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Heavy oil

API gravity
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11516

A specific gravity scale developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) for measuring the
relativedensity of various petroleum liquids, expressed in degrees. API gravity is gradated in degrees on
ahydrometer instrument and was designed so that most values would fall between 10° and 70° APIgravity.
The arbitrary formula used to obtain this effect is: API gravity = (141.5/SG at 60°F) - 131.5, where SG is
the specific gravity of the fluid.

biodegradation
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 1740

The process by which complex molecules are broken down by micro-organisms to produce simpler
compounds. Biodegradation can be either aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen). The
potential for biodegradation is commonly measured on drilling-fluid products to ensure that they do not
persist in the environment. A variety of tests exist to assess biodegradation.
See: aerobic, anaerobic

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11496

The breakdown of medium-weight crude oil by microbial organisms into heavy and light components.
When the light components, typically methane, escape to the surface, the heavy ends are left behind.
Biodegradation gradually raises oil viscosity, reduces API gravity, increases asphaltene content and
increases concentration of certain metals and sulfur.

bitumen
1. n. [Geology] ID: 64

Naturally-occurring, inflammable organic matter formed from kerogen in the process


of petroleumgeneration that is soluble in carbon bisulfide. Bitumen includes hydrocarbons such
as asphalt andmineral wax. Typically solid or nearly so, brown or black, bitumen has a distinctive
petroliferous odor. Laboratory dissolution with organic solvents allows determination of the amount of
bitumen in samples, an assessment of source rock richness.
See: asphalt, generation, geochemistry, hydrocarbon, kerogen, petroleum, petroleum system, source rock, tar sand

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11497

A designation for a hydrocarbon fluid with a gravity of 10° API or lower, based upon the classification of
the US Department of Energy.

blended crude
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11475

A mixture of crude oils, blended in the pipeline to create a crude with specific physical properties. Because
heavy and extra-heavy crudes or bitumens cannot flow from the field to the refinery in their original state
and at normal surface temperatures, they are blended with lighter crude oils primarily to reduce viscosity,
thereby enabling transportation to a refinery. A secondary objective may be to provide a blended crude oil
that has significantly higher value than the raw heavy crude. The blend is usually constructed so that the
value of the overall blended volume is greater than the summed value of the initial volumes of individual
heavy and light crudes.

calcium naphthenate
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11476

A calcium soap of naphthenic acids in crude oil. Naphthenates are formed through interaction of
naphthenic acids in crude oil with metal ions such as calcium and sodium. Insoluble in either the oil or
water phase, and with a density between that of oil and water, naphthenates tend to accumulate at the
oil/water interface and act as surfactants to help stabilize emulsions. Naphthenates can also be deposited
as solids in pipelines, and can cause flow-assurance problems.

CO2 injection
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11479

An enhanced oil recovery method in which carbon dioxide (CO2) is injected into a reservoir to
increaseproduction by reducing oil viscosity and providing miscible or partially miscible displacement of
the oil.

compositional fluid analysis


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11482

Any of a variety of analytical techniques carried out to determine the composition of a crude oil by
breaking it down into basic chemical components. The hydrocarbon components are usually identified by
carbon number fractions: C1, C2, C3, etc. up to Cn, where the limiting carbon number, n, is defined by the
particular analytical technique. These analytical techniques include, but are not limited to, gas or liquid
chromatography, cryogenic and flash distillations, true boiling-point distillations, structural fluid
characterizations such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon analysis, SARA analysis, sonic testing and
other crude oil assay methods. Other nonhydrocarbon components can also be identified, such as
nitrogen, heavy metals, sulfur and salts.

chemical injection
2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11498

A general term for injection processes that use special chemical solutions to improve oil recovery,
remove formation damage, clean blocked perforations or formation layers, reduce or inhibit corrosion,
upgrade crude oil, or address crude oil flow-assurance issues. Injection can be administered continuously,
in batches, in injection wells, or at times in production wells.
See: chemical flooding

cogeneration
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11508

The process of generating two or more forms of energy from a single energy source. For example, in a
heavy oil field, turbines are often used to generate electricity while their waste heat is removed to
generate steam. Other alternatives exist, with turbines being run by burning gas or crude oil. Alternatively,
the primary heat source can be used to generate steam directly at extremely high pressureand
temperature, with the steam being run through a turbine to generate electricity before the steam is
distributed to injection wells.

cracking
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11509

The process of splitting a large heavy hydrocarbon molecule into smaller, lighter components. The
process involves very high temperature and pressure and can involve a chemical catalyst to improve the
process efficiency.

