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SPE 53944

Hydraulic Units in Traditional Areas of Eastern Venezuela.

M. Rampazzo, G. González, A. Ferrer, A. Iraldi and R. Alvarez. PDVSA EyP.

Copyright 1999, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1999 SPE Latin American and Caribbean Introduction
Petroleum Engineering Conference held in Caracas, Venezuela, 21–23 April 1999.
The traditional oil producing areas, in the Eastern Venezuela
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of basin, like the Greater Oficina and Greater Temblador trends
information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to include about one hundred small and medium fields. There are
correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position
of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE fields, like Mata, Zapatos, Acema, Oritupano, etc. (Fig. 1) that
meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of Petroleum
Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial
globally, still contain important oil reserves, but in most cases,
purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. these reserves are not economic to be produced under the present
Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words;
illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where conditions. Typically, there are more than 50 thin to medium
and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX sand layers present in a gross interval 1500-4000 ft thick, in the
75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
Oficina Formation (Fig. 2), and these sands are considered
Abstract individual reservoirs, so that, according to the present regulation
The highly lenticular character of the reservoir sands present in each layer should be completed/produced individually. The low
the traditional fields of Eastern Venezuela Basin, led to the production that in general those layers show (50-300 STB/D),
establishment of multiple reservoirs, which were completed makes it not profitable to drill a well, and some times even to
individually for exploitation. This production scheme and the work over a wells in those fields.
current low well production rates, result in a low profitability to The exploitation in the Oficina formation began here since
maintain these reservoirs active. For increasing productivity, 1937, when the first discovered well was drilled, and exploration
here it is proposed to complete more than one sand and production continued in the following years, consequently,
simultaneously. many of the fields are very mature, and the main productive
In order to determine the possibility of sand layer sands are partially depleted. As a result, some of these fields are
communication, the information of six different traditional fields already closed (inactive), even thought they still have important
was reviewed, as a result, the Acema Casma area was proposed volumes of reserves. Under these conditions some fields have
as the best area for a pilot project. This project will be used to been given for PDVSA in operation agreements to other
monitor the results of a different completion outline, thus companies. Some of these companies, have successfully change
allowing the establishment of a general plan, to cover other the exploitation outline, and the other companies are looking
fields in the traditional Eastern Basin. forward to changing it.
According to the well simulation analysis the combined In the light of the facts, the one way to make productive
production of more than one sand, allows to produce the reserves these fields is to complete more than one sand, and in order to do
in a shorter time, increasing in a significant way, the Net Present that a serious review should be done. It is necessary to study the
Value, and diminishing the risk of well mechanic damage. One possibility of sand layers communication, that allows to simplify
of the big limitations of this study was the lack of enough completions, and in other cases, when sand layers are not in
reservoir information, for that reason the pilot project includes to communication, it is necessary to study the possibility to
take additional data like well pressure. produce them commingle. In both cases, additional reservoir
Where sand layers are not in communication, commingle information like pressure, core analysis, modern logs,
production should be surely evaluated in the future, whenever, geochemistry analysis etc., is required., in order to perform a
the compatibility of the crudes and the effective production detail reservoir characterization that allows to make the
monitoring is guaranteed. In order to make the appropriate appropriate decision regarding reservoir exploitation.
decision regarding these traditional field exploitation, a detail Here it is presented the results of a study that had allowed the
reservoir characterization, that includes additional data is selection of the best area, among 6 traditional PDVSA fields, for
absolutely necessary.

