Chapter 18: The Effects of Cold Production on Seismic Response
Fereidoon Vasheghani, Joan Embleton, Larry Lines, 2010. "The Effects of Cold Production on Seismic Response", Heavy Oils: Reservoir Characterization and Production Monitoring, Satinder Chopra, Laurence R. Lines, Douglas R. Schmitt, Michael L. Batzle
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Cold production is a nonthermal recovery mechanism in which a progressive cavity pump simultaneously produces oil, water, gas, and sand. This extraction decreases the reservoir pressure to values less than bubble point; therefore, gas comes out of solution and forms a foam-like material called foamy oil. On the other hand, because of sand production, high-porosity and high-permeability channels known as wormholes are created with diameters ranging from 10 cm to as much as 1 m (Tremblay et al., 1999).
It is very important to avoid drilling into the worm-holes; therefore, petroleum engineers need to know the location of wormholes and the extent of depleted zones. Fortunately, the reservoir undergoes significant changes during cold production that we can monitor using seismic information. In this modeling study, we evaluate the influence of changes in porosity and foamy-oil effects caused by cold production on seismic data.
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Heavy oil is an important global resource with reserves comparable to those of conventional oil. As conventional resources get thinner, attention is being focused on heavy oil and bitumen, which hold the promise of becoming useful fuels. Already more than 1 million barrels of oil are being produced from the oil sands in Canada; heavy oil represents half of California’s crude oil production in the United States and is a major production in Mexico. With demand for global energy soaring, heavy oil will undoubtedly be an important resource to be exploited in a big way in the near future.
The SEG Development and Production Committee held its Heavy Oil Forum in Edmonton, Alberta, in July 2007. This was a joint research forum cosponsored by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) and SEG and hosted by the University of Alberta. Preceding the forum, a field trip took the participants to the vast Athabasca Oil Sands region where they observed the outcrops, open pit mining, and steam injection operations, followed by a tour of the steam-assisted gravity drainage projects. Topics of the well-attended forum included the definition of heavy oil; where is heavy oil found; how it is produced; heavy-oil reservoir characterization; fluid and rock properties; electrical, tilt, and gravity techniques; borehole, surface seismic measurements; and microseismicity.