Effects of Geomechanical Heterogeneity on Wormhole Development during Cold Heavy Oil Production – Phase 1

Canada possesses vast resources of heavy oil, which is oil that is too thick to flow through porous sandstone reservoirs and into production wells at economic rates when conventional operating practices are used. Since the mid 1980’s, heavy oil operators have demonstrated their ability to increase heavy oil production rates by encouraging the creation of porous and permeable zones (“wormholes”) within their reservoirs by allowing sand grains to detach from the reservoir rock and flow into the well (along with the oil). However, in order to improve the efficiency of these operations, a better understanding of the processes controlling wormhole growth is required. The proposed project will result in the design of a laboratory testing system that will lead to a better understanding of wormholes in heavy oil reservoirs.

Faculty Supervisor:

Chris Hawkes


Michael Pereira


Petroleum Technology Research Centre


Engineering - civil


Oil and gas




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