Solar Generated Steam Injection in Hamca, Venezuelan Extra Heavy Oil Reservoir; Simulation Study for Oil Recovery Performance, Economical and Environmental Feasibilities

Yegane, Mohsen Mirzaie (Sharif University of technology) | Ayatollahi, Shahab (Sharif University of technology) | Bashtani, Farzad (University of Clagary) | Romero, C. (Universidad del Zulia)



Application of solar energy compared to conventional gas-burning boilers for steam generation in thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery processes is a newly attended technology, which brings significant benefits to the petroleum industry through environmental and economical aspects. This technique is especially designed for the regions in which gas-burning steam generation is not viable in large scale. The objective of this study is to investigate about viability of using solar energy to generate steam instead of using conventional steam generators in a Venezuelan extra heavy oil reservoir. Limited gas production policy of the Venezuelan government is the major challenge for utilizing gas steam generators for extra heavy oil reservoirs in this country. Besides, the efficient daylight duration, economic and environmental advantages, are the main features to propose solar-generated-steam injection in Venezuelan extra heavy oil reservoirs. In this study, various scenarios of steam injection on Hamaca-Venezuelan heavy oil reservoir-have been investigated using commercial thermal simulator software and the main results of oil production for similar time periods (5 years) are compared. To compensate the energy needed for the steam generators during the night time, dual types steam generators were proposed to utilize solar and fossil energies during day-time and night time respectively. The simulation results for this extra heavy oil reservoir indicated that the oil production was not significantly improved when solar method is used regardless of the amount of the nightly injection of fossil-fuel generated steam for flow back prevention. This finding illustrated high economic efficiency for solar-generated steam injection compared to dual type (solar and fossil-fuel) steam generator method. Furthermore, the results indicated that in typical imposed cyclic steam injections in integrated solar thermal projects, there is no significant difference in oil productions in various scenarios with different pattern and rate of steam injection if the total amount of injected steam is constant. In addition, this study shows the significant reduction of CO2 and Sulfur Oxides emissions if this new technology is implemented. Besides, various scenarios (with and without natural gas backup) were designed for exact day light duration profile in vicinity of the reservoir in order to optimize the oil production as well as accurate economic and environmental evaluation for each scenario.