Indonesia, like many other countries, is also a producer of heavy oil. An example is from Duri Field which has begun producing oil successfully by steam-injection since 1985. However, the relatively shallow and unconsolidated formations have been causing noticeable and sometimes significant sand problems (up to 500 cubic meters per day) resulting in excessive workover operations and loss in production. Delaying production due to workover in a steam-assisted production method is costly, because over time the viscosity of the movable oil will increase again due to the temperature drop. This condition will make the oil even harder to produce when the well is reopened. Thus, an inexpensive but effective solution is needed to remedy this problem.

This paper proposes a new and cost-effective method for improving the efficiency of the steam injection methods for fields similar to Duri by using EM-heated proppant as gravel pack/frac-pack material in the production well. Installing an EM field generator in the wellbore and using EM-heated proppant will have a dual advantage over the conventional method by being more resistant to flow and being able to heat the near-wellbore region of the production well. By heating the near-wellbore region of the production well, the lowered-viscosity of the steam-contacted oil will be maintained as it enters the wellbore.

From results of simple calculations, backed up with laboratory observation, heated-proppant is intended to transfer and sustain heat as well as other thermal stimulation methods. Production increment is predicted to be small due to smaller heated radius; however the increased well longevity before a workover schedule and hands-free operation should provide a more cost-efficient well for producing heavy oils, in-time covering the installation cost of the EM Generator.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.