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3-D Geological Modeling and Horizontal Drilling Bring More Oil Out of the 68-Year-Old Wilmington Oil Field of Southern California

Donald D. Clarke
Donald D. Clarke
City of Long Beach Department of Oil Properties 211 East Ocean Blvd. Suite 500 Long Beach, California 90802
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Christopher C. Phillips
Christopher C. Phillips
Tidelands Oil Production Company 301 East Ocean Blvd. Suite 300 Long Beach, California 90802
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December 01, 2000


The giant Wilmington oil field of Los Angeles County California, on production since 1932, has produced over 2.5 billion barrels of oil from Pliocene and Miocene age basin turbidite sands. The seven productive zones were subdivided into 52 subzones through detailed reservoir characterization to better define the actual hydrologic units. The asymmetrical anticline is highly faulted and development proceeded from west to east through each of the ten fault blocks. In the western fault blocks water cuts exceed 96% and the reservoirs are near the economic limit. Several new technologies have been applied to specific areas to improve the production efficiencies and thus prolong the field life.

Tertiary and secondary recovery techniques utilizing steam have proven successful in the heavy oil reservoirs but potential subsidence has limited its application. Case history 1 involves detailed reservoir characterization and optimization of a steam flood in the Tar Zone, Fault Block II. Lessons learned were successfully applied in the Tar Zone, Fault Block V (4000 meters to the East). Case history 2 focuses on 3-D reservoir property and geological modeling to define and exploit bypassed oil. Case history 3 describes how this technology is brought deeper into the formation to capture bypassed oil with a tight radius horizontal well.

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Figures & Tables



Deep-Water Reservoirs of the World

Paul Weimer
Paul Weimer
Houston, Texas
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
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Publication date:
December 01, 2000




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