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Analytical Modeling of Emulsion Flow at the Edge of Steam Chamber During SAGD Process Open Access


Other title
Emulsion Flow
Analytical Modeling
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mojarad, Mahdie
Supervisor and department
Hassan Dehghanpour (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Leung, Juliana (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Apel, Derek (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Dehghanpour, Hassan (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Different models have been proposed to describe two- and three-phase flow at the edge of a steam chamber developed during a SAGD process. However, two-dimensional scaled SAGD experiments and recent micro model visualizations demonstrate that steam-condensate is primarily in the form of microbubbles dispersed in the oil phase (water-in-oil emulsion). Therefore, the challenging question is: Can multiphase Darcy equation be used to describe the transport of water as a discontinuous phase? Furthermore, the physical impact of water as a continuous phase or as microbubbles on oil flow can be different. Water microbubbles increase the apparent oil viscosity, while a continuous water phase decreases the oil relative permeability. Investigating the impact of these two phenomena on oil mobility at the steam chamber edge and on overall oil production rate during a SAGD process requires development of relevant mathematical models that is the focus of this thesis. In this thesis, we develop an analytical model for lateral expansion of steam chamber that accounts for formation and transport of water-in-oil emulsion both in single and two phase flow. It is assumed that emulsion is generated due to condensation of steam, which is penetrated into the heated bitumen. The emulsion concentration decreases from a maximum value at the chamber interface to zero far from the interface. The oil viscosity is affected by both temperature gradient due to heat conduction and microbubble concentration gradient due to emulsification. We conduct a sensitivity analysis by using the measured data from scaled SAGD experiments. The sensitivity analysis shows that by increasing the value of m (temperature viscosity parameter), the effect of emulsification on oil flow rate decreases. It also shows that the effect of temperature on oil mobility is much stronger than that of emulsion. We also compare the model predictions with field production data from several SAGD operations. Butler’s model overestimates oil production rate due to single-phase assumption, while the proposed model presents more accurate oil flow rate supporting the fact that emulsification effect should be included in the SAGD analysis.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Mojarad, M., & Dehghanpour, H. (2016). Analytical Modeling of Emulsion Flow at the Edge of a Steam Chamber During a Steam-Assisted-Gravity-Drainage Process. SPE Journal.Dehghanpour, H., Li, G., & Mojarad, M. (2014, June). Emulsion Flow at the Edge of a Steam Chamber. In SPE Heavy Oil Conference-Canada. Society of Petroleum Engineers.

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