In Situ Combustion

Definition - What does In Situ Combustion mean?

In Situ Combustion is an Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technique applied to heavy crude oil reservoirs. It is also called underground combustion or fire flooding. In this combustion process, oxidizing gas (mainly oxygen enriched air) is injected through an injection well which burns the small portion of oil in the reservoir and generates heat within the reservoir. This heat exerts internal pressure in the reservoir, making oil to flow into the well and increase the production rate.

Petropedia explains In Situ Combustion

The propagation of heat flow during In Situ combustion process can be in two directions namely:

  • Forward combustion – In this practice, the heat is produced by oxidizing gas after combustion resident oil moves in the same direction as the air flow. This type of combustion practice is widely used in In Situ combustion and can be further characterized as:
    • Dry – when only air is injected.
    • Wet – when air is injected along with water.
  • Reverse combustion – In this practice, heat flow occurs after combustion moves in the opposite direction of air flow.
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