Until recent years, heavy oil was rejected as an energy resource for the inconvenience and costs associated with its production, but today, with the gradual depletion of deposits of light oil, its reserves have attracted the interest of oil companies and governments around the world. Estimated reserves of heavy oil in the world equal to three times the combined reserves of conventional oil and gas exist and are the safest source of energy in the immediate future of humanity.

One of the major drawbacks in the production of heavy oil in mature fields, is the low efficiency of artificial lifting systems, which is presented by the high frictional pressure losses that are handled by the system (subsurface equipment and recollection facilities), which occurs as a result of the high viscosity and / or direct emulsions (water in oil) of the produced fluids (viscosities above 500 cp.).

As an alternative to improve the efficiency of artificial lifting systems in the production of heavy oil in Colombia, from reducing viscosity of the produced fluids, was visualized the selection, evaluation and application in surface facilities of the technology of electrical heating., to ensure adequate conditions of extraction and recollection that will maintain optimal levels of production and release of lower-producing areas with higher API gravity.

This study presents a detailed technical and economic evaluation of the application of electric heating in surface facilities to optimize the efficiency of artificial lift systems in the production of heavy oil in fields operated by Ecopetrol in Colombia, including: nodal analysis to determine incremental production, evaluation of technical and economic benefits (net present value). This paper presents the application results in the Tisquirama field.

Finally, the main findings, conclusions, recommendations and field results obtained in this study are presented and among which are:

  1. Increased of the efficiency of the artificial lifting system in 100%.

  2. Increased of oil production in 100%.

  3. Unlock and producing of lower zones of high API gravity.

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