The Cerro Negro project, located in the Orinoco oil belt of Eastern Venezuela, first began in 1997 with the drilling of an appraisal program and the longest horizontal section ever drilled in Venezuela. This startup led to a 1½ year drilling campaign that resulted in 121 drilled and completed wells, and up to 129,000 BOPD (UCO) flowing down the pipeline. New technologies in drilling, completion, and artificial lift were applied to extended reach horizontal wells to efficiently develop the Cerro Negro field. Applications of these technologies include: 1) development of two fit- for-purpose rigs capable of skidding between well slots and spudding a new well in 1½ hrs; 2) implementation of a stratigraphic well program to define difficult geologic targets utilizing a coil tubing drilling unit; 3) development plans for 2-D and 3-D wells drilled as stacked forks into three distinct reservoir sands; 4) application of the latest geosteering technology; and 5) development of high capacity progressing cavity pumps for artificial lift. The concept of a learning curve approach was also implemented by setting target and stretch performance goals for the project. Key success factors for the program include a strong communication system between the operator and all suppliers, continuity of services and manpower supporting engineering and operations including dedicated equipment and an inhouse directional drilling representation, continuous improvement of operations, and application of dynamic benchmarking concepts. This program has achieved a 30% reduction in drilling and completion (D&C) costs and a 38% reduction in D&C time.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.