Metering of bitumen produced by Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) induces many issues arising from high operating temperatures (150-200 C), steam presence in the gas phase, foaming, emulsion and small density differences between bitumen and produced water. Nucleonic technology could be well-suited for this environment especially if the temperature issue can be properly handled. A multiphase meter (MFM) utilizing a multi-energy gamma ray (nuclear fraction) meter associated with a Venturi can potentially handle these operating constraints and replace separation devices for permanent or periodic well testing, providing accurate monitoring and optimization of oil, water, gas and steam production.

Following a 2008 field trial planned at a Canadian SAGD site, this paper will present specific strengths of the MFM with emphasis on its ability to meter correctly the liquid/gas phases depending of the calibration method and operating measurement range. Indeed, the overall methodology is a key element of the utilization of the MFM to ensure consistency with metering figures from well tests performed with a test separator equipped with accurate liquid and gas measurements and this field trial explores variations in process conditions to identify strengths and weaknesses of this MFM technology versus the operating envelope in standard operation (Non SAGD).

An entire study of the main parameters which could influence the measurement associated with this technology will be provided based on practical and simulated data and the impact of changes in each parameter will be evaluated. This paper will be a guideline for future users in the oil industry of this technology by providing an understanding of how to apply it to bitumen metering.

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