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Since its first application, more than 1000 technical papers have been written on ISC or related to ISC process. Some very good ISC books and papers are listed here to help the beginners in acquainting them with the basics of the process.   The recommended books are written by specialists with hands-on experience on the ISC process.  

At the same time, the papers indicated here are the most informative and complete on the subject.  For instance, as far as the field application is concerned, they present well instrumented pilots and/or commercial operations, with a reliable evaluation of the respective processes. In each area of activity some 3-4 papers are indicated; these papers can orient the reader to continue a more in-depth study using the most relevant papers.

The focus of this section was to save significant time for those starting to study ISC process. The following sections can be found:

  • Review of ISC commercial applications - Heavy Oil Reservoirs
  • Review of ISC commercial applications - Light Oil Reservoirs (very deep, high temperature, light oil reservoirs)
  • Review of ISC field pilots (Heavy Oil)
  • Review of cyclic ISC (burn and turn ISC) operations
  • Most important papers on routine laboratory testing (in view of field testing)
  • Most fundamental paper on kinetics of oxidation
  • Analytical and numerical simulation of ISC process
  • Ignition operations
  • Basic design

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Books for basic ISC understanding              

  • Thermal Recovery Methods by Jon T.Moss and Phillip D. White.  PennWell Publishing Co., Tulsa, Ok, USA. , 1983.  Presents mainly USA experience.  Field oriented.
  • Thermal Methods of Oil Recovery by J Burger, P Sourieau and M Combarnous.  Edition Technip Paris, 1985. 
  • Thermal Methods of Petroleum Production by Baibakov N. K. and Garushev A.R.  Elsevier –Amsterdam, 1989.  Presents mainly the Russian experience.  
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery. Field Case Studies. Editor: James J. Sheng. Chapter 18: In-Situ Combustion  (page 447 to 543) by Alex Turta. Gulf Professional Publishing (an imprint of Elsevier), 2013.  

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  • Synthesis paper: Ursenbach, M.G.: “Air Injection in Heavy oil Reservoirs – A Process Whose Time Has Come (Again)” In Journ. of Can. Petr. Technology (JCPT), January 2010.

1) Review of ISC commercial applications - Heavy Oil Reservoirs
  • Turta A.: In-Situ Combustion - From Pilot to Commercial Application.  Proceedings of the Field    Applications of In-Situ Combustion - Past Performance/Future Application Symposium, Tulsa, April 21-22, 1994.
  • Turta, A., Chattopadhyay S.K, Bhattacharya R.N., Condrachi, A., and Hanson, W.: “Current Status of the Commercial In-Situ Combustion (ISC) Projects and New Approaches to Apply ISC”.  Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology  (JCPT) November 2007
  • Panait-Patica, A., Serban, D. and Ilie N. :” A Case-History of a Successful In-Situ Combustion  Exploitation”  Paper SPE 100346 presented  at the SPE Europec/EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 12-15 June 2006 
  • Dayal, H.S, Bhushan, B.V et al.  :” In-Situ Combustion:  Opportunities and Anxieties ” Paper SPE 126241 presented  at the SPE Oil and Gas India Conference and Exhibition<Mumbai, India, 20-22 January 2010.

2) Review of ISC commercial applications - Light Oil Reservoirs (very deep, high temperature, light oil reservoirs)

  • Kumar, V.K. et al.:”Case History and Appraisal of the Medicine Pole Hills Unit Air Injection Project”  Soc.  of Petr. Eng./DOE Paper No 27792/1994
  • Fassihi, M.R. and Gillham T.H.: “The Use of Air Injection to Improve the Double Displacement Process”. Proceedings of the Field   Applications of In-Situ Combustion - Past Performance/Future Application Symposium, Tulsa, April 21-22, 1994. Or  Soc.  of Petr. Eng. Paper No 26374 /1993
  • Kumar, V.K. et al. :” Air Injection and Waterflood Performance Comparison of Two Adjacent Units in Buffalo Field:  Technical Analysis”. Soc.  of Petr. Eng. Paper No 99454/2006
  • Gutierez, D. et al. : “Buffalo Field High-Pressure Air Injection Projects:  Technical Performance and Operational Challenges” . Soc.  of Petr. Eng. Paper No 113254/2008

3) Review of ISC field pilots - Heavy Oil Reservoirs

  • Aldea, Gh. Petcovici, V.  and Dumitrescu H. : “ Aplicarea experimentala a metodei de exploatare prin combustie subterana in Romania” Petrol si Gaze, Vol. 19, No1, 1968  (in Romanian)
  • Ramey, H.J., et al.  :”Case History of South Belridge , California, In-Situ Combustion Oil Recovery”  Soc.  of Petr. Eng./DOE  Paper No 24200/1992
  • Petcovici V. : “ La combustion in-situ assure un taux de recuperation eleve dans un important gisement d’huile lourde de Roumanie:  le sarmatien de Balaria”  Colloque Internat. sur les Techniques d'Exploitation et d'Exploration des Hydrocarbures, Paris, December 10-12, 1975.

