Cold Heavy Production is a nonthermal elementary process used in the production of heavy oils. In this process, continuous sand production enhances heavy oil recovery from the reservoir. The process involves carefully initiating sand influx in the completion procedure while maintaining the sand flux during the productive life of the well and implementing methods to separate the sand from oil. The process does not use any sand exclusion device. Sand is produced with gas, oil and water and is separated from oil before it is upgraded to synthetic crude.

Cold Heavy Production forms wormholes in unconsolidated sand reservoirs by enhancing the productivity of oil. The process has various characteristics, such as progressive cavity pumps, greater diameter perforations and less than 15-meter zones. In the process, depressuring forms gas bubbles that are expanded to provide a drive mechanism. The process requires:

  • Unconsolidated and clean sand.
  • Gas saturation to produce foamy oils.
  • Viscosity which is not very high.
  • Completion which allows sand to come in.
  • Progressive cavity pumps for handling the production of the sand.
  • Destructive bottom water.

The process may also use artificial lift systems to lift oil with sand.

Cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS) involves the deliberate initiation of sand influx during the completion procedure, maintenance of sand influx during the productive life of the well, and implementation of methods to separate the sand from the oil for disposal. No sand exclusion devices (screens, liners, gravel packs, etc.) are used. The sand is produced along with oil, water, and gas and separated from the oil before upgrading to a synthetic crude.


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