Emulsification and Emulsion Flow in Thermal Recovery Operations with a Focus on SAGD Operations A Critical Review

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is a thermal hydrocarbon recovery method by which
    extra-heavy oil is produced through steam injection and bitumen heating. The presence of
    emulsions in the produced fluid has been detected from the very beginning of SAGD
    deployment. However, this phenomenon is still not fully understood. This paper reviews some
    significant aspects of emulsification and emulsion flow in SAGD operations. Such includes
    downhole emulsification mechanisms, effect of natural emulsifiers in the emulsion stability,
    different types of emulsions, emulsion characteristics in terms of viscosity, droplet size
    distribution, stability, features of continuous and dispersed phases, interactive effects of
    downhole conditions (e.g., pressure, temperature, and rock properties) and other relevant
    parameters. Additionally, the paper reviews currently available emulsion modelling techniques.
    A better understanding of emulsion flow is essential to designing more accurate models for
    SAGD production, testing sand control devices, and explaining the physics involved in SAGD
    operations. The focus of this paper is emulsification in thermal recovery methods, particularly insitu emulsification in the reservoir for SAGD operations.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International