The presence of producible hydrocarbons in Orinoco Tar Belt of Eastern Venezuela was confirmed as early as 1936. Today this accumulation is thought to contain more than 1.2 trillion barrels of heavy and extra heavy oil in a giant stratigraphic trap 320 miles long by 40 miles wide. Even though this region has a tremendous volume of oil it has remained marginally cost effective to produce due to the significant costs of development. Using the latest technology and innovative techniques the Hamaca Project, centrally located in the Orinoco Tar Belt, will be able to effectively and economically develop a portion of these reserves.

The Hamaca area covers some 250 square miles and Petrolera Ameriven has a commitment to develop and produce the 165,000 acres defined under the association agreement at a rate of 190,000 BOPD for the life of this project. The oil, when cooled and degasified, resembles more a tar or asphalt that one would use to pave a road than the oil you would put in your crankcase. Adding to the complexity of this project is that the major reservoirs within the field were deposited in major low stand and transgressive systems tracts, comprised of meandering fluvial to fluvial-tidal deltaic deposits.

Hamaca utilized a system of LWD, satellite links, continuous updating and real-time visualization to assess and mitigate risks while drilling. This system allowed extremely accurate placement of the shoe in the build sections, for real-time directional control in the laterals and has multi-rig capability allowing for better utilization of resources. Some examples of the situations encountered and their remedies were: the identification of sand/shale interfaces and the redirection of the bit, non-pay zones were identified and avoided and planned well paths revised to encounter better pay.

The methodologies developed along with the technology used were effective in minimizing developmental costs that greatly enhanced the financial viability of the project.

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