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Cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) is a relatively recent technology. As such, only a few case histories of its application over a number of years have been published. Nonetheless, those that are available provide insight into the application of this technology. A detailed Luseland field case history has been published. It had a long history (12 to 15 years) of slow production with reciprocating pumps, an attempt to produce with horizontal wells (6 wells, all failures), and then a conversion to CHOPS through reperforation and progressing cavity (PC) pump installation.
The most common method used to enhance oil production over primary rates is water injection, commonly referred to as secondary oil recovery. Common practice in the industry is to refer to all other methods as tertiary enhanced oil recovery. According to Prats, thermal enhanced oil recovery (TEOR) is a family of tertiary processes defined as "any process in which heat is introduced intentionally into a subsurface accumulation of organic compounds for the purpose of recovering fuels through wells." This article provides an introduction to the mechanisms by which steam can enhance oil recovery. The most common vehicle used to inject heat is saturated steam.
Heavy oil is defined as liquid petroleum of less than 20 API gravity or more than 200 cp viscosity at reservoir conditions. No explicit differentiation is made between heavy oil and oil sands (tar sands), although the criteria of less than 12 API gravity and greater than 10,000 cp are sometimes used to define oil sands. The oil in oil sands is an immobile fluid under existing reservoir conditions, and heavy oils are somewhat mobile fluids under naturally existing pressure gradients. Unconsolidated sandstones (UCSS) are sandstones (or sands) that possess no true tensile strength arising from grain-to-grain mineral cementation. Many heavy oil reservoirs are located in unconsolidated sandstones.
Sour gas is natural gas or any other gas containing significant amounts of hydrogen sulfide H2S).Sour gas reserves are historically left undeveloped because of the technical challenges and costs involved in their extraction and processing. Natural gas that contains more than 4 ppmv of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is commonly referred to as "sour". This is because the odour of hydrogen sulphide gas in air at very low concentrations is similar to that of rotten eggs. Significant quantities of natural gas resources around the world are known to contain H2S. These have been difficult to produce in the past because of the tendency for sour gas to cause corrosion and sulphide stress corrosion cracking, particularly in pipelines.
Demulsification is the breaking of a crude oil emulsion into oil and water phases. A fast rate of separation, a low value of residual water in the crude oil, and a low value of oil in the disposal water are obviously desirable. Produced oil generally has to meet company and pipeline specifications. For example, the oil shipped from wet-crude handling facilities must not contain more than 0.2% basic sediment and water (BS&W) and 10 pounds of salt per thousand barrels of crude oil. This standard depends on company and pipeline specifications. The salt is insoluble in oil and associated with residual water in the treated crude. Low BS&W and salt content is required to reduce corrosion and deposition of salts. The primary concern in refineries is to remove inorganic salts from the crude oil before they cause corrosion or other detrimental effects in refinery equipment. The salts are removed by washing or desalting the crude oil with relatively fresh water. Oilfield emulsions possess some kinetic stability. This stability arises from the formation of interfacial films that encapsulate the water droplets.
From a purely thermodynamic point of view, an emulsion is an unstable system because there is a natural tendency for a liquid/liquid system to separate and reduce its interfacial area and, hence, its interfacial energy. However, most emulsions demonstrate kinetic stability (i.e., they are stable over a period of time). Produced oilfield emulsions are classified on the basis of their degree of kinetic stability. Water-in-oil emulsions are considered to be special liquid-in-liquid colloidal dispersions. Their kinetic stability is a consequence of small droplet size and the presence of an interfacial film around water droplets and is caused by stabilizing agents (or emulsifiers). These stabilizers suppress the mechanisms involved that would otherwise break down an emulsion. Sedimentation is the falling of water droplets from an emulsion because of the density difference between the oil and water. Aggregation or flocculation is the grouping together of water droplets in an emulsion without a change in surface area.
Reservoir inflow performance is the reservoir pressure-rate behavior of an individual well. Mathematical models describing the flow of fluids through porous and permeable media can be developed by combining physical relationships for the conservation of mass with an equation of motion and an equation of state. This leads to the diffusivity equations, which are used in the petroleum industry to describe the flow of fluids through porous media. The diffusivity equation can be written for any geometry, but radial flow geometry is the one of most interest to the petroleum engineer dealing with single well issues. The solution for a real gas is often presented in two forms: traditional pressure-squared form and general pseudopressure form.
Computer-controlled drilling is slowly changing how the oil and gas industry discovers natural resources. Automated drilling can reduce the number of injuries to zero and increase productivity and accuracy. Global oil prices and a surplus of gas have caused an improvement in the economics of automated projects. Meanwhile, in North America, human-operated drilling has greatly improved. Companies like Shell have chosen to scale back and even cancel many projects in which automated drilling would play a crucial role in developing thousands of wells.
The oil and gas industry is becoming more technologically advanced every day. As automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics improve, it may be increasingly tempting to employ automatic means to accomplish industry goals. The degree to which a task is automated is referred to as levels of automation (LOA). The most comprehensive list was developed by Thomas B. Sheridan and W. L. Verplank. Levels of automation range from complete human control to complete computer control.
The productivity index is a measure of the well potential or ability to produce and is a commonly measured well property1. The symbol J is commonly used to express the productivity index; as well as, being the preferred symbol by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The productivity index is the ratio of the total liquid surface flowrate to the pressure drawdown at the midpoint of the producing interval. A well is producing 1000 STB/D of liquid with a pressure drop of 500 psi would have a J 2 STB/D/psi. A subsurface pressure gauge is used to determine the static pressure Pe after a sufficient shut-in period and also the flowing bottom-hole pressure, Pw, after the well has flowed at a stabilized rate for a sufficient period of time.