SAGD drilling parameters evolve for oil sands

Optimized drilling procedures, incorporating improved directional drilling and ranging systems and slant drilling, allow operators to use steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) wells for recovering bitumen. Future possibilities include alternative wellbore patterns and architectures.Oil sands are about 10-12% bitumen, 80-85% unconsolidated mineral matrix, and 4-6% water. Although near-surface deposits in Alberta are surface-mined down to about 75 m, bitumen deposits deeper than 75 m require in situ thermal recovery techniques, chiefly SAGD and cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). Bitumen viscosity is a function of temperature. Canada's Athabasca reservoir sands are about 11° C. with v...

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