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SPE 53691

Evaluation of production methods in the Morichal heavy oil reservoirs


D.W. Boardman, SPE, S. Lopez, F. Pineda, L. Zerpa, PDVSA-Intevep
Copyright 1999, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.
This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1999 SPE Latin American and Caribbean
Petroleum Engineering Conference held in Caracas, Venezuela, 2123 April 1999.
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Abstract
A thermal numerical simulation model has been used to
history match an area of the Morichal-01 reservoir where cold
production from horizontal wells and a continuous steam
injection pilot project have been undertaken, allowing the
efficiency of these processes to be assessed. The production
performance of 47 horizontal wells in the field has been
analysed analytically, and also modelled in the simulation; the
study defined average well performance and quantified the
potential gain from improving the artificial lift. The high
reservoir pressures mean that sufficient reservoir energy is
available to make cold production from horizontal wells the
preferable option.
Multi-lateral well productivities have been evaluated to
show the potential cost savings from introducing this
technology, if artificial lift efficiency can be improved.
Introduction
The heavy oil reservoirs of the Morichal area are situated at
the north-eastern end of the Faja-Orinoco heavy oil belt
(figure 1), and cover an area of approximately 240 km2. The
Morichal-01 reservoir has a STOIIP of 8.7x109 stb of 9 API
oil, of which around 2% has been produced since 1956. An
active aquifer has provided pressure support, but at the
expense of high water cuts in many wells. A new geological
study identified possible locations for 38 horizontal wells,
drilled from clusters around the field. The main purpose of the
present study was to build and history match a thermal
numerical simulation model, to analyse the efficiency of
various production schemes which had been used in the field,
and to determine an exploitation plan.
The concept of using horizontal wells to improve
productivity in Morichal has been well established by previous

studies and field experience, although actual well production


has rarely reached simulation predictions. Sufficient data is
now available from a database of 47 horizontal wells and reentries to make an analysis of horizontal well production and
decline rates feasible, to provide realistic projections of
horizontal well performance and to allow quantitative
comparison with simulation results.
A continuous steam injection pilot ran for 8 years using 6
hexagonal patterns of producers with central steam injectors.
The simulation model includes part of the continuous steam
injection area, and after history matching, has allowed the
recovery efficiency of this project to be calculated and
compared with other schemes.
Geological model
The Morichal-01 reservoir has a simple monoclinal structure,
cut by normal faults, with a dip of 2-3 degrees towards the
north. The reservoir is comprised of Miocene age Oficina
sands, around 4000 feet deep, deposited over an eroded
Cretaceous base during a major transgression (figure 2).
Sedimentological description, based on core and log analysis,
has defined a retrograding fluvial-deltaic system, with seven
stratigraphic intervals (A to G), which has deposited large
scale fluvial channels at the base, passing through deltaic
environments to marine sedimentation at the top. The major
channel sands are found in the G, E and C intervals where net
pay thicknesses in excess of 200 feet have been encountered;
these extensive good quality channel sands are ideal for
horizontal wells. Inter-layer shales from A down to E, created
by small transgressive-regressive cycles, are considered to be
sealing throughout the field, whilst localised vertical
communication exists between the E,F and G sands, due to
erosive contacts and subsequent sand coalescence.
Petrophysical properties
Within the area of interest, average values of 30% porosity
and 15% irreducible water saturation have been interpreted
from logs. A rock compressibility of 33.5e-6 psi-1 has been
taken from the history match of a previous reservoir
simulation study. This value is midway between the 12e-6 psi-1
measured during conventional core tests, and the 60-80e-6 psi-1
which is typically used in the main Faja reservoirs.
Permeabilities have been calibrated from recent probe
permeametry work on the Joc-465 core, which has allowed

