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Use Of 3D Reservoir Characterization to Plan and Implement Horizontal Heavy Oil Development of the Tulare Reservoir South Belridge Field, California

R. P. Fairman Jr.
Bakersfield, CA

In 1997–1998 Mobil Exploration and Producing U.S. Inc. and its successor company in California, Aera Energy LLC, began development of the thinner net pay edges in the Tulare reservoir at the South Belridge Field. Use of 3D seismic data integrated into a 3D reservoir model developed in Earth Vision improved reservoir characterization which enhanced both the program design and implementation. The Block VII development targeted multiple stacked individual sands, sometimes less than 10' thick, with 46 horizontal wells grouped and drilled along 7 separate lateral paths. Use of the detailed 3D model, coupled with contractor/operator alliancing, resulted in significantly reduced sidetracks while maintaining maximum reservoir penetration and wellbore placement. This resulted in a significant cost reduction to drill each horizontal well, and proved the technology to target increasingly thin net pay intervals on the flanks of the field that might not be economic with a conventional vertical well drilling program. A brief history of the Tulare development will be discussed along with a more detailed review of the Block VII reservoir characterization, horizontal well planning, and program implementation.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90904©2001 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Universal City, California