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Experimental and numerical analysis of dry forward combustion with diverse well configuration

In situ combustion is a thermal recovery technique where energy is generated by a combustion front that is propagated along the reservoir by air injection. Most of the previously conducted studies report thermal and fluid dynamics aspects of the process. Modeling in situ combustion process requires extensive knowledge of reservoir data as well as reaction kinetics data. Unfortunately, limited kinetic data are available on the rates and the nature of partial oxidation reactions and the high-temperature combustion reactions of crude oils and their saturate, aromatic, resin, and asphaltene (SARA) fractions. Moreover, the impact of such data on the modeling of the in situ combustion process has not been investigated thoroughly. Thus, we modeled in situ combustion experiments conducted on a three-dimensional semiscaled physical model that represents one-fourth of a repeated five spot pattern. In all experiments a vertical injector is employed whereas, both vertical and horizontal producers have been installed to recover two different crude oils (heavy and medium). Several locations for the producers have been tried while keeping the length of the wells constant: vertical injector-vertical producer, vertical injector-horizontal side producer, and vertical injector-horizontal diagonal producer. In these experiments horizontal side producers performed better than the others. We first simulated the experiments by incorporating a kinetic model that is based on grouping the products of cracking into six pseudo components as heavy oil, medium oil, light oil, two noncondensable gases, and coke using a commercial thermal simulator (CMG's STARS). Five chemical reactions were considered: cracking of heavy oil to light oil and coke, heavy oil burning, light oil burning, and coke burning. Most of the experiments were history matched successfully with the exception of ones where a diagonal horizontal producer was used. We then repeated the simulations using SARA kinetic parameters and observed that all matches were somewhat improved.