Production Improvement Strategy For Foamy Hamaca Crude Oil: A Field Case.


The purpose of this paper is to show production improvement strategies for Corpoven's MFB-53 extra-heavy and foamy crude oil reservoir, located in the north Hamaca area of the Orinoco Belt in Eastern Venezuela. This study was conducted by a Corpoven-Intevep multidisciplinary team with the support of national and international research centers in the development of a 3D numerical simulation model.

The generation of high-probability production profile has been obtained successfully by understanding foamy behavior and using emerging technologies for artificial lift systems such as Electric submersible pumps in horizontal wells.

Foamy Hamaca crude oil behavior modeling has permitted the understanding of the high productivity found in this reservoir, especially in horizontal wells. With this, a primary recovery factor greater than 10% and an increase in oil reserves of approximately 30% is possible. These results were included in the development of a 3D numerical simulation model.

Matching field experience through 3D Simulation and Geomechanical models provided the definition of new drilling, completion scenarios and an optimum exploitation scheme.

From this study, it was figured out that preliminary cold production with horizontal wells should be used prior to secondary recovery processes to achieve a 30% saving in the overall project cost.


The study area is located in the Bare Block northeast of the Hamaca area, within the Orinoco Belt (Fig. 1). Reservoir exploitation (U sands) began in 1982. It has an extension of 165 km2 and an original oil in place (OOIP) of 2500 MMBLS. The largest extra-heavy crude oil recoverable reserves (250 MMBLS) discovered in North Hamaca belong to this reservoir. As of October 1996, 164 wells have been drilled (45 horizontal and 119 vertical), with an accumulated production of 94 MMBLS (3.8% of OOIP). Reservoir performance has been improved through the use of horizontal wells with an initial production of up to 3000 B/D and an average production of 1500 B/D. Reservoir average pressure has decreased only 100 psia from an original pressure of 1220 psia.

Due to the high productivity index (7 to 12) of horizontal wells, high volume lifting equipment was required in order to handle the produced fluids. Electric submersible pumps have been used successfully, and 56 MBD of the reservoir production are tied to this lifting method.

It is important to mention that Corpoven's heavy/extra heavy oil production forecast is 270 MBD for the year 2005, more than double the current production of 125 MBD. The development of the 3D model backs up the growing potential of Corpoven's expansion program. The main objective of this study is the definition of a production improvement strategy for Foamy Hamaca Crude Oil in Corpoven's MFB-53 reservoir.


The scope of the working plan consisted in analyzing, evaluating and defining the following macro activities:

  1. Detailed characterization of the reservoir;

  2. Establishment of production mechanisms;

  3. Development of predictive field behavior capabilities;

  4. Optimization of artificial lift methods; and

  5. Evaluation of optimum exploitation scenarios.

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