Experimental studies on the use of chemical additives for steam-assisted gravity drainage
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Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is a mature technique for bitumen recovery from oil sand reservoirs; however, it is an energy intensive process that requires large amounts of steam to heat and mobilize the bitumen. The purpose of this work was to find ways to improve SAGD performance using chemical additives. Key mechanisms were identified, a suite of high-temperature additive characterization tests was developed, and promising additives were tested in porous media. Based on the results, experimenters concluded that oil-water interfacial tension reduction held the most potential for improved recovery. A preliminary field-scale study was attempted using numerical simulation, which showed that wettability alteration and oil-water interfacial tension reduction had a positive impact on SAGD performance.