Research Papers

A New Mathematical Model to Understand the Convective Heat Transfer Mechanism in Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage Process

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhaoxiang Zhang

MOE Key Laboratory of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum,
Beijing 102249, China
e-mail: zhangzhaoxiang2008@126.com

Huiqing Liu

MOE Key Laboratory of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum,
Beijing 102249, China
e-mail: 540213951@qq.com

Xiaohu Dong

MOE Key Laboratory of Petroleum Engineering,
China University of Petroleum,
Beijing 102249, China
e-mail: donghu820@163.com

Huanli Jiang

Drilling Company 3 of Sinopec Zhongyuan
Petroleum Engineering Co., Ltd.,
Puyang 457000, China
e-mail: sdqh119@163.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received October 7, 2016; final manuscript received January 21, 2017; published online July 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Giulio Lorenzini.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 10(1), 011006 (Jul 06, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: TSEA-16-1287; doi: 10.1115/1.4036789 History: Received October 07, 2016; Revised January 21, 2017

Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) process has been an optimized method to explore heavy oil reservoirs in the world. The oil viscosity reduction and gravity force near the interface of steam–chamber are the main development mechanisms. In classical models, conductive heat transfer plays the only or dominant role in the heat transmission from high-temperature steam to low-temperature oil sands. Although some mathematical studies have paid attention to the convective heat transfer, the role of heat transfer by flowable oil normal to the steam–chamber interface has been given little attention. In SAGD, the viscosity of bitumen can be reduced by several orders of magnitude by the release of latent heat from injected steam. In this study, an analytical model is developed for the heat transfer process induced by flowable oil. Also, in order to accurately simulate the oil viscosity characteristics in steam–chamber, a correlation between oil viscosity and pressure is proposed. Results indicate that the oil mobility plays an important role on the flow normal to interface when the distance is smaller than 6 m. Even under the most extreme circumstances (μw = 0.1127 cp), the flowing of oil normal to steam–chamber interface also cannot be ignored. Comparing to Irani and Ghannadi model, it can be easy to draw the conclusion that the new model consists with the underground test facility (UTF) field data much better. This new analytical model will benefit to understanding the convective heat transfer mechanism in SAGD process.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of SAGD process

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Fig. 2

The results of heat fluxes: (a) the results of conductive heat flux, (b) the results of convective heat flux, and (c) the results of total heat flux

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Fig. 8

Three-dimensional gravity drainage experiment apparatus

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Fig. 9

The temperature-field characteristics in SAGD experiment: (a) the result after 130 min, (b) the result after 230 min, and (c) the result after 320 min

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Fig. 10

The temperature distribution and pressure distribution in SAGD experiment

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Fig. 11

The viscosity difference (m = 3.6, n = 2.075)

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Fig. 3

The results of the mobility of oil and water phase: (a) the results of oil and water mobility and (b) the mobility difference (λo/λw) between oil and water

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Fig. 4

Effect of oil relative permeability

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Fig. 5

Effect of the advancing front of steam–chamber velocity

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Fig. 6

Effect of constant m

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Fig. 7

Effect of constant n



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