carrying out a pilot project that evaluate the completion of more porosity can vary from 10%-35% in the same way that
than one sand together. According to the present study this permeability that can be from 50 to 1000 mD.
change would imply important economic benefits that suggested The oils show a wide variety of gravity, from heavy up to
to look for similar opportunities in other reservoirs. light (8°-57° API), but the medium gravity is the more abundant.
The dominant production mechanism is dissolved gas drive
Geological Setting even when there is weak aquifer activity.
The Eastern Venezuela basin located in the northeastern part of
Venezuela includes two subbasins: the Guarico subbasin in the Experiences in the Area
West and the Maturin subbsin in the East. The Greater Oficina As it was already mentioned, all the companies that have
and Greater Temblador trends are located in the southern part of operation agreements with PDVSA for oil exploitation in
the Maturin Subbasin, South of Monagas and Anzoátegui States, traditional areas of the Eastern Basin, are working in similar
at north of Orinoco Belt (Fig. 1). Oil is produced here mainly approach for exploitation plans. Some examples are the
from sandstones within Oficina Formation (Lower Miocene) and following ones: Pérez-Compac, as a result of an integrated
less part from Merecure Formation (Oligocene) (Fig. 2). Oficina study that included the acquiring and analysis of a series of new
Formation, consist of, thin intercalation of sandstone layers and information, developed a new exploitation plan for the
laminated shale. It also occasionally shows coal layer Oritupato-Leona fields and increased considerably their
intercalations that are excellent correlation markers. Most of the production.6 This plan consisted on identify groups of sands that
productive sandstone layers show a very thin character 2-40 ft, could communicate hydraulically. The consortiums Astra
but in some cases these sandstones can be 40-90 ft thick. These Quiamare (Quiamare-La Ceiba area) and Arco/Inelectra (Caki-
layers have been informally named by letters from A-0 to U-1. Maulpa area) and Lasmo (Dación area) are working in pilot
The gross interval can be 1500-4000 ft thick. Oficina Formation projects to exploit commingle sands production. Additionally,
has been interpreted as a complex deltaic sediments.1,2 PDVSA carried out a successful commingle project in some very
Merecure Formation varies a lot in thickness, 250-1500 ft mature reservoirs in the Lake of Maracaibo.7,8
and is overlaying a mayor unconformity over the Cretaceous
sediments2. This unconformity separates the sediments deposited Data Review
in a passive continental margin setting (Lower Cretaceous to Some of the traditional fields are closed (inactive) at the
Middle Eocene), from those sediments deposited during the present, others, even thought are keep producing, do not have
foreland basin, developed due to the Caribbean-South American modern information or studies. Here, six fields (Acema Casma,
plate interactions. The compression/transpression between the Oritupano Norte, Carisito, Zapatos, Acema 200, and Budare)
Caribbean and South American plates caused overthrusting and that show multiple stratification of reservoir sands with low
uplift of the Serranía del Interior. The load represented by the production rates by sand, have been considered for selecting a
accreted allochthonous belt caused the rapid southward shift of pilot study. The main objective of this study was to establish the
the position of the periferical bulge, and also reoriented it to possibility that groups of these sands could be connected and, in
east-west direction3. This event produced a rapid deepening of that way, simplify mechanical completion and increase the
shelf which allowed the deposition of a pile of sediments like production by well.
Oficina Formation, across a wide area3. Sediments show a The characteristics of each field regarding general
general transgressive trend to South between 30 m.y. and 12.5 complexity, mechanical conditions of the wells and available
m.y., after this, a prograding NE trend is observed until 3.8 m.y.4 information related with seismic, cores, pressure data and
All the oils accumulated in the Maturin Subbasin are especially the existence of modern studies, were reviewed. One
genetically related to the type II, marine source rocks of the of the big limitations in this review was the lack of enough
Querecual and San Antonio Formations5. Migration proceeded information, especially reservoir pressures to be able to
from north to south, and took place during Lower to Middle determine with reasonable certainty the communication among
Miocene times, before faulting and folding disrupted lateral sands.
pathways.5 Only two of the fields previously mentioned, Budare and
Aguasay, have 3D seismic information, and this information, is
General Reservoirs Description being analyzed by the multidisciplinary teams working in
The oil is trapped for a stratigrafic/structural combination. Most reservoir characterization. Reservoir integrated studies are being
of the times the accumulations are contained in the upthrown carried out in those areas, but the integration to the final
block of normal faults, that trended in E-W and NE-SW geologic model has not been finished yet. Other areas like
directions. The combination of thin sand layers that pinched out Oritupano Norte, Zapatos and Acema 200 have very limited
occasionally, with the several faults, creates a complex modern information.
compartmentalization’s that originates such a great number of After comparing all the information of the fields, the Acema-
small to medium accumulations. These accumulations show Casma area was selected as the best candidate to begin a pilot
great heterogeneity in the quality of the rocks, in such a way that project that allows to evaluate the feasibility of a new
completion outline, and to extend the experience to other areas.

