Approximate Physics-Discrete Simulation of the Steam-Chamber Evolution in Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage

Gallardo, Enrique C. (University of Alberta) | Deutsch, Clayton V. (University of Alberta)



Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is a thermal-recovery process to produce bitumen from oil sands. In this technology, steam injected in the reservoir creates a constantly evolving steam chamber while heated bitumen drains to a production well. Understanding the geometry and the rate of growth of the steam chamber is necessary to manage an economically successful SAGD project. This work introduces an approximate physics-discrete simulator (APDS) to model the steam-chamber evolution. The algorithm is formulated and implemented using graph theory, simplified porous-media flow equations, heat-transfer concepts, and ideas from discrete simulation. The APDS predicts the steam-chamber evolution in heterogeneous reservoirs and is computationally efficient enough to be applied over multiple geostatistical realizations to support decisions in the presence of geological uncertainty. The APDS is expected to be useful for selecting well-pair locations and operational strategies, 4D-seismic integration in SAGD-reservoir characterization, and caprock-integrity assessment.