Vacuum Insulated Tubing Study

ANSYS Canada Ltd.

March 2016


Executive Summary

The purpose of this PTAC Project is to determine the value of vacuum insulated tubing (VIT) by developing a sophisticated computer model using ANSYS software. VIT has been used in field tests in SAGD operation and assessed by basic computer modeling using Excel and STARS. However, VIT is expensive and the testing done to date has not been precise enough for the industry to understand the return on investment in VIT. Basic computer modeling makes too many simplifying assumptions. During field testing, it is not possible to measure steam quality in the well to quantify energy savings. It is uncertain if oil production responses should be assigned to VIT or to geology. ANSYS software models are built from the basic principles of physics and engineering and thus will provide answers that will help industry determine the economic value of VIT. VIT is composed of two concentric tubulars with vacuum in the annulus to provide excellent thermal insulation. In SAGD, VIT would be used to greatly minimize heat losses when injecting steam. This would reduce operating costs, water use and GHG emissions. However, VIT costs about twice the cost of bare tubing and operators need to fully understand its value before committing to deployment.


Final Report