D.W. BOARDMAN, S. LOPEZ, F. PINEDA, L. ZERPA

realistic measurements through direct surface readings on the


very unconsolidated core. Average values for the main
channel sands in intervals C, E and G have been estimated as
6500 md, with 3650 md in the poorer quality units A,B,D and
F. Analysis of the probe data in the main channel sands
showed a surprising amount of variability, with permeabilities
in excess of 40 Darcies in the cleanest units, interspersed with
more shaley or cemented intervals with values below 10 md
(figure 3), although little variation was seen on logs. These
lower permeability zones, while unlikely to be laterally
extensive, are sufficiently numerous to impact on the Kv/Kh
ratio within the main channels, which is a critical parameter
for horizontal well performance. Using a method outlined by
Deutsch1, power law upscaling has been used with values of
0.73 and 0.17 for the horizontal and vertical permeabilities
respectively, to estimate an average channel Kv/Kh ratio of
0.45 from the probe permeameter data.
Vertical communication. Considerable uncertainty existed
as to the nature of the aquifer movement in Morichal, with
debate as to whether wells were coning water from established
oil-water contacts in underlying units, or channelling from
edge water influx in each sand. An analytical analysis was
performed on the water cut behaviour of 137 wells around the
field using the derivative method of Chan2. This showed that
75% of the wells were channelling water (figure 4), whilst the
others were coning water from below; many of the latter were
considered to be due to poor cement jobs or leaking plugs in
old wells, hence channelling was shown to be the major source
of water influx into the wells. Inter-layer vertical
communication is considered to be limited to localised zones
in the lower stratigraphic intervals where shale extension is
less continuous, validating the geological description.
Fluid and relative permeability data
PVT analysis of Morichal crude showed a gravity of 8.7 API,
bubble point of 1485 psia, solution GOR of 107 scf/stb and insitu viscosity of 1416 cp at bubble point pressure. Live oil
viscosity variations with temperature were measured during
laboratory studies, and are listed in table 1. K values were
calculated to represent the PVT data in the thermal model.
The issue of gas-oil relative permeability curves has been
well addressed for the foamy Faja crudes3,4, and using results
from nearby fields for guidance, a critical gas saturation of 9%
has been used for Morichal. Residual oil saturation to water
has been estimated as 40%, based on measured data, and other
Intevep studies in the Faja. Frizzels work5 has been used to
estimate temperature dependent end point saturation and
relative permeability movements, to model the steam injection
process; end points are listed in table 2.
Simulation model
The simulation model was chosen to represent an area of
Morichal where several production methods had been
employed, and where a good potential existed for additional
wells. The model comprises a basic grid of 42x25x7 75m
cells, with an aquifer attached to the northern edge.

SPE 53691

Stratigraphic intervals A to G have been included as 7 vertical


layers, with the only inter-layer communication allowed
between layers E and F where they coalesce in the south of the
simulation area. Reservoir properties have been included from
maps generated by the petrophysical analysis.
Reservoir pressure of 1600 psia at 3585 TVDSS, and
temperature of 148 degf have been used as initial conditions,
and an aquifer contact has been modelled at 3830 TVDSS,
giving high water saturations in the northern areas of intervals
F and G. The simulation model (figure 5) contains an initial
oil in place of 987.4 mmstb of oil and 338.4 mmstb of water.
The simulated area contains a total of 30 wells, with 7
producers and 3 injectors associated with the continuous steam
pilot, 5 horizontal wells and 15 wells with alternate steam
injection and production. The model has been run from first
production in July 1973 to the end of 1997, with the wells
controlled by their oil production rates and calibrated to
available bottom hole pressure data. During this period the
wells produced 16.1 mmstb of oil (1.6% of the oil in place)
and 10.95 mmstb of water, giving a cumulative water cut of
40%.
History match. Sensitivity analysis showed that increasing
the aquifer:reservoir ratio from zero to 1:1 produced a
reduction of 40 psi in the pressure decline, allowing a better
match to the field data. Increasing the aquifer size from the 1:1
ratio used in the simulation, to infinity, produced little change
in the pressure response. This infers that the aquifer has
relatively little influence on reservoir behaviour for the small
volume of reserves produced, in agreement with the material
balance, and suggests that the major role of the aquifer to date
has been in supplying water which channels to the producing
wells, rather than providing significant pressure support.
The history match concentrated on matching the pressure
decline and well water cut histories. The overall results are
shown in figure 6, where good agreement has been achieved
for both parameters, and well water cuts are generally matched
within 10%. The slightly lower water production comes from
inability to match water rates in wells Joc-40 and 461, thought
to be due to poor cement jobs pulling water from underlying
zones, rather than production from the perforated intervals.
Pseudo-relative permeability curves were defined for wells
with production from the F and G sands, due to water contacts
producing high average saturations in the simulation grids,
whereas in reality the wells produced initially dry oil from
above the aquifer contact. These curves control the inflow of
water into the well, while still allowing almost end point
mobility to oil. The water cuts of other wells were modelled
by locally adjusting absolute permeabilities.
Continuous steam injection
The Morichal continuous steam injection pilot scheme ran
from January 1982 to February 1990, and used 6 hexagonal
patterns of 150m spaced producing wells with a central steam
injector in each pattern. The wells were all completed in the C
sand, which is of generally good quality, with an average net
pay thickness of 100 feet. The producers were stimulated with

