Numerical study on non-Newtonian Bingham fluid flow in development of heavy oil reservoirs using radiofrequency heating method

Qitao Zhang, Wenchao Liu, Arash Dahi Taleghani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Nowadays, development of heavy oil usually demands massive hot water injection and meanwhile produces considerable carbon footprint. Radiofrequency (RF) heating, as a “Non-aqueous” method, has potentials to be a cleaner and efficient way for heavy oil development in near future. In this paper, we presented a novel numerical model for simulating non-Newtonian Bingham fluid flow in heavy oil reservoirs based on RF heating. Compared to previous studies, this paper focuses on issues including: (1) Application of RF heating in heavy oil reservoir; (2) Non-Darcy flow induced by threshold pressure gradient (TPG) of Bingham fluid; (3) Temperature dependent TPG and viscosity; (4) Two-way coupling between non-Darcy flow, transient heat transfer and electromagnetic (EM) field. To incorporate TPG in numerical analyses, an effective method was utilized by modifying the gravitational acceleration vector in Darcy's law. This method was verified with analytical solution. By doing this, the induced moving boundary by TPG can be simulated, and pressure-disturbed area can be determined. Results show that RF heating significantly mitigates the impediment induced by TPG and high viscosity near well. The moving boundary stops motion at around 1000th day of production and the extreme disturbed distance is 63 m. Besides, it is found that no matter whether TPG is considered or not, RF heating has a positive impact on the reservoir development. However, for the production time less than 1000 days, RF heating is more effective when TPG is considered. Finally, we also found it very necessary to incorporate TPG in the simulations to determine optimal well spacing. If TPG is neglected in kinematic equation, the optimal well spacing would be overestimated by over 50%. At the same time, the change of TPG value with temperature cannot be ignored. Otherwise, the optimal well spacing would be underestimated by 15%. This paper reveals the potentials of RF heating method for non-Newtonian Bingham fluid production and provides an alternative way for clean, environmental, and highly efficient development of heavy oil reservoir.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122385
StatePublished - Jan 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Pollution
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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