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STAR - A Smart Technology for Maximizing the Value of Heavy Oil Reservoirs

Pantin, Ronald; Rojas, Luis; Fuenmayor, Mac1; and Farouq Ali, Syed
1[email protected]

In Situ Combustion (ISC) is a very effective process for recovering mobile heavy oils, especially under conditions of a water drive, or high water saturation, where steam injection may not be feasible. It also allows for the use of large well spacing’s. But, on the basis of nearly 250 field projects of ISC, process control is the main problem that made many of the projects unprofitable even when most of them produced 20-50% incremental oil.

Process control, using Pacific Rubiales STARTM (Synchronized Thermal Additional Recovery) technology, involves several actions: (1) Sensing the combustion zone advance in different direction at real time and distance and correcting (2) Integrating production and injection rates, simulation results, geomechanical measurements, 4-D seismic, and downhole temperature and pressure data, for optimum performance, and (3) foreseeing and correcting reservoir problems before they occur. This paper discusses the implementation of the STAR technology as being applied in the Quifa ISC project. But, it could be readily applied to other thermal recovery methods such as steam injection. Well design and elements of STAR technology are discussed. Project design, laboratory work, numerical simulation, and field implementation are described. Also mentioned, are the potential problems that may occur, and how the STAR technology addresses them.

Application of STAR technology in the Quifa pilot project involves two sets of wells: four instrumented internal wells called STAR synchronizing wells, and four instrumented outside main production wells. These are equipped with short inclined segments pointing away from the air injection well situated at equidistant distance. The overall pattern size is 21 acres, where a high recovery factor is expected in a very short term. The project is in the start-up phase.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90166©2013 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Cartagena, Colombia, 8-11 September 2013