SPE 53691

EVALUATION OF PRODUCTION METHODS IN THE MORICHAL HEAVY OIL RESERVOIRS

an alternating steam injection program during 1981, prior to


the start of the continuous injection. The continuous steam
injection was suspended in early 1990 due to high water cuts
in the producers, and the cost of the steam.
The simulation model contains 3 half patterns of the pilot
scheme, comprising 3 steam injectors and 7 producers, and a
20m local grid refinement has been used in the simulation
model to look at the displacement and recovery efficiency of
this process.
Simulation. An average of 180 tons/day of steam was
injected per well during the course of the pilot, with surface
pressure of 1100 psi, steam temperature of 560 degf and
quality of 80%. The steam movement in the pilot area at the
end of the injection period is shown in figure 7. The high
water saturations show that most of the steam is in the liquid
rather than gaseous phase, due to relatively high reservoir
pressures which reached up to 1750 psi during the injection.
A recovery factor of 40.6% has been calculated by
comparing the oil in place in the pilot area simulator cells
before and after the injection period, resulting in a high
displacement recovery for this process.
Recovery efficiency. The continuous steam injection pilot
wells within the simulation model produced a total of 3.94
mmstb of oil for 0.79 million tons of steam injected, resulting
in an oil-steam ratio of 5.0 stb/ton. Figure 8 shows that a very
high oil-steam ratio is achieved for the first 2 years, followed
by a ratio of around 3 for the remainder of the project. Overall
for the whole of the pilot area, 11.74 mmstb of oil were
produced for 2.67 million tons of steam injected, giving an oilsteam ratio of 4.4 stb/ton. These values appear to compare
favourably to the 2.3 stb/ton estimated for the M-6 continuous
injection project in Tia Juana6 for example, although the M-6
reservoir had already recovered 12% of the reserves, and been
depleted to 150 psi before the continuous injection started,
whilst the Morichal scheme was applied to an almost virgin
area with 1600 psi pressure.
Of more interest is the comparison of the extra oil-steam
ratio of the two projects. Extra oil is defined as the additional
recovery achieved by the application of the continuous steam
injection process, compared to conventional production. A
simulation run was made retaining the well target rates and
with minimum bottom hole pressure limits of 250 psi, but
without the steam injection, to calculate a basecase for the
Morichal area. Figure 9 compares the two production profiles
and shows that the contribution of the steam injection is fairly
minimal, confirming the observation that the producers do not
have much higher rates than other vertical wells in the area.
The cumulative oil production drops from 3.94 to 3.82 mmstb
without the steam injection, leading to an extra oil-steam ratio
of only 0.15 stb/ton, which is less than 10% of the 1.6 stb/ton
estimated for M-6.
Despite the high recovery factor, the continuous steam
injection process isnt economically beneficial to a relatively
high pressure reservoir like Morichal, due to high well and

