Technical Paper: SAGD Real-Time Well Production Measurements Using a Nucleonic Multiphase FlowMeter: Successful Field Trial at Suncor Firebag

Society: World Heavy Oil Congress
Paper Number: 11-514
Presentation Date: 2011

The SAGD process presents one of the most challenging environments for flow rate metering in the industry. Produced fluids are often characterized by unstable flow regimes, high-temperatures, emulsified foamy oil, HS2 presence and abrasive sand particles. A test separator with additional equipment such as watercut meter, Coriolis and orifice plate is typically used to meter SAGD well production. Many limitations in the test separator equipment compromise the accuracy of the flow measurements. Also, because several well pairs are connected into one test separator, only periodic flow measurements are obtained for each individual well. Replacing the conventional equipment with a multiphase flowmeter (MPFM) could bring benefits such as significant reduction in surface footprint and continuous well flow measurements that allow SAGD process optimization in real time. The innovative Nucleonic MPFM, based on a Venturi and a dual energy nuclear fraction meter, has technically overcome the challenge of inaccurate SAGD well production metering. Since 2007, the technology has been field tested in several projects in western Canada. In late 2009, a new field test was conducted at the Suncor Firebag facilities. The test was designed to demonstrate the accuracy of the MPFM versus the conventional testing equipment and to introduce some new developments that overcame various limitations identified on previous field trials. This paper presents the latest innovations, introduced to adapt the Nucleonic MPFM to the SAGD environment, which were validated during the latest field trial at Firebag during October and December of 2009.

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