In collaboration with Devon Canada (now CNRL), we developed a tool to quantitatively risk-rank SAGD wells for subsurface barrier integrity based on identified damage mechanisms and associated, readily available influential attributes or proxy attributes.

Such a tool can aid significantly in identifying wells at a higher risk of casing and cement sheath damage or failure; the specific mechanism and barrier at risk; the associated diagnostic, mitigation steps and resources to deploy to achieve...

Flow control devices are used in SAGD wells to balance the oil inflow along horizontal wells and mitigate unwanted fluid breakthrough.

The newest generation of flow control devices for SAGD wells, Autonomous Inflow Control Valves (AICVs), can:

  • optimize oil production;
  • reduce SOR; and
  • significantly restrict the inflow of unwanted fluids.

To assess the performance of AICVs, we conducted testing in a full-scale high temperature laboratory flow loop that replicates SAGD production conditions....

The Industry Challenge

A major thermal operator contacted C-FER to investigate the effects of erosion on Inflow Control Devices (ICDs) and how their performance may change over +20 years in a SAGD well.   The long-term performance of these ICDs heavily influences the economics of SAGD production and is a key design consideration for all thermal operators.  Unfortunately, erosion mechanisms (and erosion testing) can be quite complex, and trying to evaluate erosion under the high temperature...

The Industry Challenge

Several Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) operators have observed flow instabilities in their Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) produced wells, commonly resulting in the complete loss of fluid flow to surface. In some wells these instabilities appear without any apparent precursor signs or indications of a potential flow disturbance, while in other wells there are clear indications of gas entering the pump (e.g. evident by flow and current fluctuations).

In many cases...

Course Overview:

This course will provide attendees with an overview of the considerations, key factors, industry guidelines and practices, examples, and field experience related to the design and integrity of thermal recovery wells.

The objective of this course is to review the:

  • Thermal well design process, industry regulations and recommended practices (IRPs);
  • Key material properties and damage mechanisms of casing and liner tubular steels, wellbore cements, and formations;
  • Casing and liner...

Course Overview:

This course will provide attendees with an overview of wellbore thermal-hydraulics (i.e. coupled thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid flow).  Additionally, they will gain a greater understanding of technologies and analytical methods currently for SAGD thermal-hydraulic applications.

The objective of this course is to:

  • Provide an overview of the physics and thermodynamics associated with the design and performance of the injection and production wellbores in these...

The Industry Challenge:

Geothermal energy is a proven “green” energy technology in areas of the world where high temperature hydrothermal sources are close to the earth’s surface, such as Iceland, New Zealand and California. 

These resources, however, are scarce and rarely located near centres of major power consumption, limiting their impact on the global power generation need. Some attempts have been made to develop Enhanced Geothermal where there are no natural high temperature sources near...


This paper highlights how numerical simulation can be used as a tool to optimize the start-up phase of a SAGD process.During start-up, the main objective is to create a uniform communication path between the two wells by first circulating steam in both the injector and the producer well and then imposing a differential pressure between them.The dynamics of this process leads to important temperature and pressure transients that should be carefully considered when developing a start-up...


Several operators have recently launched a new industry-wide initiative on sand control reliability. The aim of the initiative is to gain a better understanding of Sand Control Completion (SCC) systems, equipment performance, and reliability in a variety of applications. It focuses on assisting the industry to improve SCC performance and service life through sharing of reliability and failure information, operational practices, and other pertinent data. One of the key challenges in...


A comparative risk assessment was conducted to evaluate the risk associated with a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) well blowout. The main comparison was between an isolated (double barrier) completion and an open (single barrier) completion used in conjunction with an effective blowout response plan. The target application was a SAGD pilot project in the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela.

The overall approach for the risk assessment included the investigation of the blowout flowing...