Petrolera Ameriven (PA), an operating agent owned by Phillips Petroleum Company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. and ChevronTexaco, is developing the Hamaca extra-heavy crude oil project in the Orinoco heavy oil belt of Venezuela. This project encompasses a development area of more than 250 sq. mi. and will produce more than two billion barrels of 8 API crude and upgrade it into a 26 API product over the 35-year project life.

Numerous single and multi-lateral horizontal well designs have been employed in the initial drilling phase and many of these wells have employed the use of openhole "fishbones". The paper discusses the performance of the various well types and outlines PA’s criteria and strategy for future well designs. Also discussed are the history of the Hamaca development, the use of real-time openhole log data superimposed on 2D and 3D seismic displays for geo-steering and the evolving development strategy of the Hamaca project.

The Hamaca project is the fourth in a series of large scale integrated extra-heavy crude production and upgrading projects being developed in the Orinoco heavy oil belt. An extensive front-end engineering and facility design effort was used to optimize project performance. Through use of the latest technological developments and application of best practices from other Faja heavy oil projects, the field is being successfully developed with an aggressive project schedule.

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