Chapter 20: Collaborative Methods in Enhanced Cold Heavy-oil Production
Larry Lines, Hossein Agharbarati, P. F. Daley, Joan Embleton, Mathew Fay, Tony Settari, Fereidoon Vasheghani, Tingge Wang, Albert Zhang, Xun Qi, Douglas Schmitt, 2010. "Collaborative Methods in Enhanced Cold Heavy-oil Production", Heavy Oils: Reservoir Characterization and Production Monitoring, Satinder Chopra, Laurence R. Lines, Douglas R. Schmitt, Michael L. Batzle
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Heavy-oil reservoirs are an abundant hydrocarbon resource, which will in all probability comprise a significant portion of long-term world oil production. The world’s heavy-oil reserves have been estimated to be approximately 6 trillion barrels — roughly equivalent to conventional reserves. The largest heavy-oil reserves are in Canada, Venezuela, the United States, Norway, Indonesia, China, Russia, and Kuwait.
Cold production is a low-energy production method that has been widely used in Western Canada. Although the primary recovery rates are relatively modest, cold production of heavy oil requires much less energy than hot production methods such as cyclic steam injection (CSS) or steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), and as a consequence it results in much less hydrocarbon use in the recovery stage.
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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.