CHOPS
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11477

The acronym for cold heavy oil production with sand.


See: cold heavy oil production with sand

cold heavy oil production with sand


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11478

A non-thermal primary process for producing heavy oil, also called CHOPS. In this method,
continuousproduction of sand improves the recovery of heavy oil from the reservoir. There is both
a theoreticalbasis and physical evidence that, in many cases, wormholes are formed in the
unconsolidated sandreservoir, thereby increasing oil productivity. In most cases, an artificial lift system is
used to lift the oil with sand.

CSS
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11521

Abbreviation for cyclic steam stimulation.


Better known as cyclic steam injection.
Synonyms: cyclic steam injection

cloud point
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 1817

The temperature at which a solution of a surfactant or glycol starts to form micelles (molecular
agglomerates), thus becoming cloudy. This behavior is characteristic of nonionic surfactants, which are
often soluble at low temperatures but "cloud out" at some point as the temperature is raised. Glycols
demonstrating this behavior are known as "cloud-point glycols" and are used as shale inhibitors. The cloud
point is affected by salinity, being generally lower in more saline fluids.

See: glycol, polyalkalene glycol, surfactant, thermally activated mud emulsion

3. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11499

The temperature at which wax crystals first start to form in a crude oil. Wax appearance temperature
(WAT) and wax precipitation temperature (WPT) are other synonyms.

cold production
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11480

Nonthermal primary methods of heavy oil production, which include technologies such as productionwith
horizontal wells, multilaterals, CHOPS, water or gas injection.

cyclic steam injection


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11176

A method of thermal recovery in which a well is injected with steam and then subsequently put back
onproduction. A cyclic steam-injection process includes three stages. The first stage is injection, during
which a slug of steam is introduced into the reservoir. The second stage, or soak period, requires that the
well be shut in for several days to allow uniform heat distribution to thin the oil. Finally, during the third
stage, the thinned oil is produced through the same well. The cycle is repeated as long as oilproduction is
profitable.
Cyclic steam injection is used extensively in heavy-oil reservoirs, tar sands, and in some cases to improve
injectivity prior to steamflood or in-situ combustion operations.
Cyclic steam injection is also called steam soak or the huff 憂� puff (slang) method.
See: enhanced oil recovery, hot waterflooding, in-situ combustion, steamflood

diluent
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11483

A hydrocarbon fluid that is used to dilute heavy oil and reduce its viscosity for easier transportation.
Generally a distillation tower cut such as naphtha is used as for heavy oil dilution and transportation. The
added diluent may be recovered at the destination using distillation and the diluent may be subsequently
pumped back for blending.

dry combustion
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11180

An in-situ combustion technique in which only air or oxygen-enriched air mixtures are injected into
aformation. A drawback related to dry combustion is the highly corrosive and noxious combustion products
that are produced.
See: dry forward combustion, wet combustion

dry forward combustion


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11183

A type of in-situ combustion in which the burning front moves in the same direction as the injected air. As
air is continuously supplied at the injection well, the fire ignited at this location moves toward
theproduction wells.

During forward combustion, the temperature behind the burning front is high, indicating a great amount of
heat stored in the formation matrix. The injected gas heats on contact with the matrix and recovers only a
small amount of the heat, with considerable losses to the surrounding formations. Another drawback of dry
forward combustion is the presence of a highly viscous oil zone surrounding theproduction well. The fluid
in this zone remains at the original reservoir temperature and its forwarddisplacement by the heated oil is
normally difficult.

See: dry combustion, enhanced oil recovery, liquid blocking, reverse combustion, thermal recovery, wet combustion

electric submersible pump


1. n. [Well Completions] ID: 2642

An artificial-lift system that utilizes a downhole pumping system that is electrically driven. The pump
typically comprises several staged centrifugal pump sections that can be specifically configured to suit
the production andwellbore characteristics of a given application. Electrical submersible pump systems
are a common artificial-lift method, providing flexibility over a range of sizes and output flow capacities.

