A method for treating a tar sands formation includes providing heat to at least part of a hydrocarbon layer in the formation from a plurality of heaters located in the formation. The heat is allowed to transfer from the heaters to at least a portion of the formation. A viscosity of one or more zones of the hydrocarbon layer is assessed. The heating rates in the zones are varied based on the assessed viscosities. The heating rate in a first zone of the formation is greater than the heating rate in a second zone of the formation if the viscosity in the first zone is greater than the viscosity in the second zone. Fluids are produced from the formation through the production wells.
The Government has certain rights in the invention pursuant to Agreement Nos. SD 10634 and NFE 062050824 between Sandia National Laboratories (operating under Agreement DE-AC04-94AL85000Sa for the U.S. Department of Energy) and Shell Exploration and Production Company.