Radio Frequencies as an Oil-Production Stimulation Method
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 68 - 70
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 65 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 133085, "Quantum Effects Imparted by Radio Frequencies as a Stimulation Method of Oil Production - Part II," by J. Mike Brown, SPE, Harold L. Becker, and Greg Darby, SPE, BJ Services, prepared for the 2010 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Florence, Italy, 19-22 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Tuned energy waves alter molecular bonds in the well-tubular and near-wellbore regions to stimulate production by disrupting damaging deposits and altering relative permeability. New studies elucidate the action mechanism and the range of the application.
The full-length paper is a continuation of paper SPE 124144 in which a method of stimulating producing wells by use of electromagnetic frequencies was described. The frequencies used by the device are in the range used in nuclear-magnetic- and electron-spin-resonance spectroscopy. The mode of action is thought to be the result of changing the nuclear- and electron-spin states of molecules such as paraffin waxes and altering the degree of hydrogen bonding and charge induction that allow aggregation and networking of the wax particles.
A recent study of the process provided additional insight to explain the action mechanism and to aid candidate selection. Laboratory core-flow studies showed that wettability reversal can increase production by removal of production impairments. Not all treated wells have shown measureable increases in production, and additional work is needed to improve candidate selection. Some wells that did not show a production increase benefited in reduction or elimination of workover and conventional chemical treatments. The electromagnetic frequencies used in this iteration of the device target near-wellbore damage resulting from wettability changes caused by hydrocarbon-based deposition or past production practices that resulted in this type of damage. These frequencies are in the radio-frequency (RF) band of electromagnetic radiation.
Relative Permeability Modification
Core-flow studies on native oil-wet sandstone were conducted to evaluate the effect of RF treatment on the relative permeability of oil and water. During core preparation, differential pressure and flow rate were monitored to calculate effective permeability to oil at irreducible water saturation (KoSwi). The sample was unloaded from the core holder and transported to a laboratory RF unit for treatment. Following a 15-minute RF-treatment period, the sample was reloaded into the core holder at 180°F. Alternating cycles of mineral oil, 2% KCl, and then mineral oil again were injected. Differential pressure and flow rate were recorded and the permeability was calculated. The sample was unloaded from the core holder and subjected to a second 15-minute treatment. The sample was reloaded into the core holder at 180°F and alternating cycles of mineral oil and 2% KCl were injected. Differential pressure and flow rate were recorded, and the permeability was calculated.
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