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Belridge Giant Oil Field -- It keeps on going and going . . . .

Malcolm E. Allan, Michelle Glascock, and David M. Miner
Aera Energy LLC, 10000 Ming Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93311

The Belridge giant oil field is an elongated, faulted anticline aligned NW/SE on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, California. It has produced more then 1.2 billion BO & 1.05 billion CFG since being discovered in 1911. Current daily production is about 105 MB of oil and 54 MMCF of gas from 6730 wells draining three separate reservoirs. The Pleistocene Tulare Formation produces heavy oil via steam flood from fluvio-deltaic sands. The Miocene Reef Ridge & Antelope Formations produce light oil from deep marine diatomites via hydraulic fractures. The Eocene to early Miocene Temblor (sub-Monterey) Formation produces light oil and gas from various marine sandstones. Each reservoir has a different geological setting, development history, production mechanism, and depletion plan. All three still have significant remaining oil-in-place and potential for reserves growth. Aera Energy LLC (a company owned jointly by Shell & ExxonMobil) currently produces about 90% of the field’s production and has been drilling 400-600 new or replacement wells per year. Each reservoir is split into various zones to handle the stratigraphic complexity. As each reservoir produces via a different mechanism and production method, there has to be synergy between the various surface and subsurface teams operating the field even though each well only produces from a single reservoir In order to maintain production and cost targets, field operations must run smoothly. Aera’s 5 drilling rigs, 3 completion rigs, and 15 workover rigs have a constant appetite for new wells and remedial work for existing wells. To keep up with this demand, the geologic & reservoir management processes have been stream-lined and extensive use is made of 3D geological models. The scale of the field and the immense amount of hard data (historical & modern) that needs to be interpreted for effective reservoir management cause unique problems and opportunities that require efficient and streamlined processess


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90076©2008 AAPG Pacific Section, Bakersfield, California