Design of flow control devices in steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) completion Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017, The Author(s). Commercialization of the steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) process has made recovery of heavy oil/bitumen possible in a number of reservoirs hindered by hydrocarbon immobility. However, the economics of this process are highly sensitive to the efficiency of steam creation, delivery, and use, with a successful and unsuccessful SAGD well pair often separated by how effectively thermal inefficiencies can be mitigated in the flow profiles of steam injection and/or in emulsion recovery. To improve flow profiles, Albertan SAGD completions have experimented with the addition of flow control devices (FCDs). These completion tools have historically been used to regulate liquid inflow across long producing laterals, adding a variable pressure drop along the lateral to improve the conformance of hydrocarbon production and delay water breakthrough; within SAGD completions, FCDs find novel use to force a more even flow distribution of steam in the injector and a thermally dependent inflow profile in the producer to maximize recovery of heavy oil/bitumen. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of different FCD designs, discussing their respective methods of regulation, the fluid-adaptive behavior of “autonomous” FCDs, operational strengths and weaknesses of different commercial offerings, and suggestions on how to use existing pressure loss models for FCDs and apply them to the non-traditional application of regulating SAGD flow profiles, both for equipment sizing and estimation of pressure loss/flow rates across the device. From this work, it is proposed that use of autonomous FCDs in the production lateral are of greater value than use of flow control in the injector; however maximum benefits are achieved by coupling simple orifice-style FCDs in the injector lateral with autonomous, large flow path (non-orifice) FCDs capable of controlling steam flash events in the production well.

author list (cited authors)

  • Banerjee, S., & Hascakir, B.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • October 2017