 100 to 0%. Because
conformance. Evidence comes from data of intercolunm fluid break- of uncertainty about the CSS physics, the simulations were ex-
through, which occurs from pads on injection to pads on production. ploratory to a large extent. A commercial thermal simulator was
With moderate to high overlap between the steaming rows, Vbw used, 10 with enhancements added to represent water/oil relative
values in the range of 1000 to 2500 m 3 [6,300 to 15,700 bbl] are permeability hysteresis behavior and the reservoir deformation as-
observed. On the other hand, with no overlap between rows, little sociated with the unconsolidated sands.!! These enhancements
intercolunm fluid communication has been observed even with in- were previously used to match CSS behavior under the assumption
jection volumes up to 11 000 m 3 [69,000 bbl]. This demonstrates of single-well behavior or, in the terminology of this paper, 100%
that overlap steaming induces fluids to flow perpendicular to the overlap. 3
on-trend communication paths. (The intercolunm communication The simulations also face difficulties in adequately representing
in Fig. 6 is a result of the path created during partial overlap the moving overlapping steaming sequence within the confines of
steaming of Pad B during its first cycle. Once established, inter- current grid-size limitations. Fig. 9 shows the grid used, which is
colunm communication can recur without overlap steaming.) composed of four wells, each representing a row; steaming proceeds
For high heat conformance, a given well would be expected to sequentially from Wells 1 to 4. At the ends of the model where
communicate with all four of its neighbors; however, it is sometimes Wells 1 and 4 are located, no-flow boundary conditions are im-
observed that reservoir conformance becomes limited by the for- posed. We assume that for the end wells, the current injection
mation of communicating well couplets. Then, the fluids and heat volumes are half those of Wells 2 and 3-Le., that fluids injected
flow along only one path between the wells. Such couplets can be at the end wells flow symmetrically to either side. However, the
induced for a variety of reasons; it would appear that the stable partitioning of the fluids depends on the degree of overlap.
state of the fractured Cold Lake reservoir is that of communicating Therefore, to obtain adequate boundary conditions, an iterative
couplets rather than uniform conformance. For example, field data scheme would be required that uses the partitioning of fluids from
indicate that continued use oflow- or no-overlap steaming decreases the interior wells to select the fluid partitioning at the end wells.

TABLE 1-RESERVOIR PROPERTIES USED


IN MULTIWELL CSS SIMULATION
-
Y ill IIIII IIIII III I x
Z
2

3
- Gridblock Saturations Permeabilities (md)
(z direction) Porosity Water Bitumen Horizontal Vertical
: :;} Perl 1 0:35 0.28 --0:72 1.500 """150
1 r-11m.rwI 2 0.345 0.31 0.69 1.500 150
Grid Block SIDa Well location. 7 3 0.35 0.30 0.70 1.500 150
x z 17." 14x3&, 17.5m z 5IOm Well x.y '- 0.34 0.30 0.70 1.500 150
y = 3,4, ...... 10.14m = 50m 1 1.1 4
z= 7.",. 3.3. 0"" =
3.3.5m 30m 2
3
8.1
11.1
5
6
0.345
0.345
0.29
0.30
0.71
0.70
1,500
1,500
150
150
4 11.1 7' 0.35 0.37 0.63 750 59
'Zone contains high concentration of shale/mud clasts and interbeds.
Fig. 9-Multlwell CSS simulation model grid dimensions.

22 SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990


Legend
100% OverIap- Legend
50% Overlap ----.
25% Overlap ••••••..•••
o_ 50% Overlap
25% Overlap
0'% Overlap' - - - - _ 0'% Overlap

2 4 6 8 10
Cycle number 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Cycle number
Fig. 10-Slmulatlon of bitumen production with different
overlaps. Fig. 11-Fluld breakthrough with different overlaps.