See: artificial lift

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11501

An electric downhole pump used in heavy oil production that is designed with vane and fin configurations
to accommodate frictional losses and pump efficiencies caused by heavy oil viscosity.

emulsion
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 1883

A dispersion of one immiscible liquid into another through the use of a chemical that reduces the interfacial
tension between the two liquids to achieve stability. Two emulsion types are used as muds: (1) oil-in-water
(or direct) emulsion, known as an "emulsion mud" and (2) water-in-oil (or invert) emulsion, known as an
"invert emulsion mud." The former is classified as a water-base mud and the latter as an oil-base mud.
See: amides, amines, calcium chloride, coalescence, colloid, creaming, demulsifier, drilling fluid,electrical stability test, emulsion

mud, external phase, formation damage, HLB number, hydrophile-lipophile balance number, internal phase, invert-emulsion oil

mud, invert-emulsion oil mud, oil-mud emulsifier, oil/water ratio, surface tension, water-in-oil emulsion, water-mud emulsifier

2. n. [Production Enhancement] ID: 11023

A type of damage in which there is a combination of two or more immiscible fluids, including gas, that will
not separate into individual components. Emulsions can form when fluid filtrates or injected fluids
and reservoir fluids (for example oil or brine) mix, or when the pH of the producing fluid changes, such as
after an acidizing treatment. Acidizing might change the pH from 6 or 7 to less than 4. Emulsions are
normally found in gravel packs and perforations, or inside the formation.
Most emulsions break easily when the source of the mixing energy is removed. However, some natural
and artificial stabilizing agents, such as surfactants and small particle solids, keep fluids emulsified.
Natural surfactants, created by bacteria or during the oil generation process, can be found in many waters
and crude oils, while artificial surfactants are part of many drilling, completion or stimulationfluids. Among
the most common solids that stabilize emulsions are
iron sulfide, paraffin, sand, silt,clay, asphalt, scale and corrosion products.
Emulsions are typically treated using mutual solvents.
See: asphaltenes, damage, fines migration

3. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11500

A dispersion of droplets of one liquid in another liquid with which it is incompletely miscible. Emulsions can
form in heavy oils that contain a significant amount of asphaltenes. The asphaltenes act as surfactants
with formation or treatment water. The resulting emulsion droplets have high-energy bonds creating a
very tight dispersion of droplets that is not easily separated. These surface-acting forces can create both
oil-in-water and/or water-in-oil emulsions. Such emulsions require temperature and chemical treating in
surface equipment in order to separate.

ESP
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11522

See: electric submersible pump

fire flooding
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11484

A method of thermal recovery in which a flame front is generated in the reservoir by igniting a fire at
thesandface of an injection well. Continuous injection of air or other gas mixture with high oxygen content
will maintain the flame front. As the fire burns, it moves through the reservoir toward production wells.
Heat from the fire reduces oil viscosity and helps vaporize reservoir water to steam. The steam, hot water,
combustion gas and a bank of distilled solvent all act to drive oil in front of the fire towardproduction wells.

See: in-situ combustion

five-spot
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11191

An injection pattern in which four input or injection wells are located at the corners of a square and
theproduction well sits in the center. The injection fluid, which is normally water, steam or gas, is injected
simultaneously through the four injection wells to displace the oil toward the central production well.

See: inverted five-spot

foamy oil
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11485

An oil-continuous foam that contains dispersed gas bubbles produced at the wellhead from heavy oil
reservoirs under solution-gas drive. The nature of the gas dispersions in oil distinguishes foamy oil
behavior from conventional heavy oil. The gas that comes out of solution in the reservoir does
notcoalesce into large gas bubbles nor into a continuous flowing gas phase. Instead it remains as small
bubbles entrained in the crude oil, keeping the effective oil viscosity low while providing expansive energy
that helps drive the oil toward the producing well. Foamy oil accounts for unusually highproduction in
heavy oil reservoirs under solution-gas drive.

fishbone wells
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11510

A series of multi-lateral well segments that trunk off a main horizontal well. The appearance closely
resembles the ribs of a fish skeleton trunking off the main backbon

flocculation
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 1923

A condition in which clays, polymers or other small charged particles become attached and form a
fragile structure, a floc. In dispersed clay slurries, flocculation occurs after mechanical agitation ceases
and the dispersed clay platelets spontaneously form flocs because of attractions between negative face
charges and positive edge charges.

