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Feasibility Study of using Electric Down-hole Heating to Improve the Productivity for a Heavy Oil Field

Mohanned Mahgoup Khairy, Ramzi Haroun, Husham A. Ali, Alaa Abdalwahab


The largest hydrocarbon reserves around the world are mostly heavy oils. Electrical Down-hole Heating (EDH) is a widely used technique for heavy oil production; when it is combined with Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods, it can overcome its limitations. Considering limited previous studies for the designing of EDH for Sudanese fields, this paper presented the feasibility of using this system by simulating the actual well situation and provided several scenarios for economical comparison with cyclic steam stimulation (CSS). A radial model has been built using an advanced thermal reservoir simulator, a sensitivity analysis was performed to calculate the flow rate and fluid viscosity under different heating scenarios: The model showed that the reservoir temperature and the heated diameter are highly affected with the temperature offered by EDH; around 15, 13, 15, 9, and 7.5 m heating radiuses were achieved by heating temperature 300, 250, 200, 150 and 100°C, respectively, and the viscosity will vary from 1400 to 1900 cP at the maximum radius for each heating temperature. The net present value results showed that the several heating scenarios are more feasible than 5 CSS cycles by 2–12%. Finally, the power required to design the heater was calculated and the energy gain was used to determine the most suitable heating range for the design. This study provides a guideline for the most suitable way of selecting the electrical down-hole heater and to calculate its feasibility and also assist the economic decision.


Down-hole heaters, formation temperature, heavy oil, numerical simulation, radial model, wells performance

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