Challenging aspects to heavy oil field development are the large volume of data which is collected, in particular from cored evaluation wells, and the difficulty in evaluating of the quality of such data. This paper outlines an approach to summarize coring data and procedures from two heavy oil fields in North Kuwait, and then to compare those summaries with similar heavy oil operations in other countries, in order assess their quality and degree of representativeness.

For two North Kuwait heavy oil fields, data was tabulated for the cumulative amounts of core cut and recovered relative to their field areas. This data was then further analyzed to summarize recovery by rock type, and assess the quality and quantity of plug samples collected. Benchmarks were established by summarizing core data from similar heavy oil operations in other countries, and the North Kuwait heavy oil data was then compared with those benchmarks. In a similar manner, documented core handling procedures for North Kuwait Heavy Oil operations were compared with procedures from similar heavy oil operations in other countries.

The benchmarks which were used to compare North Kuwait Heavy Oil data summaries with other countries include the following: 1) Coring Well Area Coverage Densities; 2) Coring Well Vertical Coverage of Cap Rock and Reservoir Intervals; 3) Core Plug Sample Rate and Survival Rate; and 4) Core Handling Procedures and Volume of Coring.

For many of the benchmarks used, North Kuwait heavy oil operations compare favorably with similar operations from other countries. However areas of improvement were identified from these benchmarks in terms of areal core coverage, vertical core coverage, core plug rates and core handling procedures. It is expected that these improvements, when implemented, will lead to a more representative sampling of the areas and rock types (reservoir rocks, baffles and cap rocks) in North Kuwait. This in turn should lead to a better understanding of fluid volumetrics, reservoir characterization and subsequent life of field development. As well by applying a focused approach to future coring operations, a significant cost savings is expected relative to original evaluation well plans.

A significant product from this study is a large summary database of all coring information for two North Kuwait heavy oil fields, which can be queried by area, rock type and sample type. This data base has been compared with similar operations in other countries using a series of benchmarks. Planned future coring and sampling operations have been modified through the use of this benchmarking tool.

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