PEH:Cold Heavy-Oil Production With Sand - PetroWiki


The claim that the world is irresponsible in rapidly consuming irreplaceable resources ignores technical progress, market pressures, and the historical record. For example, the "Club of Rome," with the use of exponential growth assumptions and extrapolations under static technology, predicted serious commodity shortages before 2000, including massive oil shortages and famine. First, the new production technologies are proof that science and knowledge continue to advance and that further advances are anticipated. Second, oil prices will not skyrocket because technologies such as manufacturing synthetic oil from coal are waiting in the wings. Third, the new technologies have been forced to become efficient and profitable, even with unfavorable refining penalties. Fourth, exploration costs for new conventional oil production capacity will continue to rise in all mature basins, whereas technologies such as CHOPS can lower production costs in such basins. Fifth, technological feedback from heavy-oil production is improving conventional oil recovery. Finally, the heavy-oil resource in UCSS is vast. Although it is obvious that the amount of conventional (light) oil is limited, the impact of this limitation, while relevant in the short term (2000 to 2030), is likely to be inconsequential to the energy industry in the long term (50 to 200 years). The first discoveries in the Canadian heavy-oil belt were made in the Lloydminster area in the late 1920s. Typically, 10- to 12-mm diameter perforations were used, and pump jacks were limited by slow rod-fall velocity in the viscous oil to a maximum of 8 to 10 m3/d of production, usually less. Operators had to cope with small amounts of sand, approximately 1% in more viscous oils. Small local operators learned empirically that wells that continued to produce sand tended to be better producers, and efforts to exclude sand with screens usually led to total loss of production. Operators spread the waste sand on local gravel roads and, in some areas, the roadbeds are now up to 1.5 m higher because of repeated sand spreading. The sharp oil price increases in the 1970s and 1980s led to great interest in heavy-oil-belt resources (approximately 10 109m3).[19][20] Many international companies arrived and introduced the latest screen and gravel-pack technology but, in all cases, greatly impaired productivity or total failure to bring the well on production was the result. To this day, there are hundreds of inactive wells with expensive screens and gravel packs. The advent of progressing cavity (PC) pumps in the 1980s changed the nonthermal heavy-oil industry in Canada. The first PC pumps had low lifespans and were not particularly cost-effective, but better quality control and continued advances led to longer life and fewer problems. The rate limits of beam pumps were no longer a barrier and, between 1990 and 1995, operators changed their view of well management.