The reason for that decision is that even thought, this area has a production the same production is reached after only 16 years
limited basic information, it is a small area that already has a (Fig. 4).
new defined geologic model and a reservoir simulation model is The economic impact of this difference indicated that
being carried out. Besides, a plan for additional pressure data, assuming a $12/barrel, the Net Present Value (NPV) is 4.5 times
had already been designed by the reservoir study team working higher than the single layer production. Additionally, the shorter
in the area. time production, reduces the risk of well damages due to
During this first stage, the possibility of implementing a mechanical problems.
commingle production was not analyzed, since it requires a 2.- Pessimistic scenario:
complete analysis that includes a systematic plan for taking This scenario considers that the sand (H-3U) deplete so quick,
additional information, however, the commingle production will that could originate crossed flow. For such reason, the
be surely evaluated in the future. combined production was calculated considering only the sands
H-4 and H-5. These two sands are produced until their economic
Pilot Area cut-off, and after this point the H-3U start to be produced (Fig.
The Acema Casma field presents, in general, different pressures 5). The results of this simulation were compared with a basic
among individual sands. When small, these changes of pressures case, where each sand is single produced with different pressure
can be partly associated to geologic events of sedimentary depletion and production decline. In this case, a total
character like different sand thickness, shale layers, and lateral accumulative production of 700 MSTBO is obtained after 23
variations of petrophisical properties among the sands. years, the same production is reached 4 years earlier when H-4
Although, there is a clear evidence of the effect of geologic and H-5 are produced together (Fig. 5).
events in the vertical and lateral pressures variation in some With these simulations, the technical and economic
located areas, it is not possible to generalize whether or not it is advantage of producing more than one sand is highly
truth for the whole field, due to the limited information. This evidenced. In second instance, having optimized the production
limitation makes very difficult the analysis of different in terms of hydraulic units, the second phase is to move to
alternatives for producing sand packages, and for that reason commingle production, whenever, the compatibility of the
additional pressure information is absolutely necessary. crudes and the effective production monitoring is guaranteed.
Based on the production behavior and the limited pressure
information it seemed to indicate that three of the sands of Commingled Production:
Acema-Casma (H-3, H-4, an H-5), could be vertically connected After the increase of the productivity through Hydraulic Units,
(Fig. 3). There is not core information in the area, that allows to the second stage corresponds to complete diverse units of flow
create a model that guide the connectivity among different sand for commingled production. The main inconvenience for the
bodies. According to the stratigrafic correlation of well logs, combined production is the control that is taken over the
those three sands are separated by thin shale layers, which could production and the compatibility of the fluids (oil and water). If
be locally eroded by small channel bodies allowing vertical the oils are incompatibly, asphaltenes precipitation will be
communication (Fig. 3), like in the model interpreted in the occurred, while incompatible waters can precipitate carbonates.
Oritupano area.6 In order to prevent this damage, a geochemical study is required
There are very few recent pressure information to make to determine the compatibility among fluids. On the other hand,
reliable analysis. However, with the available data of Acema geochemical characterization (fingerprint) of the oils is needed
Casma field, two simulations or production scenarios for the in order to monitor the production. At the present, with the study
three producers units (H-3, H-4 and H-5) were made. The result of oil composition, saturated, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes
of these simulation were compared to a basic case scenario. In (SARA), and Biomarkers, and using organic geochemical tools
the basic case, each sand unit was single produced until its like fingerprints and clusters analysis, the commingled
economic cut off. The characteristic of the simulation are production of the mixture of at least two different oils can be
described as follows: quantificated (Fig. 6). At the moment, PDVSA-Intevep works on
1.- Optimistic scenario: the development method which is able to elucidate a mixture of
According to this plan, the three sands were produced together, more than two different oils. This tool will allow to figure out
assuming that they belong to the same hydraulic unit. That is, the production percentage coming from the different producer
with equal pressure depletion and equal production decline. For sands. This technological advance will result in a great impact in
this scenario, a 10 years production plan was setting. The results the administration and monitoring of the reservoirs.
were compared with a basic case, where each sand unit was The geochemical information for the oils of the six fields
single produced using equal pressure depletion and equal mentioned in this study is very scare. However, some of the
production decline. The results show that after 10 years, the reservoir crudes in the eastern basins have been studied
accumulated oil production for the first case, was 450,119 STB geochemically. According to the Ref. 5 all the crude oils of the
more than the basic case (Fig. 4). Comparing the accumulation north and south part of the Maturin sub-basin are genetically
oil production curves, the total production of the basic case was related. This is a encourage point to begin geochemical studies
1.1 MMSTB after 30 years, while, with the combined for commingled production.

The first step to go to the phase of commingled production is Recommendation:

