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Horizontal Steam Injectors in the Kern River Field

Fig. 1—Scale deposition on the low side of the 3½-in. tubing in the heel region of Injector A.

A horizontal-steam-injection pilot project has been under way for the last 4 years in the Kern River heavy-oil field in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California. This project was designed to address a series of learning objectives for horizontal steam injection in a mobile heavy-oil reservoir. These objectives included mechanical integrity and operability, steam conformance control, steam-flow profiling, and reservoir response and long-term operability.

Introduction

While documented cases of continuous and cyclic horizontal steam injection in mobile heavy oil exist, these have not led to large-scale economic development of thermal heavy oil. Most thermal, mobile, heavy oil is currently produced with vertical steam injectors. The Kern River Field is a good example of this recovery technique.

The primary heavy-oil reservoir in the field is 300 to 1,300 ft deep, with a reservoir thickness of up to 900 ft. During the last 50 years, most of the field has been developed with continuous vertical steam injectors, with typical pattern spacing being 2.5 acres.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 187258, “Design and Operational Experience With Horizontal Steam Injectors in the Kern River Field, California, USA,” by R.S. Buell, SPE, R. Gurton, J. Sims, SPE, M. Wells, G.P. Adnyana, M. Shirdel, SPE, C. Muharam, T. Gorham, SPE, E. Riege, and G.B. Dulac, Chevron, prepared for the 2017 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 9–11 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Horizontal Steam Injectors in the Kern River Field

01 June 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 6

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