Abstract

Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is an important method of heavy oil production, and the solvent vapor extraction (VAPEX) process is also an economically feasible, technically reliable, and environmentally friendly in situ heavy oil recovery method. In this paper, a microscopic visual flooding device was used to conduct seven groups of visual flooding experiments, including hot water, steam, liquid solvent and vapor solvent, at different temperatures. It can be directly observed that the residual oil in the hot water swept area is generally distributed in “spots”, “strips” and “clusters” of varying sizes. The residual oil after steam flooding generally has a “cluster” distribution, the residual oil after liquid solvent flooding has a “film” distribution, and there is only a little “spot” residual oil distributed after solvent vapor flooding. Additionally, we found that the sweep efficiency and displacement efficiency of hot water, steam and solvent increase with increasing temperature, and the sweep efficiency of hot water is higher than that of steam and liquid solvent. Vapor solvent has the greatest recovery factor, reaching approximately 90%. The experimental results hint at the future development trend of solvent injection and support the foundation of more general applications pertaining to the sustainable production of unconventional petroleum resources.

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