operating costs, and the availability of sufficient reservoir


energy for cold production.
Horizontal well analysis
An analysis of the 47 horizontal wells in the Morichal-01
reservoir has been made to determine average well production
and decline rates in the field. The field contains 9 new
horizontal wells and 38 horizontal re-entries, completed
between 1993 and 1997, with wells drilled to infill between
500m spaced vertical wells, and in relatively undrained areas;
most well lengths are between 1300 and 2000 ft.
Decline curve analysis. A decline curve analysis has been
made for each well in the database, with monthly well
production rates matched with harmonic decline curves.
Whilst no correlation was found between decline rate and well
length, figure 10 shows that a good correlation exists between
decline rate and sand net pay thickness, which is related to
well drainage volume. This graph can be used with the
average initial well rates below to estimate horizontal well
productivity for any proposed Morichal location.
Production analysis. The histogram in figure 11 shows the
average oil rate calculated from the first six months
production for each well; 73% of the data lies between 200
and 500 stb/d. The median and mean values both show that
any new infill horizontal well would most likely produce at an
average rate of almost 400 stb/d during the first six months.
Wells drilled in undeveloped areas of Morichal would be
expected to average nearly 600 stb/d during their first six
months.
The well rates have been plotted against well length and
net pay thickness in figure 12, where it may be seen that no
real correlation exists with either parameter. It was noted
during the work however, that many wells showed patterns of
declining productivity, followed by substantial increases, due
to adjustments in the artificial lift system (figure 13). It is
thought that the production tends to be controlled more by
artificial lift considerations than reservoir limitations; the
wells are mainly produced by PCP pumps with diluent
injection. It appears that longer wells do not necessarily have
much benefit over shorter wells in the Morichal reservoirs in
practical application, despite significant productivity
enhancements forecast by simulation models.
Average horizontal well productivity. The analysis
concluded that infill horizontal wells may be expected to
produce 400 stb/d on average during their first six months,
with subsequent declines of 9.3% per annum, whilst wells
drilled in less developed areas of the reservoir would produce
around 600 stb/d initially, declining at 13.6% per annum;
cumulative production of 0.95 and 1.2 mmstb respectively
would be achieved over ten years, using current lift systems.
No reliable correlation to well length was demonstrable,
within the observed range of 1300-2000 feet, and wells appear
to be lift capacity limited. The impact of changing the artificial
lift mechanism has been noted recently in several wells where

D.W. BOARDMAN, S. LOPEZ, F. PINEDA, L. ZERPA

the pumps were changed from PCP pumps to ESPs, and the
sustained rates subsequently increased from below 500 stb/d
to around 1800 stb/d.
Horizontal well simulation
The simulation model has been used to estimate the likely
productivity of proposed horizontal wells calibrated with the
decline analysis, the increase in recovery from the area, and
the impact of optimising the artificial lift system on horizontal
well performance.
Basecase simulation. A basecase prediction was run with the
16 currently producing wells to estimate the model area
production until the end of year 2010. Well targets were set
from decline curve calibrations to ensure realistic rates, and a
cumulative oil production of 26.7 mmstb was achieved, giving
an overall recovery factor of 2.7%. The cumulative water cut
increases from 40% to 47.6% during this period, reflecting the
steady channeling of water into the main producing sands, and
average reservoir pressure declines by 100 psi.
Calibrated horizontal well performance. The results of the
simulation with the eleven proposed 2000 feet horizontal wells
are shown in figure 14, with the horizontal well performance
calibrated to decline curve analysis of existing wells in the
area for realistic results. The C and E sands each have five
new wells completed, with one in the G sand, and the wells
produce for ten years, from 2001 to 2010. A cumulative total
of 39.8 mmstb of oil is produced, 13.1 mmstb higher than the
basecase, giving an overall recovery factor of 4.0%. Water
production increases slightly to 28.2 mmstb, giving a
cumulative water cut of 41.5%, while the reservoir pressure
drops to 1200 psia. Well flowing bottom hole pressures are
around 1000 psi, indicating that the wells have substantial
additional production potential in the simulation model. Oil
production of 1.2 mmstb per well is achieved for each
proposed location.
Potential for artificial lift optimisation. The previous
simulation showed that modelled horizontal wells can easily
produce at the rates achieved in the field. This implies that
Morichal horizontal wells either have problems with high
formation damage, or that the artificial lift mechanisms,
consisting primarily of PCP pumps, are not effective at
producing high drawdowns. The increase in well productivity
achieved in the field by changing the pump type from PCP to
ESP confirms that artificial lift capability rather than well
deliverability is the major problem however. The pump
change in Joc-581 additionally showed the simulation model
to be well calibrated.
A simulation has been run using the scenario above, with
the 11 wells producing at bottom hole pressures of 250 psi and
with target rates of 2000 stb/d, to represent more efficient
artificial lift parameters. Figure 15 shows that significant
increases in oil production are possible if the lift mechanism
can be improved; cumulative oil production increases from
39.8 to 70.8 mmstb, representing a 340% increase over the

