Producing oil and gas at the Lost Hills Field in central California has always been a challenge. Although the reserves are significant, production is hampered by low matrix permeability and unusual mechanical properties in the diatomite (marine mudstone/siltstone) reservoir. Since 1911 operators have struggled with methods to improve production, control local subsidence and well failure, and improve recovery that presently is projected to be less than 10%.

ChevronTexaco is pilot testing a variety of technologies to improve both production and overall recovery at Lost Hills. In the enhanced recovery pilot a new well spacing is being tested in addition to...

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