Because this has not yet been done, we emphasize the performance Conclu.lon.
of Wells 2 and 3 when making comparisons between different Field data support our main conclusion that CSS at Cold Lake is
overlaps. a multiwell process primarily because steam injectivity is achieved
The reservoir properties used for the simulations, summarized by formation fracturing. Analysis of the field data and numerical
in Table 1, were from Pad F, which experienced extensive interwell simulations also result in the following conclusions.
communication during first-cycle steam stimulation. A horizontal 1. A steaming strategy aimed at making CSS a single-well process
fracture layer was used to achieve steam injectivity; its properties would initially require small steam-injection volumes.
were adjusted to match the water-breakthrough volumes observed 2. On-trend communication can be reduced significantly by
at this pad in the first cycle. The model was then used to make pre- steaming on-trend wells simultaneously-an overlap of 50% appears
dictions of reservoir performance for overlaps of 100, 50,25, and to be optimum-which increases the off-trend movement of steam,
0%. Fig. 10 shows the predictions for bitumen production nor- retards the formation of communicating couplets, and thus increases
malized by the 50%-overlap case. Fig. 11 summarizes the water- conformance.
breakthrough volumes. 3. Early-cycle bitumen production is not affected adversely by
The most interesting trend discernible relates to bitumen pro- the extensive,interwell communication that occurs from random
duction (Fig. 10). For early cycles, bitumen recovery appears not steaming in the absence of major impact on well operability.
to be particularly sensitive to the steaming strategy, with the 50%- 4. Numerical simulation of multiwell CSS requires further
overlap case being marginally superior. This agrees with field ob- refinement but indicates that optimum recovery is obtained with
servations. For the late cycles, however, the l00%-overlap case less than 100% overlap.
results in a distinctly lower recovery than the lower-overlap cases.
With 100% overlap, the fluids and heat are retained closer to the
wellbore because of the no-flow boundary conditions encircling each Nomenclature
well. The decline in performance after Cycle 5 is related to the steam O(Ri.R/)= steaming overlap between Rows i and j
reaching the top of the reservoir. For lower overlap, the heat is Vbh = volume of steam injected before heat arrival at
distributed over a larger region, delaying steam override. another well, m 3 [Mct]
The need to incorporate field experience into our interpretation Vbw = volume of steam injected before water arrival at
of simulation results is highlighted by the simulation prediction that another well, m 3 [Mct]
0% overlap will yield the highest recoveries. In practice, the high
interwell communication associated with no overlap leads to high
well downtime because of sand-related pump failures. Furthermore Acknowledgment
(and probably more important), the field data indicate that low- or The permission of ERCL to publish this paper is gratefully ac-
no-overlap steaming tends to form well-communication couplets, knowledged.
so that injected steam sweeps the same volume of the reservoir be-
tween the two wells. Such couplets do not form as readily in the
simulations, probably because of either the absence in the model
Reference.
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2. Vittoratos, E.: "Interpretation of Temperature Profiles From the Steam-
dency of the reservoir to form couplets, and to minimize opera-
Stimulated Cold Lake Reservoir," paper SPE 15050 presented at the
tionally disruptive well interactions. 1986 SPE California Regional Meeting, Oakland, April 2-4.
The model predictions of breakthrough volumes in Fig. 11 are 3. Denbina, E.S. et al.: "Evaluation of Key Reservoir Drive Mechanisms
in general agreement with trends observed in the field. The simu- in the Early Cycles of Steam Stimulation at Cold Lake," paper SPE
lations show that water-breakthrough volumes for a given cycle 16737 presented at the 1987 SPE Annual Technical Conference and
decrease with decreasing overlaps. For the 50 %-overlap case after Exhibition, Dallas, Sept. 27-30.
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ference and Exhibition, Houston, Sept. 16-19.
than 75% of the cycle steam volumes. As in the bitumen-production
5. Duerksen, I.H. et al.: "Performance and Simulation of a Cold Lake
case, the breakthrough volumes in Fig. 11 require some judgment Tar Sand Steam-Injection Pilot," IPT(Oct. 1984) 1781-90.
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decrease or increase Vbw for later cycles depending on whether the Stimulation in Cold Lake Oil Sands," paper presented at the 1986 Pe-
well is part of a couplet. troleum Soc. of CIM Annual Meeting, Calgary, Iune 8-11.

SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990 23


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11. Beattie, C.I.: "Reservoir Simulation of Cyclic Steam Stimulation in Original SPE manuscript received for review March 23, 1988. Paper accepted for publi-
cation Sept. 15, 1988. Revised manuscript received April 26, 1989. Paper (SPE 17422)
the Cold Lake Oil Sands, " paper SPE 18752 presented at the 1989 SPE first presented at the 1988 SPE California Regional Meeting held in Long Beach, March
California Regional Meeting, Bakersfield, April 5-7. 23-25.

24 SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1990