SPE 53691

basecase, and the recovery factor increases to 7.2%. The


average cumulative oil production per well increases 3.4
times, from 1.2 to 4.0 mmstb, and the net present value would
increase from 0.64 to 2.96 million dollars per well. This
represents a 4.6 fold increase, and illustrates the economic
incentive for improving the lift capability.
Field development plan. A combination of analytical
analysis and calibrated simulation modelling has been used to
forecast that an additional production of 38.6 mmstb can be
realistically achieved using current lift technology from 38
proposed horizontal wells over ten years; the wells have been
located to minimise water production problems. This would
result in a net present value of 17.5 million dollars, with an
internal rate of return of 35% for the project. Optimising the
artificial lift could potentially increase the net present value to
80 million dollars.
Multi-lateral wells
An investigation has been made into the potential economic
benefits from introducing multi-lateral well technology to
Morichal, using a simplified conceptual simulation model. A
methodology has been used that takes into account pressure
losses within the well branches up to the pump location, which
can seriously impact productivity in this type of reservoir.
A diagram showing the interactions that need to be
modelled to properly represent a multi-lateral well is shown in
figure 16. The overall well performance is controlled by the
drawdown achieved by the artificial lift at the common node
point, the completion pressure losses down to the sandface,
and the interaction between the individual branch inflow
performances.
A methodology has been developed8,9 using a network
solver in a commercial simulator to combine the branch inflow
performances with vertical lift curves, representing the
completion pressure drops. The network solver equilibrates
the pressure drops, drawdowns, and inflows of the various
branches for the drawdown pressure imposed at the common
node point, defined by the pump intake pressure.
Well configurations.
Two basic multi-lateral well
configurations have been modelled during this work,
representing a stacked dual-lateral well completed in two
sands, and a dual-opposed multi-lateral completed in the same
sand, as shown in figure 17. Equivalent horizontal wells have
also been modelled for comparison.
In order to compare equivalent well configurations for the
first case, it has been assumed that the conventional horizontal
wells and the top branch of the stacked dual-lateral well have
been drilled using medium radius technology, with build
angles of 15 degrees/100 feet, and have 1000 feet producing
intervals. The pump has been located at 20 degrees deviation,
with the kick-off point for the top lateral 50 feet below this
point. This places the pump approximately 300 feet vertically
above the top branch in the multi-lateral, and also 300 feet
above each of the horizontal wells. The lower branch in the
multi-lateral is located some 300 vertical feet below the top

