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Heavy Oil

Large reserves of heavy oil, significant investment

Some of the world’s largest reserves are heavy oil reservoirs. With oil in place equal to the largest conventional oil fields in the Middle East, these large reserves are found in more than thirty countries around the globe, but few of these deposits have been developed extensively. The significant operating investment in recovering heavy oil necessitates a high oil price to financially justify heavy oil operations.

Heavy oil recovery challenges

The main challenge in heavy oil is not in finding resources, but in extracting, recovering, producing, and selling heavy crudes within often changing economic guidelines. Under stable market conditions, heavy oil assets have the potential to generate many years of steady cash flow, typically producing for more than 50 years. However, when the energy ratio needed to produce and upgrade a barrel of heavy oil can be as high as 40%, balancing economics throughout the project is a challenge.

High-temperature, abrasion-resistant technologies

Heavy oil production often consists of abrasive solids and corrosive gasses. In addition, technologies operating in heavy oil have to be conscious of the operating costs and long-term economics of heavy oil development. Drilling technology challenges for heavy oil range from wellbore stability in shallow, unconsolidated sands to high dogleg severity and narrow in-zone windows for SAGD wells. Completion and evaluation technologies face similar issues and additionally may have to confront high temperatures associated with thermal recovery.

Reservoir Description

Well Construction

Completions and Artificial Lift

Production Optimization and Enhancement

Geomechanics Workflow Enhances Productivity

Caprock integrity analysis workflow
Analyzing, modeling, and monitoring geomechanical properties of heavy oil reservoirs in harsh environments.

Oilfield Review Article

Highlighting Heavy Oil
Renewed Interest in Heavy Oil Recovery Methods Read industry article

Case Study

Heavy Oil Pilot in Eastern Europe 
SAGD success in challenging conditions, using specialized technologies.