Thermal Well Design and Integrity

Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics Drilling and Completions

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the considerations, key factors, industry guidelines and practices, examples, and field experience related to the design and integrity of thermal recovery wells.  

While the approach and overall guidelines presented in the course are general and have relatively broad applicability, the focus of the course is on thermal well design and integrity topics associated with the heavy oil and bitumen recovery methods of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) and Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS).  Furthermore, given the regional level of interest, growth and experience of these recovery methods, the course content is largely presented from a Western Canadian perspective.    


  • What are ‘thermal wells’ and ‘thermal materials’
  • Thermal well design process, Industry regulations, guidelines and Recommended Practices (IRPs)
  • Overview of key material properties and damage mechanisms of casing and liner tubular steels, wellbore cements and formations
  • Operating environment: temperatures, fluids, and loads
  • Casing and liner design approach and basis (materials, connections and experience)
  • Cement blend options and experience
  • Sand control options and experience
  • Thermal wellheads, options and experience
  • Impacts of production/injection completion design, artificial lift system and downhole flow control selection
  • Impacts of operational practices (e.g., heating ramp-up rates)
  • Well integrity management programs
  • Inspection and condition monitoring, damage and ‘failure’ statistics, mitigation and repair options and experience
  • On-going challenges, industry initiatives, and areas of research and development.

Learning Level


Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend

To gain an improved understanding and appreciation for:

  • Current industry guidelines and recommended practices related to thermal well design and integrity;
  • Key factors and considerations involved in the design, construction, operation and integrity management of thermal wells;
  • How various aspects of a thermal recovery project impact and influence thermal well design and integrity; and

Field experience, challenges, areas of advancement, and current industry initiatives and areas of research. 

Who Attends

Anyone looking for an overview of thermal well design and integrity, with a focus on Western Canadian applications, thermal recovery methods, current industry practices and guidelines, and field experience.  This may include:

  • Those new to thermal well design and integrity, either recent graduates early in their careers or those coming into thermal projects with conventional well design experience; and
  • Those working in other areas of thermal recovery projects, such as reservoir, drilling or production engineers and thermal project development personnel.


0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 1-day course.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14 day window will not be refunded.  Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


Todd A. Zahacy is a Senior Engineering Consultant in the Exploration and Production Division of C‑FER Technologies, an engineering research and development company located in Edmonton, Alberta.  In the areas of SAGD and thermal wells, Mr. Zahacy has worked on and contributed to: thermal well completion design and damage/failure investigations; assessment of thermal cement integrity and evaluation of alternative thermal cement blends and materials; qualification of tubular connections; peer reviews on pilot projects and novel recovery technologies; thermodynamic-hydraulic modeling for the design of production and injection well completions; technical and economic assessments of novel SAGD well completion designs for low-pressure applications in Western Canada and SAGD feasibility projects in offshore and arctic applications; investigations on various aspects related to artificial lift and steam injection control for device suppliers, Operators and joint-industry initiatives; and courses and workshops on drilling, thermal completion design, tubular selection and design, thermal sand control, cement and cementing, wellbore hydraulics and heat transfer, artificial lift, steam injection and production flow control, and downhole monitoring and control.  Mr. Zahacy holds BSc degrees in Biochemistry and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta and is a member of APEGA, SPE and CHOA.