SPE 53691

EVALUATION OF PRODUCTION METHODS IN THE MORICHAL HEAVY OIL RESERVOIRS

lateral, and hence will be 600 feet lower than the pump, which
will obviously impact on the performance.
The dual-opposed multi-lateral has also been modelled
using a 15 degrees/100 feet build radius, but with the pump
located vertically above the lateral junction. This places the
pump approximately 480 feet above the producing interval;
the offset between the laterals is 800 feet. The multi-lateral has
been modelled with 2 branches of 1000 feet each, while the
horizontal well uses a single 2000 feet lateral, to compare
equivalent producing lengths.
Vertical lift files have been constructed for each of these
cases, assuming 5 casing in the horizontal wells, 7 casing in
the lower multi-lateral completion and a 3 liner in the
upper lateral, which would result from the use of a
commercially available system.
Well performance modelling. The simulations have been
run for a period of ten years with pump intake pressures of
250 psi used to control well performance. Maximum flow rate
constraints of 2000 stb/d have been used for each scenario.
Figure 18 shows that the combination of two horizontal
wells has a 5% higher cumulative production than the stacked
dual-lateral. The poorer multi-lateral performance is due to
reduced drawdown in the lower well branch, because of less
efficient pump location.
The single sand simulations resulted in the dual-opposed
multi-lateral well producing 12% more than the 2000 feet
horizontal well. Although the drawdowns are poorer in the
multi-lateral well, due to the higher pump location, the offset
of the laterals enables the well to have a bigger effective
drainage area, which in a heavy oil reservoir significantly
increases productivity; the multi-lateral stops flowing after 9.7
years however, due to reduced reservoir pressures around the
wellbore and the high lift position.
Economic ranking. Due to significant differences in well
costs, these results have been analysed using the concept of
well cost per discounted barrel9, which produces an economic
ranking. The annual production from each simulation has been
subjected to a 10% discount rate, to generate discounted
produced volumes. Horizontal well costs have been taken
from field data, whilst multi-lateral well costs were based on
detailed estimates; the analysis parameters and results are
summarised in table 3.
The results show that the well cost/discounted barrel is
reduced by 11% when a stacked dual-lateral completed in two
vertically separated sands can replace two horizontal wells,
improving the economic performance. A long horizontal well
reduces the well cost/discounted barrel by 34% compared with
a dual-opposed well however, implying that these types of
multi-lateral arent favourable here, mainly due to well cost
considerations.
It should be noted that these comparisons were realised
from uncalibrated conceptual simulation models. Unless
artificial lift performance in the field can be improved from
current levels, non-conventional well types should not be

contemplated, as these wells rely on enhanced production rates


to achieve economic benefit.
Conclusions
Evaluation of the continuous steam injection project showed a
recovery of 40.6% of the oil in place, with an overall oil-steam
ratio of 4.4 stb/ton. Simulation modelling predicted that 97%
of the oil could have been produced by cold production
however, giving an extra oil-steam ratio of only 0.15 stb/ton.
This process is not economically applicable in a high pressure
heavy oil reservoir, where there is sufficient energy available
for cold production.
Analytical analysis estimates that an infill horizontal well
should have an average oil production rate of 400 stb/d for the
first six months, declining at 9.3% per year to produce 0.95
mmstb in 10 years. Wells in undeveloped reservoir areas
should average nearly 600 stb/d over the first six months,
declining at 13.6% per year, to produce 1.2 mmstb.
No relationship was found between horizontal well
production or decline rate and well length. A good correlation
was found between decline rate and net pay thickness.
Horizontal well analysis and simulation modelling have
shown that Morichal horizontal wells are lift capability, not
reservoir deliverability, limited. Simulation shows that the
wells are capable of producing 3.4 times their achieved
production volumes with a bottom hole pressure of 250 psi,
potentially increasing the NPV by 4.6 times and providing a
large economic incentive for improvement of the lift system.
Stacked branch multi-lateral wells completed in different
sands have the potential to reduce well cost/discounted barrel
by 11% compared to individual horizontal wells. Long
horizontal wells have significantly better economics than dualopposed multi-laterals in the same sand. Current poor artificial
lift performance would negate the benefit from drilling nonconventional wells however, as high production rates are
relied upon for improved economics.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank Petrleos de Venezuela S.A. and
PDVSA-Intevep for permission to publish this paper. The
sedimentological description of C. Linares, petrophysical
analyses of M. Ramirez and PVT study of M. Blanco are also
acknowledged.
References
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

Deutsch, C., Calculating effective absolute permeability in


sandstone/shale sequences, SPEFE, p343-8, Sept. 1989.
Chan, K., Water control diagnostic plots, SPE 30775
presented at the Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition,
Dallas, USA, Oct. 1995.
Treinen, R., et al., Hamaca: Solution gas drive recovery in a
heavy oil reservoir, experimental results, SPE 39031 presented
at the 5th LACPEC, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 1997.
de Mirabal, M., et al., Impact of foamy oil mechanism on the
Hamaca oil reserves, Orinoco belt - Venezuela, paper SPE
36140 presented at the 4th LACPEC, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad,
April 1996.
Frizzel, D., Analysis of 15 years of thermal laboratory data:

6.

7.
8.

9.

