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Technological Developments for Enhancing Extra Heavy Oil Productivity in Fields of the "Faja Petrolifera del Orinoco" (FPO), PDVSA, Venezuela

Villarroel, Teofilo; Hernandez, Ruben D.

The Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco (FPO) is located in the Eastern Venezuela Basin. The 55,000 sq. km. area currently has a certified recoverable oil estimate of 257 billion barrels containing projects with a production totaling 1.2 million BOPD and upgrading facilities that convert the 8.5° crude into oils of 16° to 32° API at the "Jose Upgrading Complex".

Twenty (20) % of this extensive area is being developed using cold production wells with 3,000 - 5,000 foot horizontal extensions, with six new joint venture projects currently in a startup phase. Cold recovery factors are on the order 8 to 12 % due to high viscosities of 2000 - 5000 Cp at reservoir conditions. To facilitate crude transport a 50 ° API naphtha diluent is injected downhole decreasing viscosities and increasing the 8.5 °API crude to 16 °.

At present there is a strong focus on increasing oil production rates from existing fields. Besides providing additional economic benefits this increment allows for lowering reservoir pressures in a shorter time span to provide for an earlier initiation of proposed thermal enhanced recovery projects.

This paper presents an over view of the application of best practices involving the use of the following innovative technological developments and how they are currently enhancing the crude oil productivity in the area: Down Hole Diluent (Naphtha) Injection, Down Hole Electrical Heaters, Injection of Surfactants, Sealing Gels for water entry shut off, "Dewatering" techniques, Use of Azimuthal Resistivity Tool (ADR) for geosteering in thin heterolithic reservoirs. Also, various Enhanced Recovery methods currently in a pilot phase of development such as Viscosity Reducing Polymers and Thermal Techniques such as SAGD, HASD and Controlled Steam Drive.

It is clear that new developments in technology are making the "Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco" (FPO) one of the most important extra heavy oil producing areas in the world.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013