New Progress and Technological Challenges in the Integral Development of the Faja Petrolifera del Orinoco, Venezuela
Teófilo Villarroel, Adriana Zambrano, Rolando Garcia, 2013. "New Progress and Technological Challenges in the Integral Development of the Faja Petrolifera del Orinoco, Venezuela", Heavy-oil and Oil-sand Petroleum Systems in Alberta and Beyond, Frances J. Hein, Dale Leckie, Steve Larter, John R. Suter
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The Orinoco oil belt is located along the southern margin of the Eastern Venezuela Basin, parallel to the Orinoco river. The estimated 310 billion bbl of recoverable oil match the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The area is divided into four zones that include four projects that convert 8.5 degrees API crude to synthetic crudes of 22 to 32 degrees API at the Jose oil refinery and upgrading complex 200 km (124 mi) to the north. The Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco (FPO or Faja) constitutes the foundation for the future economic and energy development of Venezuela. Currently, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is promoting new developments that are based on growth at a technological level. These new developments will promote medium- and long-term autonomy in generating and managing new products based on the experiences that have been obtained in the fields under development by existing joint ventures and in traditional areas. Petroleos de Venezuela-CVP has always maintained that the extra-heavy oil reserve scenario of this area is very promising. This chapter will present positive effects that recent developments are having on the reserve numbers within the area, including the following factors: (1) original reserve estimates have passed the test of time; (2) newly acquired formation-water geochemical and resistivity data are more favorable; (3) risks posed by the existing regional aquifer are less severe than originally believed; and (4) new drilling and completion techniques will have a significant positive impact on developing the huge oil resources located in thin sands of the upper deltaic successions. The objective of this chapter is to analyze the need for incorporating new technology as a crucial aspect in the exploitation of these extra-heavy oils. A general vision of the lessons learned in the areas currently under development in the FPO is presented. This is in addition to an analysis of the critical aspects to be considered in the application of new technologies for the best characterization and development of the existing resources. The analysis incorporates the lessons learned from the geologic and fluid characterization of the existing reservoirs to the enhanced oil-recovery methods applied to date. The results are used to determine which technologies can feasibly be applied in future developments and the impact that these may have on the profitability of these future ventures in the FPO.