D.W. BOARDMAN, S. LOPEZ, F. PINEDA, L. ZERPA

Relative permeability and saturation endpoint correlations for


heavy oils, SPE 20528 presented at the 65th Annual Technical
Conference & Exhibition, New Orleans, USA, Sept. 1990.
Schenk, L., Analysis of the early performance of the M-6 steam
drive project, Venezuela, SPE 10710 presented at the 1982
SPE/DOE EOR symposium, Tulsa, Ok., Apr. 1982.
Prats, M., Thermal Recovery, SPE Monograph series Vol.7,
1982.
Gallivan, J.D., et al., Quantifying the benefits of Multi-lateral
producing wells, paper SPE 30441 presented at the Offshore
Europe 95 Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference, Aberdeen, UK,
Sept. 1995.
Boardman, D.W., Designing the optimal multi-lateral well type
for a heavy oil reservoir in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, SPE
37554 presented at the 1997 SPE Intl. Thermal Operations &
Heavy Oil Symposium, Bakersfield, Calif., Feb. 1997.

SPE 53691

Figure 1 Morichal field location


MAR CARIBE



CIUDAD GUAYANA
CIUDAD BO LIVAR

CO

LO

MB

MATURIN

IA

I
AZ
BR

MONAGAS

DELTA AMACURO

ANZOATEGUI
TEMBLADOR

GUARICO

Morichal

San Tome

El Tigre

JOBO
PILON
Barrancas

LEJOS

MORICHAL

CERRO
NEGRO

MELONES

BARE

FAJA DEL ORINOCO

PTO. ORDAZ
HAMACA
CIUDAD BOLIVAR

Nomenclature
STOIIP = Stock tank oil initially in place (stb)

Rio

Ori

o
noc

BOLIVAR

Embalse
de Guri

25

50 Kms

Figure 2 Morichal stratigraphic column

SI Metric Conversion Factors


cp x 1.0
E-03 = Pa.s
ft x 3.048
E-01 = m
md x 9.869 233
E-04 = m2
lb/gal x 1.198 466 E+02 = kg/m3
psi x 6.894 757 E+00 = kPa
stb x 1.589 874
E-01 = m3

TYPE OF DEPOSIT

SEDIMENTARY
ENVIRONMENT

310
0

JOC-465

PRODELTA

3200

PILON

MARCADOR -O

DELTA FRONT

3300

Aj
Bj

Ej

Viscosity (cp)
1416
45
5
1.2
0.5

2 1000 horizontals
Dual-stacked ML
Dual-opposed ML
2000 horizontal

Cum. prod.
(mmstb)
2.958
2.827
2.710
2.420

340
0

Well cost/disc.
Barrel ($/stb)
0.818
0.726
0.791
0.523

3500

A
B

MOUTH BARS

DELTA FRONT

MOUTH BARS

3600

DISTRIBUTORY CHANNELS
BAY or PRODELTA
DISTRIBUTORY CHANNELS

DELTA PLAIN

C
D

3700

MOUTH BARS

E
3800
3900

TEMBLADOR GROUP
CRETACEOUS

PRODELTA

DELTA FRONT

CREVASSE CHANNEL

DISTRIBUTORY CHANNELS

400
0

Cost
(M$)
1.720
1.462
1.548
0.920

MARCADOR -P1

4100

Steam
0.10
0.43
0.03
0.41
0.29

Table 3 Economic evaluation of multi-laterals


Scenario

PRODELTA

MARCADOR -P2

YABO

MORICHAL

Reservoir temp
0.40
0.15
0.09
1.0
0.085

DELTA FRONT

Fj

Table 2 Saturation & relative permeability end points


End point
Sor(w)
Swc
Sgc
Kro(w)
Krw

DELTA PLAIN

Dj

Fm. OFICINA

Temperature (degf)
148
250
350
450
550

Cj

JOBO

Table 1 Fluid viscosity variations

DELTA PLAIN
CREVASSE SPLAY
-FLOODPLAIN DEPOSITS

DISTRIBUTARY CHANNELS
WITH FLUVIAL CHARACTER

FLUVIAL CHANNELS

FLUVIAL

FLUVIAL CHANNELS

FLUVIAL

EVALUATION OF PRODUCTION METHODS IN THE MORICHAL HEAVY OIL RESERVOIRS

Figure 3 Probe permeability variation in channel sand

Figure 6 History match

Sand G
Cumulative volume (mmstb)

