Electrical heating for heavy-oil recovery is not a new idea, but the commercialization and wider application of this technique require detailed analyses to determine optimal application conditions. In this study, applicability of electrical heating for heavy-oil recovery from two heavy-oil fields in Turkey (Bati Raman and Camurlu) was tested numerically. The physical and chemical properties of the oil samples for the two fields were compiled, and in-situ viscosity reduction during the heating process was measured with and without using iron powder. Iron powder addition to oil samples causes a decrease in the polar components (such as carboxylic and phenolic acids) of oil, and the viscosity of oil can be reduced significantly because of the magnetic fields created by iron powders. Three different iron-powder types at three different doses were tested to observe their impact on oil recovery. Experimental observations showed that viscosity reductions were accomplished at 88 and 63% for Bati Raman and Camurlu crude oils, respectively, after 0.5% iron (Fe) addition, which was determined as the optimum type and dose for both crude-oil samples. Next, field-scale recovery was tested numerically using the viscosity values obtained from the laboratory experiments and physical and chemical properties of the oil fields compiled from the literature. The power of the system, operation period, and the number of heaters were optimized. Economic evaluation performed only on the basis of the electricity cost using the field-scale numerical modeling study showed that the production of 1 bbl petroleum costs approximately USD 5, and at the end of 70 days, 320 bbl of petroleum can be produced. When 0.5% Fe is added, oil production increased to 440 bbl for the same operational time period.

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