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Journal of Flow Visualization and Image Processing
SJR: 0.11 SNIP: 0.312 CiteScore™: 0.1

ISSN Print: 1065-3090
ISSN Online: 1940-4336

Journal of Flow Visualization and Image Processing

DOI: 10.1615/JFlowVisImageProc.v17.i3.30
pages 215-228

VISUALIZATION AND QUANTIFICATION OF A SOLVENT VAPOR EXTRACTION (VAPEX) HEAVY OIL RECOVERY PROCESS

Xiaoqi Wang
Petroleum Technology Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4S 0A2
Yongan Gu
Petroleum Systems Engineering Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science University of Regina Regina, SK S4S 0A2 Canada

ABSTRACT

The solvent vapor extraction (VAPEX) is an effective enhanced heavy oil recovery technology. In this paper, a series of the VAPEX tests was conducted by using a rectangular visual high-pressure sand-packed physical model. Three distinct phases of the solvent chamber evolution, namely, the rising, spreading, and falling phases, were observed and analyzed for these VAPEX tests. It was also found that a new analytical VAPEX model successfully predicted the accumulative heavy oil production, transition-zone thickness, and inclination angle during the VAPEX process with no asphaltene precipitation. In conclusion, flow visualization and quantification is an inexpensive and effective method for studying the heavy oil - solvent multi-phase flow and mass transfer in porous media.


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