the oil geochemical analysis of each producer sand in order to 1. In order to carry out the project pilot in the Acema Casma
characterize them. Using the characterized oils, artificial mixture area, the required additional pressure information plan, should
of samples are made for monitoring production analysis. be executed.
The recommendation is to repeat the analysis of the crude 2. It is absolutely necessary to take additional information
oils after six month in order to verify the analysis technique, and (pressure data, core, seismic 3D, geochemistry, etc.) that allow
to carry out PLT tests to compare the resulted production to characterize these traditional reservoirs in a very detailed
percentages to those obtained in the laboratory.9 way, in order to select the appropriate exploitation plan that
According to Ref. 7 commingled production should be make profitable this reservoir.
recommended in the following situations:
1.-When reservoir pressures and reserves are extremely low, References
so that, they are not economic for commercial exploitation. 1. Hedberg, H. D., Sass L. C. And Funkhauser, H. J., 1947.
Additionally, it accelerates the production in a way that it is not Oilfields of Greater Oficina Area, Venezuela. AAPG Gull.,
necessary to wait for the complete depletion of one layer to vol. 28, p. 1-28.
begin with other one. 2. Gonzalez de Juana C., Arozena J.and Picard X. C., 1980.
2.- In mature reservoirs, where water injection is taking Geología de Venezuela y sus Cuencas Petrolíferas.
place, it is possible to reduce the production rate by layer Ediciones FONINVES, Caracas.
without sacrificing the total well rate, in order to avoid water 3. Pindel, L. J., Higg, R. and Dewey, J. F., 1998. Cenozoic
fingering. Setting of the Northern Margin of South America:
3.- In reservoir vertically separated for small distance and Paleogeographic Evolution and Non-Glacial Eustacey.
with similar production mechanisms, commingled allows stable SEPM Spetial Publication N° 58.
pressure and stable production behavior of the different layers. It 4. Chevalier, Y., Gonzales, G., Mata, S., Santiago N., and
could result in a bigger Pwf for each sand, and it could Spano G., 1995. Estratigrafía Secuencial y Tectónica del
diminish sand production. Transecto El Pilar-Cerro-Negro, Cuenca Oriental de
To conclude, the advantage of commingled production is Venezuela. VI Congreso Colombiano del Petróleo.
demostrated in Fig. 7, where simulation of a commingle process 5. Talukdar, S., Galango O., and Ruggiero R., 1988.
indicates that the same accumulated oil is obtained in a shorter Generation and Migration of Oil in the Maturin Sub-basin,
period of time, therefore, the risk of missing reserves due to Eastern Venezuela Basin: Organic Geochemistry, v. 13,
mechanic damage is diminished, and a bigger NPV is obtained. p.537-547.
6. Perez Companc. Estudio Integrado del Campo Oritupano,
Conclusions 1998. El Tigre Edo Anzoategui.
1. According to the revision of the information of the six fields 7. Ferrer, F., 1994 Producción Conjunta de Yacimientos.
here considered, Acema-Casma was selected as the best area to Informe EPC-13534. Maraven, SA Gerencia de Producción
begin a pilot project to evaluate the feasibility of a new Caracas.
exploitation outline, and extend the experience to other areas. 8. Ferrer, F. And Valdez, L., 1996. Informe Final de la Prueba
2. One of the big limitations of this study was the lack of Piloto de Producción Conjunta de Yacimientos. Informe
enough reservoir information, especially, pressure data to be EPC-14020. Maraven S.A. Gerencia de Produccion.
able to determine communication among different sand layers, Caracas.
in order to decide their combined completion. 9. Alberdi M. and Toro, C., 1995. Generación de Técnicas
3. Based on the well simulation exercise, carried out in the para la Descripción de Yacimientos. Metodología
Acema-Casma area, the combined production would increase Geoquímica para Cuantificar Porcentajes de Crudo en
the NPV until 4.5 times. Producción Combinada.
4. In the initial pilot project here proposed in Acema-Casma,
the possibility of implementing a commingled production was
not analyzed, since it requires a complete study that includes a
systematic plan for taking additional information, however, the
commingle production will be surely evaluated in the future,
whenever, the compatibility of the crudes and the effective
production monitoring would be guaranteed.
5. Most of the companies that have operation agreements
with PDVSA, have increased well oil production, in the
traditional fields of the Easter Basin, changing the conventional
completion outlines, to commingled completion and to
combined production of different sands that are communicated.

Fig. 1. – Study Area Location.

EPOCH Fm. Log-Type


Fig. 2. –Log type of Oficina Formation.


Fig. 3. –Stratigrafic section Pilot Area, showing the three simulated flow units.



800 450119

600 Relative NPV= 4.5

H5 H3U H4

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30
Singled Combined

- Equal depletion pressure. - Equal production decline.

Fig. 4. – Optimistic Scenario. Simulation Result.


H4 + H5
H3 H5 H4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Singled Combined

- Different depletion pressure. - Different production decline.

Fig. 5. –Pessimistic Scenario. Simulation Result.


Type A Oil

Type B Oil

Fig. 6. –Fingerprints Characterization of two different crudes.



Production (B/D)
Commingled 3 layers

3 layers production


0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Fig. 7. –Production comparations between commingle and single layers (from Ref.7).