Heavy Oil production has been subject of extended research and technological developments during the past 3 decades. These difficult resources have been economically produced by different methods thanks to new technologies and the adoption of best practices to achieve successful projects. However, other production methods have risen directly in the field by trial and error. This is the case of the cold heavy oil production with sands “CHOPS” which is an extended production practice mainly in Lloydminster, Canada. This method have make possible to produce thin sands at economical rates using big hole perforations in vertical wells without sand control. By letting the sand be produced in conjunction with the oil, the so called “wormholes” can be created within the reservoir. These wormholes are structures of about 1 inch diameter that can reach several meters of length beyond the producing well. These high conductive channels help supporting a sustained oil rate for several years using PCP pumps.

The formation of wormholes has already been technically proved during cold production tests carried out in a thin heavy oil bearing sand located in Llanos basin, Colombia. During this test, there was observed communication with another well 25 meters apart from the tested well. Light weight ceramic proppant used to gravel packed the nearby well has migrated to the producing well after sand production. The migration throughout the porous medium of man-made ceramic whit a diameter higher than 1000 microns evidences the creation of high-conductive channels or wormholes. Since then, the potential for CHOPS in this reservoir has been analyzed. The production potential under cold production with sand is studied by analogs and numerical simulation. Factors affecting the operational model needed to achieve a successful project are analyzed.

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