BJ Services Taps Electromagnetic Energy to Remedy Wells

BJ Services has launched a new technology that can boost production in underproducing and plugged wells using a combination of electromagnetic wave frequencies to affect downhole molecular bonding. The patent-pending EcoWave™ treatment service transmits high-frequency radio waves and microwaves into the wellbore at low power to remove and inhibit organic deposition and improve reservoir wettability. Results from more than 60 applications in the U.S. indicate near-wellbore damage removal and increased production for up to three months per treatment.

"EcoWave technology is unlike any stimulation treatment in its simplicity," said Fred Toney, Vice President for Chemical Services, BJ Services. "It requires no chemicals, no pumping equipment and no large crews on location. It relies almost entirely on electromagnetic waves to alter downhole fluid characteristics in flowing and pump-assisted wells. The economic benefits can be significant because lifting costs are reduced, while increasing hydrocarbon production."

Targeting Undesirable Chemical Bonds

BJ Services' custom-built EcoWave system includes a frequency generator/amplifier, a portable power source and an antenna. The antenna is deployed inside the tubing or the annulus of the well through the wellhead. As electromagnetic energy is transmitted at low power levels through the antenna and into the wellbore, the proper combination of wave frequencies alters the proton and electron spin cycles of deposits.

The directed waves of energy inhibit agglomeration, simplifying the removal of paraffin and related organic deposits from the wellbore. Treatment times range from 30 minutes to two hours.

Inherent Environmental and Safety Benefits

Along with the economic benefits, EcoWave technology provides environmental and safety advantages by supplanting more invasive stimulation techniques. The service specifically removes the need for batch chemicals, continuous chemical treatments, and hot oil and water applications to remediate wells. As related safety and environmental risks are reduced, the well remains free of risks associated with potentially damaging interactions between incompatible formation fluids and downhole chemical systems.

Case Studies Reveal Production Increases of More Than 120 Percent

BJ Services successfully completed multiple EcoWave service field tests in the U.S. and has recorded production increases from 20 to more than 120 percent compared with chemically treated offset wells. One operator in northeastern Utah agreed to use EcoWave technology for 11 wells with paraffin deposition. Downhole deposits plagued one of the wells, causing the pump to become stuck in the wellbore and shutting down production entirely. BJ performed a two-hour EcoWave service treatment, enabling the operator to regain control of the pump and continue production from the well.

In another instance, BJ Services crews treated two wells near Hobbs, New Mexico, using EcoWave technology to replace traditional hot oil treatments. Oil production initially increased 57 percent and 126 percent in the two wells, respectively, then stabilized for several months. By comparison, a chemically treated offset well recorded a slight increase to mostly steady production.

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