Early Results of the First Large-Scale Steam Soak Project in the Tia Juana Field, Western Venezuela
- H.J. De Haan (Compania Shell de Venezuela, Ltd.) | J. Van Lookeren (Compania Shell de Venezuela, Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 101 - 110
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 5.4.6 Thermal Methods, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.6 Natural Gas, 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.6.8 Well Performance Monitoring, Inflow Performance, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 2 Well Completion, 4.3.4 Scale
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Well inflow performance and production mechanisms are discussed for a 74-well steam soak project in a reservoir containing 10 to 14 deg. API oil On the basis of the results obtained so far, a significant increase in ultimate recovery is expected for injection of relatively small amounts of steam.
In view of their size and favorable characteristics, Shell's heavy-oil fields on the eastern coast of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela-known as the "Bolivar Coast" - are obvious candidates for the application of thermal recovery methods. During the last decade various methods have been tested, such as steam drive, steam soak and in-situ combustion.
Steam soak was discovered as a promising production method rather accidentally in 1969, during early steam drive testing in the Mene Grande Tar Sands. When steam erupted at the surface due to breakdown of the overburden, the injection wells were backflowed to relieve the reservoir pressure. This resulted in high oil production rates, all the more impressive because the reservoir is unproducible by primary means. It was concluded that injection of limited amounts of steam might be a very effective method for stimulation of heavy-oil wells. To obtain information that would be more widely applicable, testing of the process was continued in the eastern part of the Tia Juana field (Fig. 1). Here even more favorable results were obtained in Mene Grande. This created sufficient confidence to prompt a large-scale project, which was considered essential for an adequate evaluation of ultimate recovery, steam requirements, mechanical problems and economic prospects.
To obtain an early answer on the ultimate recovery a fairly depleted area was selected in the western part of the same field ("A" in Fig. 1). The first steam was injected in March, 1964. This paper describes the performance until the end of 1966. The production mechanism and well inflow performance are discussed in some detail.
In view of the favorable results obtained so far, steam soak operations have expanded considerably since the start of this project. Presently, five other projects are under way, of which two are about the same size as the one under discussion, with further extensions being programmed.
Description of the Project Reservoir Data
Shell's part of the Main Tia Juana reservoir has a proven area of 8,800 acres and an average net oil sand thickness of 130 ft, It contained an initial quantity of 2,750 million bbl of stock tank oil (STOIIP), with an API gravity ranging from 10 to 15 deg. API and a viscosity of 100 to 10,000 cp (at 122F). As a geological unit it is known locally as the Lower Lagunillas member of the Lagunillas formation, which is early Miocene in age. The sand bodies are believed to be distributary channel sands deposited in a lower coastal plain. Most of the channel sands have lateral and some vertical communication.
The field was developed mainly in the period from 1936 to 1950. The ultimate primary recovery is estimated at 18.1 percent of STOIIP, of which 12.5 percent STOIIP had been produced by the end of 1963 from some 540 wells.
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