- The THAI process oil sands uses horizontal production wells paired with vertical air injection wells to recover heavy oil/bitumen.
- Horizontal production wells are drilled to the base of the reservoir. 1 Air injection wells are drilled vertically at the ‘toe’ of the horizontal wells. 2
- Steam is injected through the vertical and horizontal wells for two to three months to heat the reservoir near the wellbore.
- Once the heavy oil/bitumen reaches the required temperature and mobility, air is injected into the formation through the vertical air injection well. As the air reaches the heated resource, it starts a combustion reaction.3
- As air is injected into the formation, the vertical combustion front moves along the horizontal well (from the toe to the heel of the production well) sweeping the reservoir. 4 As the combustion front develops and temperatures increase, the heavy oil/bitumen is heated to a high temperature where partial upgrading occurs.
- The partially upgraded THAI oil along with vaporized water from the reservoir and gases that form during combustion (primarily carbon dioxide), flows into the horizontal well. 5
- Once at the surface, the oil flows through the plant facilities where it is treated and then sent to market.6
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