Downhole Heating System Increases Production in CA Stripper Wells

Key Challenges

Some of the largest heavy oil reserves in the continental United States are located in California's Central Valley oilfields north of Los Angeles. The reservoirs in this area are estimated to be a 40-billion-barrel resource, primarily of heavy crude approximating 13 to 9 API located in shallow reservoirs not deeper than 2,300 ft (701 m) in depth. Pentair Thermal Management has been supplying PetroTrace Heating Systems to oil companies in this region since 2005.


Pentair Thermal Management engineered a PetroTrace Mineral Insulated (MI) Downhole Heating System for these onshore low-flow, shallow wells to deliver bottom-hole type heat to improve the mobility of oil in the near wellbore area and allow for an increase in production.

The PetroTrace Downhole heating system supplied produced 27 kW of energy in the pay zone at 600 V. The Downhole heaters were secured to a stinger pipe below the pump that contained several passes of MI cable, producing a power density of 300 W/ft.

The supplied system included a control panel for ease of operation and the monitoring of temperature and current. To allow the client to confirm target temperatures along the length of the heated section, multiple sensing thermocouples were installed to provide temperature measurement.


The products utilized for this flow assurance  project include Pyrotenax Mineral Insulated (MI) Heating Cable for bottom-hole heat, and Raychem Bottom-Hole Heating (BHH) Control Panels.


Production increased from 3 BOPD to over 20 BOPD, resulting in a payback of less than four months.