electromagnetic heating

1. n. [Enhanced Oil Recovery]
A process to increase thermal energy in a reservoir using electromagnetic means. The two types of electromagnetic heating are conductive and radio frequency (RF). In conductive heating, a current passes from one electrode through the formation to a second electrode. Electrical resistance of the reservoir brine generates thermal energy, heating the reservoir. In RF heating, transmitters in the wellbore generate electromagnetic waves with frequencies in the microwave range that are directed into the formation. The waves interact with water molecules, generating heat in much the same way a microwave oven does. Since both methods rely on water to transfer thermal energy to the reservoir, higher water saturation increases the efficiency of the heat transfer.