In 1997, the commercial development of the large Heavy & Extra Heavy Oil (HO & EHO) resources of the Orinoco Belt (7 to 12° API/Estimated 297 Bbbl of Recoverable Crude Oil) was initiated. Petropiar (a JV between Chevron & PDVSA), was one the first project in the area, and until today it is considered as a reference when it comes to developing the most recently allocated blocks in the area.

After more than 10 years of intensive production programs, some fields are showing signs of depletion and associated production of gas is increasing. In order to improve oil recovery factor, several operators in Orinoco Belt are interested in Thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (TEOR) projects. In thermal projects, Artificial Lift Systems must be able to operate in cold and hot conditions, reducing workover intervention and associated production losses. PCM, who is involved in supplying Progressing Cavity Pumps technologies to the Orinoco belt since the very beginning, has developed the exclusive & patented PCM VULCAIN™ (All Metal PCP) technology in order to extend the use of PCP technology on these kind of projects; where no elastomer PCP can perform.

In 2011, a project was launched in collaboration with Petropiar optimization department in order to validate PCM Vulcain™ technology in cold and gassy conditions in this field. 2 × 80V1000 PCM VULCAIN™ pumps were installed in selected wells.

Following the demonstration of the PCM Vulcain™ ability to maintain a high hydraulic efficiency under variable conditions of temperature & viscosities (SPE97796) and the subsequent development of the PCM Vulcain™ in TEOR (WHOC11-578), this paper presents how the PCM Vulcain™ technology adapts to the specific Orinoco Belt environment, and what this technology could bring to further development of this heavy oil basin in EOR projects.

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