Improving hydrocarbon recovery from reservoirs needs both a better understanding of fluid flow through the reservoir porous media and new technologies. This paper addresses the later.

Early steam breakthrough, unknown heat distribution and existing exploitation policies inhibit recovery of the remaining reserve of millions of barrels of heavy oil. Integrated reservoir studies and numerical simulations results indicated that proper reservoir management practices such as, reservoir monitoring, heat management, and reservoir characterization can improve final recovery.

In order to better manage heat distribution in heavy oil reservoirs, it is required that vertical and areal distribution of temperature fronts are known.

Permanent well-bore temperature distribution profile was obtained by means of the deployment of a 2,500 ft-long fiber optic cable in two parallel SAGD horizontal wells in Tia Juana field, western Venezuela. A laser bean is sent through the fiber cable and its reflections are collected by a computer, which transforms light reflections into distributed temperature profile information. Distributed temperature profile when compare to resistivity logs easily indicates and correlates which pay zones are being contacted by steam.

Distributed temperature profile information allows reservoir engineers and operators to anticipate which horizons are being swept by steam and which are not. Proper actions on the injection profile can be made in order to improve spatial steam distribution and heat management.

Fiber optics applications also include pipeline monitoring, horizontal well production profiles, electrosubmersible pump monitoring, cross-flow detection, gas lift valve performance, energy management and other general safety application.

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