Devon Canada Corporation has applied to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to conduct a single-well test of a technology it calls “a major opportunity” to improve recovery of conventional heavy oil.

VZFOX Canada Ltd. – Engineeringfiled an application with the AER on behalf of the company in mid-March to establish an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme in its Cold Lake-region operations following cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS).

Devon proposes to evaluate conductive/convective heating with re-pressurization by cyclic injection of hot water vapour into a single heavy oil well (100/11-17-064-08W4/00). The application says that substantial volumes have been withdrawn from the reservoir, thereby creating sufficient voidage, while rock characteristics suggest good permeability and porosity with depleted pressure, which makes the reservoir suitable for the process.

Hot water vapour injection has been identified as a cost-effective and economically viable post-CHOPS recovery process, VZFOX said. It is expected to provide incremental recovery and the ability to access stranded heavy oil reserves.

“The nature of the technology allows it to fit in with the existing development by using existing wells and infrastructure,” the application reads.

“The development of a hot water vapour injection process for thin, post-CHOPS heavy oil fields would represent a tremendous advance to the oil and gas industry, given the low initial primary recovery of CHOPS, and the lack of suitable enhanced recovery methods like those found in more conventional hydrocarbon plays.”