Definition - What does Thermal Injection mean?
Thermal injection is a process that is frequently used in the oil and gas industry to facilitate oil extraction. During the thermal injection process, heat is introduced to the oil well to reduce its viscosity. Thermal injection can be performed with heated fluids or combustible gases.
Corrosionpedia explains Thermal Injection
Thermal injection introduces heat to an oil well in order to raise its temperature. Raising the temperature of the oil well decreases the viscosity of the oil. This is sometimes necessary to help extract the oil because it may be too thick otherwise. For this reason, thermal injection falls under a category of oil extraction methods known as "enhanced oil recovery."
Thermal injection can be achieved through several means, but there are two that are the most popular.
- Steam flooding involves injecting superheated steam into the oil well. This steam distributes its heat into the well and the viscosity of the oil decreases.
- Flame flooding sends ignited oxygen rich mixtures of combustible gases into the well. The heat from the flames reduces the viscosity of the oil and allows for easier oil extraction.