The paper describes an opportunity for improvement of the widely applied Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) process for in-situ production of bitumen from oil sands deposits. The technical concept aims at Electro Magnetic (EM-SAGD) heating methods assisting the process. Preliminary investigations were carried out to confirm the feasibility of various solutions and evaluate aspects of energy efficiency and environmental impact. This solution targets energy efficiency as well as reduced environmental impact.

Different electromagnetic methods have been studied. For sites with overburdens of more than 30m, the inductive method has been found to be the most reasonable in terms of technical and economical feasibility. To evaluate the lifetime efficiency, a reservoir simulator has been coupled to a finite element program, in order to implement the effects of alternating current losses. Different standard cases of thick, shallow and thin reservoir conditions have been simulated in an integrated way of investigation to compare standard SAGD and EM-SAGD. The higher effort of additional electrical heating for EM-SAGD can be justified by lower cost of steam, less amount of water usage and treatment but basically by a higher return from increased bitumen production. In most cases, an earlier production start and a higher recovery rate can be obtained.

The proposed solution may contribute a significant enhanced oil recovery at specifically less energy consumption, leading to less impact to the environment in terms of green house emissions and water usage.

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