Pacific Section AAPG, SPE and SEPM Joint Technical Conference

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Modelling Of The Steam Chamber Growth During SAGD


This paper presents an integrated workflow for the interpretation of 4D seismic data to monitor the steam chamber growth during the steam-assisted gravity drainage recovery process (SAGD). Superimposed on reservoir heterogeneities of geological origin, many factors interact during thermal production of heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs, which complicate the interpretation of 4D seismic data: changes in oil viscosity, fluid saturations, pore pressure, and so on. The workflow is based on the generation of a geological model inspired by a real field case of the McMurray formation in the Athabasca region. The approach consists of three steps: 1. Construction of an initial static model at the field scale, 2. Simulation of thermal production of heavy oil with two coupled fluid-flow and geomechanical models, 3. Computation of synthetic seismic data at different stages of steam injection. Production scenarios are run to obtain pore pressure, temperature, steam and oil saturations on a detailed reservoir grid around a well pair at several stages of production. Direct coupling with a geomechanical model produces volumetric strain and mean effective stress maps as additional properties. These physical parameters are used to compute new seismic velocities and density for each stage of production. A new synthetic seismic image of the reservoir is generated for each stage of production. The impacts of heterogeneities, production conditions and reservoir properties are evaluated for several simulation scenarios from the beginning of steam injection to 3 years of production. Results show that short-term seismic monitoring can help in anticipating early changes in steam injection strategy. In return, long-term periods allow the behaviour of the steam chamber to be monitored laterally and in the upper part of the reservoir. This study demonstrates the added value of 4D seismic data in the context of steam-assisted heavy oil production.