3930

3932

3934

20

2000

16

1600

12

1200

800

Pressure (psia)

SPE 53691

Oil (field)
Oil (Simulation)

400

Water (field)
Water (Simulation)

Depth (ft)

P ressure (field)
P ressure (simulatio n)

0
01-07-73

05-08-77

10-09-81

16-10-85

20-11-89

0
31-01-98

26-12-93

Date

3936

GR
Figure 7 Continuous Steam injection area water saturation
3938

3940

3942
10

100

1000

10000

100000

Permeability (md)

Figure 4 Derivative analysis of water channelling


1.00E+02
1.00E+01
1.00E+00

Water-oil ratio
1.00E-01

Figure 8 Oil-steam ratio variation with time

1.00E-02

100

Derivative of water-oil ratio

1.00E-05

10

100

Figure 5 Simulation model

Time (days)

1000

10000

10

Instantaneous
Cumulative

1
01-01-82

08-05-83

11-09-84

16-01-86

23-05-87

26-09-88

01-02-90

Date

Figure 9 Production comparison from cold & steam injection


4.0

Cumulative oil (mmstb)

1.00E-04

Oil/steam ratio (stb/ton)

1.00E-03

3.0

2.0

1.0
With steam
Without steam
0.0
01-01-82

08-05-83

11-09-84

16-01-86

Date

23-05-87

26-09-88

01-02-90

D.W. BOARDMAN, S. LOPEZ, F. PINEDA, L. ZERPA

Figure 10 Normalised horizontal well decline rate correlation

Figure 14 Calibrated horizontal well simulation forecast


40

100
90

Cumulative production (mmstb)

Normalised oil rate decline (%/year)

SPE 53691

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10

35
30
25
20
15
10
Oil (basecase)
Oil (11 horiz wells)

Water (basecase)

Water (11 horiz wells)

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

0
01-01-99

Sand thickness (ft)

31-12-00

31-12-02

30-12-04

31-12-06

30-12-08

30-12-10

Date

Figure 11 Histogram of horizontal well production rates

Figure 15 Potential gain from optimised artificial lift


80

Cumulative oil production (mmstb)

35
30

Frequency (%)

25
20
15
10
5
0

70

B asecase
Calibrated wells
B HP co ntrolled wells

60
50
40
30
20
10

100-199

200-299

300-399

400-499

500-599

600-699

700-799

800-899

900-999

01-01-99

31-12-00

31-12-02

Average production rate for first six months (stb/d)

31-12-06

30-12-08

Date

Figure 12 Horizontal well rates versus net pay and well length
2500

150

2000

120

1500

90

1000

60

500

Figure 16 Multi-lateral well interactions

Artificial lift position


Net pay (ft)

Well length (ft)

30-12-04

Multi-lateral junction
node point

30
Re-entry length
New well length
Net pay

0
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

Average production rate for first six months (stb/d)

Liner pressure drop


(vertical lift table 1)

Figure 13 Decline curve analysis


Decline Curve Analysis - JN-03
1000

Oil Rate (STB/d)

750

Inflow performance
(lateral 1)

Match Parameters :
a = 1
Std Dev = 91.0305 (STB/d)
Break
Initial
No
Rate
(date m/d/y) (STB/d)
09/01/1995
628.6

500

250

0
11/01/1993

Liner pressure drop


(vertical lift table 2)

Match Points Status :


Off
High
Medium
Low

11/16/1994

12/02/1995
Time (date m/d/y)

12/16/1996

01/01/1998

Decline
Rate
(1/day)
0.00133966

Inflow performance
(lateral 2)

30-12-10

SPE 53691

EVALUATION OF PRODUCTION METHODS IN THE MORICHAL HEAVY OIL RESERVOIRS

Figure 17 Simulated multi-lateral well configurations


Figure 18 Multi-lateral production comparison
Pump location

Stacked dual-lateral

Dual-opposed
multi-lateral

Cumulative production (mmstb)

Pump location

2.5

1.5

1
2 Horizo ntals

0.5

Dual-stacked M -L
Dual-o pposed M -L
2000' Ho rizontal

C sand

0
0

Time (years)

E sand

10