• Electromagnetic heating of unconventional hydrocarbon resources on the Alaska North Slope

      Peraser, Vivek; Patil, Shirish L.; Khataniar, Santanu; Sonwalkar, Vikas S.; Dandekar, Abhijit Y. (2012-05)
      The heavy oil reserves on the Alaska North Slope (ANS) amount to approximately 24-33 billion barrels and approximately 85 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas from gas hydrate deposits. Various mechanisms have been studied for production of these resources, the major one being the injection of heat into the reservoir in the form of steam or hot water. In the case of heavy oil reservoirs, heat reduces the viscosity of heavy oil and makes it flow more easily. Heating dissociates gas hydrates thereby releasing gas. But injecting steam or hot water as a mechanism of heating has its own limitations on the North Slope due to the presence of continuous permafrost and the footprint of facilities. The optimum way to inject heat would be to generate it in-situ. This work focuses on the use of electrical energy for heating and producing hydrocarbons from these reservoirs. Heating with electrical energy has two variants: high frequency electromagnetic (EM) heating and low frequency resistive heating. Using COMSOL ® multi-physics software and hypothetical reservoir, rock, and fluid properties an axisymmetric 2D model was built to study the effect of high frequency electromagnetic waves on the production of heavy oil. The results were encouraging and showed that with the use of EM heating, oil production rate increases by ~340% by the end of third year of heating for a reservoir initially at a temperature of 120°F. Applied Frequency and input power were important factors that affected EM heating. The optimum combination of power and frequency was found to be 70 KW and 915 MHz for a reservoir initially at a temperature of 120°F. Then using CMG-STARS ® software simulator, the use of low frequency resistive heating was implemented in the gas hydrate model in which gas production was modeled using the depressurization technique. The addition of electrical heating inhibited near-wellbore hydrate reformation preventing choking of the production well which improved gas production substantially.