Case Studies of Heavy Oil Reservoirs: South Belridge Field, California
Connie L. Mongold and Malcolm E. Allan
Aera Energy LLC, Bakersfield, CA
The South Belridge giant oil field of California hosts the Miocene to Pleistocene age Tulare and Reef Ridge Formations which have been producing heavy oil by a variety of continuous and cyclic steaming methods since the 1960s. Reservoir characterization is a constant process but the techniques used and the results obtained have steadily been refined and changed with increased knowledge and increased performance of evaluation methods. Reservoir characterization in this field has gone from basic electric logs, paper cross sections, hand-contoured maps, and vertical wells to complex suites of open- and cased-hole logs, 3D imaging, and steered horizontal wells. Evaluation of recently discovered reservoirs or those still in the early stages of development as in Alberta can skip directly to modern techniques. However, mature reservoirs like those at South Belridge read like history textbooks with successive generations of “new techniques” that have been used to fine-tune the reservoir characterization work.
We will open these history textbooks with selected examples using petrophysics, core analysis, and 3D models to see how excellence in the fundamentals of geology and engineering coupled with maximum reuse of existing knowledge result in these heavy oil reservoirs at South Belridge still being actively and very economically exploited.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90075©2008 AAPG Hedberg Conference, Banff, Alberta, Canada