Heavy oils are characterized by high viscosities (i.e. resistance to flow) and high densities compared to conventional oil therefore they require the evaluation of specialized production methods with a systemic approach, since each one is a combination of technologies that works together as a system with the mission of improving recovery of hydrocarbons in an economical, safely and environmentally friendly manner. The probability that a heavy oil well will be constructed and will operate to achieve technical and economical objectives within the framework of an enhanced oil recovery plan is the product of the well construction project and well operational effectiveness.
The approach presented in this paper to assess production technologies requires whole life cycle asset analysis to account for uncertainties, risks and reliability in a reservoir-well-surface production system model representing all potential cause effect relations and failure modes to identify the origin of future potential production problems and its classification based on availability of data and the use of analogs for each decision category.
The proposed approach has eight processes: 1) Data gathering and reliability analysis, 2) identification of uncertainties, 3) Determination of potential production problems and risks, 4) Identification and analysis of causes of problems at reservoir level, well drainage area and surface 5) Definition of corrective and preventive actions and associated cost and time implications, 6) selection of production technologies options and scenarios, 7) Stochastic modeling of costs, cycle time, resources and system effectiveness for each scenario and 8) Solution design with the required actions for controlling or handling production problems during the life cycle of the field.
The solution is modeled with systems dynamics or stochastic simulation to calibrate life cycle costs, benefits, cycle time and required resources and data acquisition to close the loop during the life cycle of the field.
Two heavy oil field examples undergoing appraisal and development are used to illustrate how this approach allows for multiple scenarios with combination of options for key decision variables to generate a robust business case during visualization of production response of heavy oil well construction projects.