Thermal recovery is one of the most important approaches in recovering heavy oil or bitumen. Radio frequency energy (RF) has been considered for downhole heating since the 70's, however without significant commercial success. The underlying scientific premises are sound and simple, and were confirmed by basic experiments (Mukhametshina et al. 2013). It became clear that the modeling tools were inadequate, and practical implementation difficult and expensive. More recently, the ESEIEH project (Laricina, Suncor, Nexen and Harris Corp.), has completed the first phase of experiments, with encouraging results, and has proceeded to the second phase.
Sampling extra heavy oil becomes a challenging operation when viscosities overcome 3000 cp at reservoir temperature. The acquisition of quality samples that allow obtaining accurate viscosity measurements and initial solution gas, among other fluid characterization measurements, is crucial, since they are key parameters to identify and select reservoir strategies. Samples that are commonly gathered from such reservoirs come from mud tanks during drilling, which bring uncertainty due to chemical contamination, and from preserved cores, which usually cannot provide sufficient volume for the required analysis.