Test heats bitumen with radio waves

A group including three oil producers claims success in tests of a method for producing heavy oil with electrical heat from radio waves followed by solvent injection.

A group including three oil producers claims success in tests of a method for producing heavy oil with electrical heat from radio waves followed by solvent injection.

Tests at Suncor Energy’s Steepbank mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., confirmed the ability to generate, propagate, and distribute electromagnetic heat in an oil sands formation, the group said.

The method is called Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating (ESEIEH). It uses antenna technology developed by Harris Corp. to heat oil sands in conjunction with injection of an oil solvent to dilute and mobilize bitumen.

The group plans a field pilot next year. Members in addition to Suncor and Harris are Laricina Energy, Nexen Inc., and Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp.

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