UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Induction heating for in-situ recovery of oil sands Sherwali, Ahmed Hamid Ehmida


Extraction of immobile bitumen from oil sands deposits may be carried out in different techniques depending on the formation conditions as well as the depth of the deposits. They may be removed via a mining process or liquefying the deposit so that it may be pumped to the surface. There are two common methods of liquefying bitumen within the oil sands. The first involves introducing a solvent or thinning agent, such as a light hydrocarbon, to effectively dissolve the oil sands deposit. The second method, and the more widespread, involves heating the bitumen, which is typically implemented by steam injection. For decades, engineers and scientists have been interested in electrical heating methods for oil sands recovery. The goal is to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of steam and solvent injection. Most of the work focused on resistive and dielectric heating of oil sands. Induction heating for oil sands was not deemed feasible because of the complex drilling requirements associated with the very few studies. This dissertation studies induction heating for oil sands recovery and presents a practical method of implementation that is economical, efficient, and environmentally friendly. The induction heating system design introduced in this dissertation is supported by extensive simulations. The induction heating simulation models are validated by experimental results. The coupled simulation process introduced in this dissertation enables the induction heating simulation to be coupled to a reservoir simulator. This provides means to study the performance of the suggested induction heating system in the Athabasca oil sands. Simulation results show the potential for economic and sustainable oil production from the Athabasca oil sands through horizontal wells, using vertical induction heating assisted with water injection. Multiple vertical induction heating wells are needed to reach production levels comparable with steam recovery methods. This work significantly contributes to the advancement of implementing induction heating for in-situ recovery of oil sands, it provides an original design, and a tool to study the performance of induction heating on any hydrocarbon deposit.

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