Solar generated steam injection in heavy oil reservoirs

Afşar, Cansu
Turkey is one of the countries having mostly heavy oil reservoirs with 10-15˚ API gravity. Due to high amount of residual oil in the reservoir, thermal injection methods are evaluated to increase recovery in south-east of Turkey. However, the fuel cost of steam generation, that represents 60% of the total project cost, is a major challenge for companies. Combination of solar generated steam technology and heavy oil recovery techniques encourage companies to reduce the operation costs. This solar aided steam injection system has already proven its capability to replace natural gas systems up to 80%, depending on the steam requirement and weather data. In this study, a pilot scale area was selected in order to present an evaluation whether the solar generated steam injection is technically and economically feasible in the heavy oil reservoirs. Operational data such as injection rate, steam temperature and steam quality were determined by using published studies. Continuous steam injection together with natural gas burner back-up system was used when direct normal insolation (DNI) is intermittent to maintain required steam during troublesome climates, nights and winter seasons. After solar collector system was designed in Transient System Simulation Tool (TRNSYS) and combined with the steam injection method, economic analyses were also carried out to determine if the solar thermal technology is feasible for the candidate pilot field. Results indicated that existing DNI of the selected region was not high enough to maintain the continuous steam injection. It caused a requirement of natural gas back up system. Economic analyses of combined system indicated that fuel saving cannot compensate the initial cost of solar project with current oil price in 30 years period.


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Citation Formats
C. Afşar, “Solar generated steam injection in heavy oil reservoirs,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.