Antonyms: deflocculation

See: aggregation, clay-water interaction, deflocculant, deflocculate, floc, flocculant, flocculate, saltwater flow, spud mud

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11502

The aggregation of small particles into larger particles. In the context of heavy oil, asphaltenes are known
to flocculate at the molecular level (before precipitation) and in the precipitated state. The extent of
asphaltene flocculation changes with fluid composition, temperature and pressure. For
precipitatedasphaltenes, flocculation is also affected by the shear environment.

heavy oil
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11486

Crude oil with high viscosity (typically above 10 cp), and high specific gravity. The API classifies heavy oil
as crudes with a gravity below 22.3� API. In addition to high viscosity and high specific gravity, heavy oils
typically have low hydrogen-to-carbon ratios, high asphaltene, sulfur, nitrogen, and heavy-metal content,
as well as higher acid numbers.

high temperature completions


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11487

Equipment or systems used for completion of wells in thermal production of heavy oil.

huff and puff


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11503

Slang for cyclic steam injection.

See: cyclic steam injection

hot waterflooding
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11172

A method of thermal recovery in which hot water is injected into a reservoir through specially distributed
injection wells. Hot waterflooding reduces the viscosity of the crude oil, allowing it to move more easily
toward production wells.

Hot waterflooding, also known as hot water injection, is typically less effective than a steam-injection
process because water has lower heat content than steam. Nevertheless, it is preferable under certain
conditions such as formation sensitivity to fresh water.

See: cyclic steam injection, enhanced oil recovery, in-situ combustion, steamflood

in-situ combustion
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11178

A method of thermal recovery in which fire is generated inside the reservoir by injecting a gas containing
oxygen, such as air. A special heater in the well ignites the oil in the reservoir and starts a fire.

The heat generated by burning the heavy hydrocarbons in place produces hydrocarbon cracking,
vaporization of light hydrocarbons and reservoir water in addition to the deposition of heavier
hydrocarbons known as coke. As the fire moves, the burning front pushes ahead a mixture of hot
combustion gases, steam and hot water, which in turn reduces oil viscosity and displaces oil
towardproduction wells.

Additionally, the light hydrocarbons and the steam move ahead of the burning front, condensing into
liquids, which adds the advantages of miscible displacement and hot waterflooding.

In-situ combustion is also known as fire flooding or fireflood.

See: cyclic steam injection, dry combustion, dry forward combustion, enhanced oil recovery, hot waterflooding, reverse

combustion, steamflood, wet combustion

in-situ fluid analysis


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11481

Analysis performed by downhole tools to determine physical and chemical properties of fluids. Typical
analyses that can be performed downhole include basic density and viscosity measurements at
sampling pressure and temperature.

inverted five-spot
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11192

An injection pattern in which four production wells are located at the corners of a square and the injector
well sits in the center.

See: five-spot

in-situ viscosity evaluation


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11488

Downhole measurement of fluid viscosity, typically performed either with logging tools based on nuclear
magnetic resonance (NMR) or with sampling tools such as formation testers.

liquid blocking
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11184

A phenomenon encountered during dry forward combustion in which an oil zone around the productionwell
cannot be pushed forward by the heated oil. The fluid located in this zone is still at the
originalreservoir temperature. Therefore, the fluid is still highly viscous and normally not mobile.

See: in-situ combustion, reverse combustion

oil sand
1. n. [Geology] ID: 359

A porous sand layer or sand body filled with oil.

See: gas sand, sandstone

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11489

In the context of heavy oil, an oil sand is a porous rock layer, often considered to be a mixture
of sand,clay, water, and bitumen. The term is predominantly used in Canada, where over 170 billion
barrels ofbitumen are estimated to be held by large oil sand deposits in the Athabasca, Cold Lake and
Peace River regions of Alberta. Oils from such sands may have a gravity of less than 10° API. Both in-
siturecovery and mining methods are used to extract the resource, with surface mining used for extracting
deposits of extra heavy oil at shallow depths of less than 100 m [328 ft].

pour point
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 2226

The lowest temperature (in °F or °C) at which a liquid remains pourable (meaning it still behaves as a
fluid). Oil or synthetic muds with high pour points may suffer from poor screening and excessivepressure,
surges in deepwater wells or other operations subject to low temperatures. In oils, the pour point is
generally increased by a high paraffin content. The pour point of liquid additives is an important
consideration for arctic drilling operations.