4) Review of Cyclic ISC (burn and turn ISC) operations

  • Turta A., Socol S., Trasca N. and Ilie N. : “Application of  Cyclic Combustion in Romania”,  Mine Petrol si Gaze, July 1985 (in Romanian). Note; Translation of this paper in English can be provided at your request
  • Trasca N.  and  Paduraru R.  “Stimulation of Oil Inflow and Consolidation of the Productive Stratum by  Cyclic Combustion” 1993 Joint Canada-Romania Heavy Oil Symposium, Sinaia, Romania, March 7-13, 1993

5) Most important papers on routine laboratory testing (in view of field testing)

Combustion Tube tests (for both heavy and light oils)

  • Showalter E.W. : “ Combustion – Drive Tests” Soc. of Petr. Eng .  Journal,  March 1963
  • Penberthy, K.W and Ramey, H.J. :  “The Design and Operation of Laboratory Combustion Tubes: Soc. of Petr. Eng. Paper No. 1290, October 1965
  • Ursenbach M. et al. :”Laboratory In-Situ Combustion Behavior of Athabasca Oil Sands” Eight Petroleum Conference of the South Saskatchewan Section of CIM, Regina, October 18-20, 1993
  • Moore, G. et al. : “ An Evaluation of the Benefits of Combined Steam and Fireflooding as a Recovery Process for Heavy Oils” Proceedings of the Field   Applications of In-Situ Combustion - Past Performance/Future Application Symposium, Tulsa, April 21-22, 1994.
  • Greaves, M et al. : “Improved Residual Light Oil Recovery by Air Injection (LTO Process)”.  In Journ. of Can. Petr. Technology (JCPT), Vol 39, No.1, January  2000.
Ramped Temperature Oxidation tests
  • Martin, W, Alexander D. J. and Dew N.J. : “Process Variables of In-Situ Combustion”  Trans AIME 1958
  • Moore, G.  et al.: “Ramped Temperature Oxidation Analysis of Athabasca oil Sands Bitumen”  In Journ. of Can. Petr. Technology,  Vol 38, No.13, Special Edition,  1999
  • Kovscek, A.R., Castanier, L.M. and Gerritsen M.G.: “Improved Predictability of In-Situ Combustion Enhanced Oil Recovery”  In SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering, May 2013
  Accelerated Rate Calorimeter tests (mainly for light oils)
  • Yannimaras, D.V.   et al. : “The Case for Air Injection Into Deep Light Oil Reservoirs”  Proceedings of the Sixth European Symposium on IOR, 1991
  • Yannimaras, D.V.   and Tiffin, D.L.. : “Screening of Oils for In-Situ Combustion at Reservoir Conditions by Accelerating –Rate Calorimetry”.  In SPE Reservoir Engineering, February 1995
  • Juan S. et al.  “Laboratory Screening for Air Injection-Based IOR in Two Waterflooded Reservoirs”  Paper 2003-215, presented at International Petroleum Conf.  June 10-12, 2003, Calgary, Canada

6) Most fundamental paper on kinetics of oxidation

  • Belgrave, J. D. M. et al. “A Comprehensive Approach to In-Situ Combustion Modeling” Soc. of Petr. Engin. /DOE paper 20250 /1990

7) Analytical and Numerical Simulation of ISC process


  • Thomas, G.W.: “A Study of Forward Combustion in a Radial System Bounded by Permeable Media” In Journ. of Petr. Technology (JPT) October 1963
  • Chu Chieh : “ Two-dimensional Analysis of a Radial Heat Wave” In Journ. of Petr. Technology  October 1963
  • Gotfried, B.S. : “A Mathematical Model of Thermal Oil Recovery in Linear Systems”  In  Soc. of Petr. Eng .  Journal,  September 1965


  • Gutierez et al. : ”The ABC of In-Situ Combustion   Simulations:  From Laboratory Experiments  to the Field Scale” SPE paper 148754 presented at the Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary, Canada, 15-17 November 2011
  • Kumar, M.A. :”Cross-Sectional Simulation of West Heidelberg In-Situ Combustion Project”  SPE Res. Eng. Evaluation Journal, February 1991
  • Coats K. : “In-Situ Combustion Model” In  Soc. of Petr. Eng .  Journal,  Vol 20,  1980
  • Rubin, B and Vinsome P.K.W.  : “The Simulation of In-Situ Combustion Process in in One Dimension Using  A Highly Implicit Finite-Difference Scheme’ In Journ of Canadian Petr. Techn Vol 19 ,No. 4, Oct-Dec 1980

8) Ignition operations

  • Strange, L.K. : “Ignition: Key Phase in Combustion Recovery” Petroleum Engineer, vol. 36, No. 12 and 13,  1964
  • Tadema, N.J. and Weijdema, J.:  ”Spontaneous Ignition of Oil Sands”.  Oil and Gas Journal December 14, 1970
  • Turta, A. : “Review of Steam-Based Ignition Operations for Initiation of In-situ Combustion Process”.  World Heavy Oil Congress, Edmonton Alberta, Canada, March 2011

9) Basic Design

  • Nelson, T.W. and McNiel,J.S : ”How to Engineer an In-Situ Combustion Project”   Oil and Gas Journal June 5, 1961
  • Gates, C.F. and Ramey H.J. : ”A Method for Engineering In-Situ Combustion Oil Recovery Projects”  Journ of Petr. Techn. , February 1980
  • Turta A, Wassmuth F., Maini, B. and Singhal A.: “Evaluation of IOR Potential of Petroleum Reservoirs”. (as included in the PRIze 3.1 software).  Proceedings of the 16th World Petroleum Congress, Calgary , Canada, June 11-15, 2000.


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