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Slurrified Heavy-Oil-Reservoir Extraction as a Recovery Method

This paper presents a concept for recovery in Canadian oil sands that uses water injection to condition a reservoir interval sufficiently to relieve the overburden stress on the oil sand and increase its porosity and permeability. The ability of the process to work in thinner and more geologically complex reservoirs compared with other in-situ processes, and with lower CO2 and surface footprints than those seen in thermal and mining processes, could make this an attractive alternative recovery process for shallow- to intermediate-depth in-situ bitumen resources.

Introduction

Canadian oil-sands recovery is challenged by the high and ultrahigh viscosity of the heavy oil and bitumen trapped within the generally unconsolidated sand matrix of these reservoirs. Steam processes have dominated the in-situ recovery of this resource, but steam/solvent and solvent-only processes are currently being field tested. Steam processes, especially low-pressure processes such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), are challenged by both a high degree of geologic heterogeneity and thin pay zones.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 165498, “Slurrified Heavy-Oil-Reservoir Extraction (SHORE): A Nonthermal, In-Situ Recovery Method,” by David P. Yale and Jianlin Wang, ExxonMobil Upstream Research; Steven W. Meier, Eric Herbolzheimer, and Arnold P. Kushnick, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering; Neal L. Adair and Sergio A. Leonardi, ExxonMobil Upstream Research; and Richard J. Smith, Imperial Oil Resources, prepared for the 2013 SPE Heavy Oil Conference—Canada, Calgary, 11–13 June. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Slurrified Heavy-Oil-Reservoir Extraction as a Recovery Method

01 March 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 3

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