In 1993 a test program was carried out in California using radiofrequency energy to recover oil from diatomaceous earth. A complete down hole radiofrequency system for low permeability formation was developed. Advanced antenna design was verified and oil recovery was achieved.
Heavy Oil Recovery in Venezuela
In July 2001 Mr. Ray Kasevich was contacted by PDVSA-Intevep, the R&D branch of the Venezuelan National Oil Company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), to discuss the concept of radiofrequency underground heating (RFH) and its possible application for downhole upgrading of Venezuelan heavy oil reservoirs.
Between 2001 and December 2002, a R&D collaboration effort was started to explore the potential opportunities of applying RF heating technology to PDVSA’s heavy oil assets. In March 2002, we visited a field test site located in Nevada, Missouri. During this visit, the state of the development of the RF technology was demonstrated and the plans to apply this technology in Venezuelan heavy oil fields were drawn.
During the rest of 2002, a conceptual design for a field test in the Laguna Reservoir, located at East Maracaibo Lake, was developed. This reservoir is composed of shallow oil, containing sands that cannot be steamed due to possible contamination of nearby aquifers and irruptions to surface. For this reason, RF technology presented as an excellent candidate for the exploitation of this important PDVSA asset. Negotiations for the detailed design, construction and the RF field test plan were in progress until the national strike and the following reorganization of PDVSA stopped these efforts.