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SAGD Downhole Flow Control

Industry Challenge

Operational experience in SAGD wells have shown that proper control of steam injection and production inflow can have a significant impact on the overall economics of a SAGD development.  Potential benefits include rapid and uniform steam chamber growth, improved subcool control along the length of the well, improved production rates, improved ultimate recovery and reduced steam-oil ratios.

However, in order to advance the use and effectiveness of flow control devices and methods in SAGD applications, a number of technical and economic questions need to be answered. For example, there is significant uncertainty in regards to:

  • The comparative costs and benefits of flow control devices and methods, including full life-cycle costs of these devices, impacts on surface facilities and impacts on the overall SAGD process;
  • The relative benefit of steam injection control versus production inflow control;
  • How these devices should be designed;
  • How overall well completions using these devices should be designed;
  • How wells using these devices should be operated;
  • The performance and reliability of these devices over the full life-cycle of the SAGD well pair;
  • The well intervention implications related to these devices; and
  • The capability of the available modelling and simulation tools to aid in the design and assessment of these devices.

How the JIP Helps

The SAGD Downhole Flow Control JIP was initiated in 2008 by C-FER Technologies in conjunction with several SAGD operators. The objective of the JIP is to advance and gain understanding of the experience, current state-of-the-art, and performance of downhole steam injection outflow control devices (OCDs) and production inflow control devices (ICDs) in SAGD applications. The JIP has two completed phases: Phase I focused on steam injection control devices while Phase II focused on production inflow devices. Phase III is expected to commence in 2016.

Phase I: Steam Injection Control

  • Completed in 2012

Work Programs

  • A state-of-the-art review of SAGD steam injection control devices and methods
  • A numerical assessment of the thermal-hydraulic behavior of various steam injection control completion alternatives that specifically targeted key factors that may affect performance (well depth, horizontal length, device type, etc.).  To complete this assessment, a thermal-hydraulic coupled wellbore-reservoir simulator was developed.

Phase II: Production Inflow Control

  • Completed in 2015

Work Programs

  • An investigation of the performance of an ICD designed for the operating conditions and control objectives of SAGD production wells. This was done using analytical and CFD modelling.
  • Advancement the Phase I thermal-hydraulic coupled wellbore-reservoir simulator into a desktop version that the participants can use.
  • An update on the state-of-the-art review, focusing on both steam injection and production inflow control devices and methods.
  • Project meetings and workshops to provide participants with the opportunity to share their experience related to SAGD downhole flow control.

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