OMV has ambitious plans for expanded operations in New Zealand. At its Maari oilfield, OMV New Zealand is using electric downhole heaters from Tyco Thermal Controls.
Photo copyright of OMV Exploration & Production GmbH

Two offshore wells in the Maari oilfield operated by OMV New Zealand have begun production using electric downhole heaters from Tyco Thermal Controls, Menlo Park, Calif.

Tyco began working with OMV in 2005 to design, supply and provide field installation supervision for a downhole heating system to be used for flow assurance in offshore wells at the oilfield. Tyco's PetroTrace STSi electric downhole heater system was selected specifically because it mitigates wax buildup in a well's production tube to keep the extraction process moving.

Tyco is known for its expertise with downhole oil production and complete heat management systems, says Tyco's Dave Parman, director of technical development. "We were able to provide a complete solution to OMV as well as make product adaptations for their specific situation."

The system consists of 1.49-mile-long skin-effect coiled tube heaters installed within the well's production tube. Traditionally, such systems are installed outside of the production tube. The new installation method, which provides for maximum heat transfer and installation ease, is appropriate for wells with heavier oils or waxy/paraffinic issues that require more heat. Such systems can benefit from heat-tracing systems installed internally to the production tube.

"While supplying downhole heating systems is not new to Tyco Thermal Controls, this is an exciting time when technological advancements allow the development and better production in challenging oilfields that would have been considered non-viable in the past," says Julie Ahner, Tyco's global marketing manager for strategic business units. "This can even allow for abandoned fields to be reopened and produce economically."