RF Heating

Acceleware’s combined expertise in electromagnetics (EM) and oil and gas uniquely positions the company as a leading provider of technology and consulting services for the use of radio-frequency (RF) energy to heat oil reservoirs in situ. RF heating is an emerging technology with the potential to provide an efficient production solution that competes favourably with, or enhances traditional steam heating and solvent based techniques used for producing heavy oil in conventional, oil-sands and carbonate formations.

RF heating is achieved by placing a large antenna into a well to propagate energy into the formation, lowering the viscosity and allowing for production of oil. This method can provide a production solution in reservoirs where steam floods or solvent methods alone are ineffective. Reservoirs attractive to RF heating include highly heterogeneous and fractured reservoirs where uniform steam chambers are not possible, shallow reservoirs with limited cap structures to contain steam and deep reservoirs where pumping steam so far down is highly inefficient.

Acceleware provides a complete solution from antenna design and simulation services to design of antennas that meet required performance characteristics for each unique reservoir. Acceleware’s expertise with antennas, RF heating, high performance computing and sophisticated software applications are employed to generate complex multi-physics simulations that model the antenna’s effects when introduced into the reservoir.

How Acceleware fits into your workflow

Acceleware RF Heating Solutions

Acceleware is currently advising several customers on strategies, technologies, and design parameters for successful reservoir heating in proof-of-concept and future production scenarios.

Acceleware RF Heating Technology

AxHeat™ is simulation interpretation tool used for the design and analysis of a radio frequency heating process of heavy oil reservoirs. The software provides a translating connection between a reservoir simulator and an electromagnetic (EM) simulator to provide interactive antenna design capabilities to accurately model RF heating process of heavy oil reservoirs. This capability greatly assists in providing increased accuracy for the design of antennas to be used in situ.

RF heating of heavy oil reservoirs is a highly dynamic process where formation properties and the antenna performance are interrelated. Since AxHeat is an iterative algorithm, it can accurately model details of the heating process which otherwise would not be visible to an engineer.

For RF heating of a heavy oil reservoir, an RF antenna is placed inside a vertical or horizontal well running through the reservoir. The method is a active process where the EM properties of the formation and the well materials change with temperature and water saturation. Therefore, RF heating of an oil reservoir can be modeled accurately only by using a combined reservoir/EM simulation tool such as AxHeat.

AxHeat - Acceleware’s multi-physics connection software to dynamically link EM Solver tools with commercial Reservoir Simulation applications

  • Iterative time-domain algorithm that models the results of an RF antenna operating inside a reservoir
  • Feeds calculated values of reservoir properties such as EM properties of the formation, temperature distribution and pressure to the EM Solver
  • Updated information from the EM Solver is returned to the Reservoir Simulation for a user-defined number of time steps
  • Supports user defined values
  • Supports GPU computing for accelerated calculations

Acceleware can assist in:

  • Simulating the behavior of the reservoir in the vicinity of a particular well
  • Predicting the reservoir and production behavior given antenna properties, reservoir properties, RF power and other specifications in and around the well
  • Designing RF antennas/applicators to effectively deliver RF power to a given reservoir

The above capabilities are achieved using a dynamic combination of Acceleware’s in-house technical expertise combined with electromagnetic and reservoir simulation modeling software. Acceleware’s acceleration software results in faster runtimes while maintaining high accuracy of these complex and compute intensive simulations.

Some technical challenges Acceleware has addressed for customers are:

  • Antenna design, tailored to the particular reservoir
  • Evaluation of various antenna designs given practical implementation constraints (well construction, casing sizes, materials, operational efficiencies, etc.)
  • Mitigate and manage forensic studies of previous field tests
  • Evaluating simulation results vs measured field results (verification of our simulation technology)
  • Simulation of different oilfields, compositional assumptions and material properties

For further information on RF Heating please contact sales@acceleware.com.