Heavy oil production poses multiple challenges on oil companies such as intricate operations (complexity), high operational costs (efficiency control), and solutions for high viscosity and low API fluids (specific technology). This paper describes the technical workflows implemented in a heavy oil field located in the Middle Magdalena Valley basin in Colombia to assist in the complexity of an operation where cyclic steam injection is applied.
The complexity of producing heavy oil is due to its high viscosity at repository conditions, which limits the mobility of the fluid and the draining effect to a relative small area around the wellbore, thus it is required an infrastructure that involves many wells, flowlines, manifolds, and facilities to produce this type of crude oil. To support the surveillance and the technical decision-making processes in an operation with more than 300 wells, effective workflows were designed and implemented with the aims to eliminate mistaken decisions, optimize resources, and contribute to cost optimization.
The algorithms, foundation of these workflows, are presented with the analysis of different elements taken into consideration during the technical design process, such as well intervention program, field infrastructure, daily reports, and current well parameters. Additionally, four specific targets are discussed: Heat injection surveillance, which follows program plan vs current execution, including the calculation of heat values from operational conditions (pressure, steam quality, mass rate, and running time); Well test schedule, which organizes the wells test plan in a hierarchy considering flowline connections, well services plan, and priority well list (time since last test, wells with abnormal behavior); Dinalog plan, which is the foundation for artificial lift control; Steam injection scheme, which creates a suggested ranking of wells requiring steam stimulation based on current conditions (Wcut, WHT, production rate), time since last stimulation, and steam/oil ratio.
The developed workflows are applicable in both heavy oil fields, and light oil fields with a large number of wells, and they can be a valuable foundation for digital oil fields providing support for technical management and contributing to resolve the challenges of a vast operation.