Table of Contents
Journal of Petroleum Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 476519, 7 pages
Review Article

Electromagnetic Heating of Heavy Oil and Bitumen: A Review of Experimental Studies and Field Applications

1Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3116 TAMU-407 Richardson Building, College Station, TX, USA
2Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, 65 Leninsky Prospekt, Moscow, Russia

Received 11 December 2012; Revised 6 March 2013; Accepted 11 March 2013

Academic Editor: Jorge Ancheyta

Copyright © 2013 Albina Mukhametshina and Elena Martynova. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Viscosity is a major obstacle in the recovery of low API gravity oil resources from heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs. While thermal recovery is usually considered the most effective method for lowering viscosity, for some reservoirs introducing heat with commonly implemented thermal methods is not recommended. For these types of reservoirs, electromagnetic heating is the recommended solution. Electromagnetic heating targets part of the reservoir instead of heating the bulk of the reservoir, which means that the targeted area can be heated up more effectively and with lower heat losses than with other thermal methods. Electromagnetic heating is still relatively new and is not widely used as an alternate or addition to traditional thermal recovery methods. However, studies are being conducted and new technologies proposed that could help increase its use. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the recovery of heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs by electromagnetic heating through the review of existing laboratory studies and field trials.