EM Heating-Stimulated Water Flooding for Medium–Heavy Oil Recovery


We report a study of heavy oil recovery by combined water flooding and electromagnetic (EM) heating at a frequency of 2.45 GHz used in domestic microwave ovens. A mathematical model describing this process was developed. Model equations were solved, and the solution is presented in an integral form for the one-dimensional case. Experiments consisting of water injection into Bentheimer sandstone cores, either fully water saturated or containing a model heavy oil, were also conducted, with and without EM heating. Model prediction was found to be in rather good agreement with experiments. EM energy was efficiently absorbed by water and, under dynamic conditions, was transported deep into the porous medium. The amount of EM energy absorbed increases with water saturation. Oil recovery by water flooding combined with EM heating was up to \(37.0\%\) larger than for cold water flooding. These observations indicate that EM heating induces an overall improvement in the mobility ratio between the displacing water and the displaced heavy oil.

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We gratefully acknowledge Hans Bruining for the thorough reading of an earlier version of the manuscript and his many useful suggestions. We would also like to thank Paul Vermeulen, Marc Friebel, Dick Delforterie and Karl Heller for their technical support. We thank Dirk van der Lei from Holland Shielding Systems b.v. for his guidance in making the setup as safe as possible. We thank Stiw Harrison Herrera Taipe, Iuri Higor Aguiar da Igreja and anonymous referee for helping in improving this text. This work was funded in part by CNPq under (Grant No. 470635/2012-6) and Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora. G. Chapiro was supported in part by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientfico e Tecnolgico (CNPq) under Grant 470635/2012-6 and FAPEMIG under Grant APQ 01377/15.

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Correspondence to Grigori Chapiro.

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Paz, P.Z.S., Hollmann, T.H., Kermen, E. et al. EM Heating-Stimulated Water Flooding for Medium–Heavy Oil Recovery. Transp Porous Med 119, 57–75 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11242-017-0873-5

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  • EOR
  • Electromagnetic heating
  • Water flooding
  • Partial differential equations