See: cuttings, diesel-oil mud, oil mud, paraffinic hydrocarbon

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11504

The temperature at which a fluid ceases to pour. The pour point for oil can be determined under protocols
set forth in the ASTM D-97 pour point test, in which the pour point is established as that temperature at
which oil ceases to flow when the sample is held at 90 degrees to the upright for five seconds. High pour
points usually occur in crude oils that have significant paraffin content. Paraffins (or waxes) will start
to precipitate as temperature decreases. At some point the precipitates accumulate to the point where the
fluid can no longer flow. This phenomenon can occur with light oils as well as heavy oils.
resin
1. n. [Drilling Fluids] ID: 2262

Organic material having low solubility. Resins are usually large and complex polymeric molecules with
noncrystalline structure and no distinct melting point or other definitive properties. Resins are used as
additives to improve filter cake, provide lubricity or stop lost circulation as LCM. Resins are derived
fromplant sources (such as pine trees), some are residues of manufacturing processes and some resins
are mined material.

See: bridging material, filter cake, gilsonite, hardness ion, ion exchange, lubricant, polymer

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11505

One of the four main components of petroleum, along with asphaltenes, aromatics and saturates (which
include waxes). Resins, aromatics and saturates are also known as maltenes. Resin adds to the stickiness
and viscosity of heavy oil.

reverse combustion
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11185

A type of in-situ combustion in which the burning front moves in an opposite direction to the injected air.
Initially, air is injected into a production well and the fire is ignited. After the burning front has advanced
some distance from the production well, air is supplied only near the injection well. The burning front
advances toward the injection well while the oil moves toward the production well.

Reverse combustion actually refers to dry reverse combustion and can be used to recover extremely
viscous oil or tar. In reverse combustion, the liquid blocking problem is solved because a hot zone is
maintained near the production well. Despite this advantage, this process is not as efficient as dry forward
combustion because lighter fractions of the oil are burned and heavier fractions are left behind the burning
front. Another drawback is the possibility of a spontaneous ignition in the injector well, which will divert air
for combustion near the injector well instead of near the producer.

See: dry combustion, dry forward combustion, enhanced oil recovery, thermal recovery, wet combustion

SAGD
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11490

Abbreviation for steam assisted gravity drainage.

See: steam assisted gravity drainage


steam
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11173

A two-phase mixture of liquid water and steam produced from a generator. The latent heat of vaporization
for steam is very high, and when the steam condenses in the reservoir a significant amount of heat is
transferred from the steam to the formation rock and fluids. Since steam is lighter and more mobile than
oil, gravity differences and channeling of the steam through the most permeable parts of the reservoir can
create sweep-efficiency problems during steam-injection processes.

To increase sweep efficiency, there are two categories of improvements. The first is operational changes
such as selective completion of injector wells, fracturing operations and constructing horizontal wells, and
the second is the use of additives in the steam. For example, water-soluble surfactants modify interfacial
properties of the oil-water system, and foams reduce steam mobility.

See: cyclic steam injection, steamflood, thermal recovery

steam soak
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11523

See: soak phase

SARA analysis
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11506

A method for characterization of heavy oils based on fractionation, whereby a heavy oil sample is
separated into smaller quantities or fractions, with each fraction having a different composition.
Fractionation is based on the solubility of hydrocarbon components in various solvents used in this test.
Each fraction consists of a solubility class containing a range of different molecular-weight species. In this
method, the crude oil is fractionated to four solubility classes, referred to collectively as SARA: saturates,
aromatics, resins, and asphaltenes. Saturates are generally iso- and cyclo-paraffins, while aromatics,
resins, and asphaltenes form a continuum of molecules with increasing molecular weight, aromaticity, and
heteroatom contents. Asphaltenes may also contain metals such as nickel and vanadium.
This method is sometimes referred to as Asphaltene/Wax/Hydrate Deposition analysis.

steam assisted gravity drainage


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11491

A thermal production method for heavy oil that pairs a high-angle injection well with a
nearby production well drilled along a parallel trajectory. The pair of high-angle wells is drilled with a
vertical separation of about 5 m [16 ft]. Steamis injected into the reservoir through the upper well. As
the steam rises and expands, it heats up the heavy oil, reducing its viscosity. Gravity forces the oil to
drain into the lower well where it is produced.

