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The Urdaneta West Field is located on the western margin of Lake Maracaibo in northern Venezuela. Biodegraded oil (12–15° API) is reservoired in Tertiary sandstones and produced through a series of lateral wells. The productive sandstones of the Icotea and Misoa Formations are thin, calculated as 0.5–4.5 m (1.5–15 ft) vertical thickness, and of limited lateral extent. This heterogeneity, coupled with heavy oil, results in poor fluid communication and low recovery efficiency. During 2004, a full field review was undertaken to address future development. Despite production from the Icotea and Misoa Formations, subsurface uncertainty was identified as a major issue due to the clustered nature of field development, complex depositional and structural environments, and reservoir fluid characteristics. In order to rank and mitigate reservoir uncertainties, a series of static models were built. The first phase of static modelling used a simple structural framework and reservoir interval averages to generate minimum, mid- and maximum volume cases. Dynamic simulation of these identified two major areas of uncertainty impacting oil-in-place and productivity – net sandbody connectivity and hydrocarbon contact. Two further phases of static and dynamic modelling concentrated on evaluating the full range of these uncertainties within a detailed structural framework.

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