The development of the Orinoco extra heavy oil belt (Faja Petrolifera), known as the largest extra-heavy (8.5°API) hydrocarbon accumulation in the world, has become a major goal for the Venezuelan oil industry in the next decade.

The Cerro Negro area, contains 213 billion stb and the current estimation for the primary recovery factor is 12% of the stock-tank original oil in place (STOIIP).

Following the exploratory campaign, in the early eighties, three pilot projects were initiated (0-16, J-20 and K-20) in the Cerro Negro Area. These pilots consist of patterns of vertical producing wells and clusters of highly deviated wells with different spacing, completion type, sand control, stimulation (huff and puff) and lifting process. Furthermore, since 1990 two horizontal wells were drilled, evaluated and monitored in cold production, using the neighboring vertical wells.

The acquisition of an exceptionally large data set in the exploration/appraisal step (207 wells) and the three pilot projects (155 wells) not only provided a unique opportunity for thorough study each of the relevant disciplines involved in the reservoir management and production facilities design, but also promoted a set of new technologies to be applied in the design of the commercial development of these prolific extra heavy reservoirs.

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