Also known as SAGD.

steam-oil ratio
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11511

Parameter used to monitor the efficiency of oil production processes based on steam injection. Commonly
abbreviated as SOR, it measures the volume of steam required to produce one unit volume of oil. Typical
values of SOR for cyclic steam stimulation are in the range of three to eight, while typical SOR values
for steam assisted gravity drainage are in the range of two to five. The lower the SOR, the more efficiently
the steam is utilized and the lower the associated fuel costs.

soak phase
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11177

In cyclic steam injection, the second phase between the steam-injection phase and the productionphase.
During the soak phase, the well is shut in for several days to allow uniform heat distribution to thin the oil.
See: thermal recovery

steam chamber
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11512

The volume of reservoir in which mobile steam exists for an extended period of time. Within
the steamchamber, rock temperature rises to the point where steam vapor can be sustained
at reservoir pressureconditions. The steam chamber is normally found in the upper portion of
a reservoir sand between asteam injector and a producer, where steam has broken through to the
producer. With time, the steamchamber can expand to cover an entire area of a 5-spot pattern steamflood.
For a steam assistedgravity drainage (SAGD) system, the steam chamber in a mature field project can
extend from a broad area across the top of the sand to a narrow finger down to the producing horizontal
well near the bottom of the sand.
Also referred to as a steam chest.

steamflood
1. n. [Well Completions] ID: 2834

A secondary recovery production system that utilizes steam injection to reduce the viscosity of highly
viscous oil, enabling viable production rates.

2. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11175


A method of thermal recovery in which steam generated at surface is injected into the reservoir through
specially distributed injection wells.
When steam enters the reservoir, it heats up the crude oil and reduces its viscosity. The heat also distills
light components of the crude oil, which condense in the oil bank ahead of the steam front, further
reducing the oil viscosity. The hot water that condenses from the steam and the steam itself generate an
artificial drive that sweeps oil toward producing wells.
Another contributing factor that enhances oil production during steam injection is related to near-
wellbore cleanup. In this case, steam reduces the interfacial tension that ties paraffins and asphaltenesto
the rock surfaces while steam distillation of crude oil light ends creates a small solvent bank that can
miscibly remove trapped oil.
Steamflooding is also called continuous steam injection or steam drive.
See: cyclic steam injection, enhanced oil recovery, hot waterflooding, in-situ combustion

steam management
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11513

The overall heat and fuel management for a steam injection process. It includes economically efficient use
of fuel consumed to generate steam, minimization of heat losses in surface steam-distribution lines, proper
splitting of steam flow and quality and intersections in steam-distribution lines, and effective management
of steam and heat distribution in the reservoir.

tar sand
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 492

A sand body that contains heavy hydrocarbon residues such as tar or asphalt, or degraded oil that has lost
its volatile components. Hydrocarbons can be liberated from tar sands by heating and other processes,
but tar sands, such as the Athabasca tar sands of Canada, are not commonly commercial because of high
costs of production.
Among some workers in the field of heavy oil, this term is falling out of use, in favor of the term "oilsand."
See: asphalt, bitumen, hydrocarbon, oil sand

thermal recovery
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11170

A general term for injection processes that introduce heat into a reservoir. Thermal recovery is used to
produce viscous, thick oils with API gravities less than 20. These oils cannot flow unless they are heated
and their viscosity is reduced enough to allow flow toward producing wells.
During thermal recovery, crude oil undergoes physical and chemical changes because of the effects of the
heat supplied. Physical properties such as viscosity, specific gravity and interfacial tension are altered.
The chemical changes involve different reactions such as cracking, which is the destruction of carbon-
carbon bonds to generate lower molecular weight compounds, and dehydrogenation, which is the rupture
of carbon-hydrogen bonds.
Thermal recovery is a major branch of enhanced oil recovery processes and can be subdivided in two
types: hot fluid injection such as steam injection (steamflood or cyclic steam injection) and
hotwaterflooding and in-situ combustion processes.
Thermal recovery is also called thermal enhanced oil recovery (TEOR).
See: API gravity, chemical flooding, miscible displacement

toe to heel air injection


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11492

An in-situ combustion method for producing heavy oil. In this technique, the fireflooding starts from a
vertical well, while the oil is produced from a horizontal well having its toe in close proximity to the vertical
air-injection well. This production method is a modification of conventional fire flooding techniques in which
the flame front from a vertical well pushes the oil to be produced from another vertical well.
Also referred to as THAI.

