The usefulness of immersion heaters for the oil and gas industries is a well-known fact. The flanged tank heaters are absolutely necessary during the onshore drilling as well as offshore drilling for effective operation of equipment and processing. There are several applications in the drilling operation that may require immersion heaters: enhanced oil recovery, hydraulic fracturing, down-hole heating, and steam-assisted gravity drainage. These are some of the main operations for onshore oil drilling, and require various immersion heaters in several segments of the operation.
The immersion heaters come in several different types depending on the configuration such as flanged immersion heaters, screw plug heaters, circulation oil heaters, over-the-side heaters, or inline heaters. Click here for more details of industrial heaters. They also come in various shapes and sizes for different applications and environments.
The type of heaters most often used in these applications are circulation heaters. WATTCO™ designs the circulation heater to heat the flowing medium using in-line or sidearm piping configurations. The circulation heaters are also called inline heaters because of their configuration shape. They are ideal for processing fluid (including hazardous liquids) that requires immediate heating while maintain the flow rate.
One of the main characteristics of circulation heaters is the efficiency of heat transfer. They are also easy to install and maintain, as well as highly compatible with the current standard industrial piping. Inline heaters are essentially immersion heaters installed inside an anti-corrosion metallic chamber. These flanged heaters are thermally insulated by the inline operation so that the efficiency of the heating process can be increased. It uses heating fluid through the inlet and circulate around the immersion heater until the desired temperature (up to 1,000⁰F) is reached. A precise temperature control is particularly important to keep the viscosity of the chemicals whereas a slight deviation could affect the product’s final yield and purity. In order to maintain the precise temperature control, WATTCO™ uses tools such as resistance temperature detectors (RTD) and thermocouples for their circulation heaters. For additional protection, NEMA-4 and NEMA-7 housings are also available for special applications.
Additionally, drain valves are available on circulation heaters to facilitate maintenance cycle for easy removal of leftover fluid or residues such as water or calcium.
The use of circulation heaters during the onshore drilling operation is mainly applicable for carbon dioxide treating for efficient extraction operation, freeze-protection of tanks and pipes, improving viscosity of crude oil, and steam generation for gravity drainage. All these applications require in common indirect heating techniques for which circulation heaters are most suitable.
In carbon dioxide treating, circulation heaters are used to pre-heat the carbon dioxide gas prior to injection. The freeze protection of tanks and pipes is extremely important. Circulation heaters are used to warm fluids being pumped into various tanks including Frac Tank manifolds. Circulation heaters are also a good choice to keep waxy crude oil viscous for more efficient pumping and distribution.
Circulation heaters are used for operations such as steam-assisted gravity drainage because a precision control of the steam quality is required in the horizontal wells. Circulation heaters are very useful along with SCR power control during extraction of heavy crude oil and bitumen.