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High Temperature ICD Characterization Loop

Full-scale testing of Inflow Control Devices (ICDs)

The Industry Challenge:

Flow Control Device (FCD) technology has revolutionized Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD). When used correctly FCDs can lower Steam Oil Ratios (SORs) and increase production. This improves SAGD economics and greatly lowers Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

The challenge for Operators is knowing which type of FCD technology is best for their wells. To choose the right technology, it’s important to first understand the complex, multiphase hydraulic performance of FCDs under SAGD representative conditions. Operators can use this information in their coupled thermal-hydraulic reservoir models to predict their long-term well performance, and ensure they make the right decision.

The Solution:

C-FER has designed and built an unique apparatus called the ICD Characterization Loop. It’s the only one of its kind in the world. Using this flow loop C-FER can test the true hydraulic performance of FCDs under real-world thermal operating conditions. We can simulate single-phase testing (with oil, water or nitrogen), multiphase testing (with combinations of oil, water, and gas) – as well as thermal operating conditions including unsaturated, low subcool, saturated, and multiphase testing using water, steam and Non Condensable Gases (NCGs). C-FER can tell Operators how FCDs will perform in their wells, and FCD Vendors where their technology can be best deployed (and potentially how it can be improved). C-FER sets the Industry Standard for thermal FCD testing.

Tying it all Together:

Using the ICD Characterization Loop together with other in-house capabilities (such as our ICD Erosion Apparatus),C-FER can test the long-term performance of FCDs over their whole operational life. Understanding the reliability and longevity of FCD technology is key, especially in an environment as challenging as SAGD.

How to Learn More:

As an independent applied research laboratory C-FER can offer solutions to many different groups:

  1. ICD Vendors: contact C-FER and ask about how we can help you test and optimize your technology
  2. SAGD (or thermal) Operators: contact C-FER and ask about:
    • how you can find out which FCD is best for your thermal asset
    • how you can possibly interact with some of our Industry partners (other SAGD Operators) and engage in shared learnings and active collaboration
  3. Anyone who’s interested in understanding more about the benefits of FCDs for SAGD: contact C-FER for more information


Talk to us about
Flow Control Optimization


System Variables Operational Specifications
Minimum Maximum
ICD Inlet Pressure 690 kPag
(100 psig)
6,378 kPag
(925 psig)
ICD Inlet Temperature 20°C
ICD Inlet Liquid Volume Flow Rate 0 m³/d
(0 bbl/d)
25 m³/d
(157 bbl/d)
ICD Inlet Nitrogen Gas Flow 0 kg/min
(0 lb/min)
1 kg/min
(2.2 lb/min)
ICD Inlet Steam Fraction (by mass) 0% 10%
ICD Differential Pressure 0 kPa
(0 psig)
1,034 kPa
(150 psig)
Water Cut 0% 100%




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A wholly owned subsidiary of Alberta Innovates