THAI
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11517

Abbreviation for toe to heel air injection.


See: toe to heel air injection

thermal simulation
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11514

The finite-difference or finite-element reservoir simulation that includes energy equations and calculations
used to describe heat conduction, heat and fluid convection, and latent heat exchanges occurring in
the reservoir rock and fluids during a thermal-recovery process such as steamflooding,SAGD, or in-
situ combustion. Combustion thermal simulation also requires equations for modelingcombustion reaction
kinetics.

ultra heavy oil


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11518

See: bitumen

upgraded syncrude
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11493

A synthetic crude oil produced by refining heavy oil, extra-heavy oil or bitumen to improve the original
crude and produce a new product of greater value. The value of crude can be upgraded by any or all of
the following: increasing API gravity, reducing sulfur content, reducing heavy metal content, lowering
viscosity, lowering the acid number or lowering residual oils. Most synthetic crude oils are created to target
specific refinery input streams. The characteristics of the upgraded synthetic crude are usually designed to
compete with existing crudes that certain refineries are already processing, or to meet guidelines set by a
certain group of refineries. Sometimes a blended crude is inappropriately referred to as a syncrude;
however, a syncrude is a changed crude oil, not one that has simply been blended with another lighter
crude oil.

upgrader
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11494

A refinery unit used to improve or upgrade heavy oil to produce higher-quality hydrocarbon liquids or
upgraded syncrudes. The refining unit may include any combination of the following: hydrogen addition
processes, carbon rejection processes or carbon concentration and removal processes

VAPEX
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11519

See: vapor extraction

vapor extraction
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11495

A non-thermal heavy oil production method. Similar in concept to SAGD, in vapor extraction a solvent
vapor is used to reduce viscosity of the heavy oil. The injected solvent vapor expands and dilutes the
heavy oil by contact. The diluted heavy oil will drain by gravity to the lower horizontal well, to be produced.
Vapor extraction is also known as VAPEX.

viscous oil
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11520

See: heavy oil

WAG
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11524

See: water alternating gas

water alternating gas


1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11515

An enhanced oil recovery process whereby water injection and gas injection are alternately injected for
periods of time to provide better sweep efficiency and reduce gas channeling from injector to producer.
This process is used mostly in CO2 floods to improve hydrocarbon contact time and sweep efficiency of
the CO2.

wormhole
1. vb. [Production Enhancement] ID: 11045

See: wormhole
2. n. [Production Enhancement] ID: 11046

A large, empty channel that can penetrate several feet into the formation, caused by the nonuniform
dissolution of limestone or dolomite by hydrochloric acid [HCl].
Wormholes are created during matrix stimulation or acid fracturing of carbonate formations. The purpose
of matrix stimulation is to create highly conductive wormholes to bypass damage. However,
infracture acidizing, wormholing is a problem, since it is an unwanted diversion of the live acid from the
hydraulic fracture system, which causes a reduction of the etched fracture length.

3. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11507

A high-porosity, high-permeability channel that develops when heavy oil is produced simultaneously
with sand (during cold heavy oil production with sand, or CHOPS). Wormholes develop in a radial pattern
away from the borehole and can extend 150 m [492 ft] from the borehole. The development of wormholes
can cause reservoir pressure to fall below the bubblepoint, resulting in dissolved gas coming out of
solution and forming foamy oil.

wet combustion
1. n. [Heavy Oil] ID: 11181

An in-situ combustion technique in which water is injected simultaneously or alternately with air into
aformation.
Wet combustion actually refers to wet forward combustion and was developed to use the great amount of
heat that would otherwise be lost in the formation. The injected water recovers the heat from behind the
burning front and transfers it to the oil bank ahead. Because of this additional energy, the
oildisplacement is more efficient and requires less air. In spite of these advantages, a wet combustion
process cannot avoid liquid-blocking problems and use of wet combustion is limited by the oil viscosity.
Wet combustion is also called in-situ steam generation or a combination of forward combustion
andwaterflooding, which is abbreviated as COFCAW.
See: dry combustion, dry forward combustion, reverse combustion