Heavy Oil Technologies

Tuesday, 17 June 2008 Read 10078 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

World Heavy Oil Production Techniques


Maurice B Dusseault, PhD, SPE

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

University of Waterloo

Waterloo  ON  N2L 3G1


Oils with density <22°API (0.918 gm/m3) comprise 65-70% of liquid hydrocarbons in place (not including HC’s in shales, hydrates).  There are about 9 Tb of heavy oil in place, or which about 6-6.5 Tb are found in sandstones, usually relatively shallow, high-porosity unconsolidated strata, and the remainder in limestones, generally well-fractured dual-porosity reservoirs.  About 10% of world oil production is from heavy oil resources, but this proportion is now rising steadily.  Well over 95% of the world HO production is from sandstones.

Development of a new group of production technologies for heavy oil is changing the technology selection process for oil development.  These new technologies include the following fully commercialized approaches:

§       CP – Cold Production using long horizontal well arrays

§       CHOPS – Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand, with vertical wells and sand co-production

§       SAGD – Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage using horizontal producers

§       HCS – Horizontal well Cyclic Stimulation (similar to CSS below)

In addition, there are pre-commercial methods that include:

§       VAPEX – Vapor-Assisted Petroleum Extraction, a gravity-drainage method

§       PPT – Pressure-Pulse Techniques, a method to enhance flow through dynamic excitation

§       THAI™ - Toe-to-Heel Air Injection, a high-temperature combustion approach

Finally, there are the “tried-and-true” methods of long-standing:

§       SF, SD – Steam Flood and Steam Drive, traditionally using vertical wells

§       CSS- Cyclic Steam Stimulation, traditionally using vertical wells

§       IGI – Inert Gas Injection (GOGD) used for conventional oils but useful for gravitational drainage of hot (low-viscosity) oil.

In addition, there are many variants, combinations, or different sequences based on these technologies, and even with combinations such as CSS along with solvent injection cycles.

The presentation will review the basic physical premises behind some of the new methods and show typical production histories in various cases from Canada and elsewhere.  The talk will end with an outline of typical screening criteria for candidate selection for various new HO production methods.


Presenter\'s Biography

Maurice B Dusseault is a professor of Geological Engineering in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Waterloo in Canada.  He spent three years as a roughneck and drilling mud technician prior to completing his BSc (1971) and PhD (1977).  From 1977 to 1982, he held a Research Professor Chair at the University of Alberta funded by the Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority.  During this period, he began his interest in new production technologies and drilling rock mechanics.

In 1982, Maurice moved to the University of Waterloo, where he still continues his career.  He carries out research in petroleum geomechanics (simulation, reservoir geomechanics, CO2 sequestration…), new production methods, and deep waste disposal.  He has co-authored two textbooks, over 420 professional articles in conferences and journals, hundreds of reports, and works with industry as an advisor and instructor.  He has developed and teaches profession courses such as Introduction to Petroleum Rock Mechanics, New Oil Production Technologies, Drilling Rock Mechanics and Earth Stresses for Petroleum Engineers, and so on.

Dr Dusseault was a SPE Distinguished Lecturer in the year 2002-2003, visiting 19 different countries and speaking about new oil production technologies to 28 separate SPE Sections. 

Congress Center of RF CCI. Start at 7 p.m.:

Meeting presentation

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.