Technical Paper: Application of Large Thermal Sector Models in a Field Performance Optimization Study of a Mature, Heavy Oil Field

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 84030
Presentation Date: 2003
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The results of a reservoir performance evaluation of a giant mature heavy oil field are presented here. This field began production in 1927. By 2002, cumulative production had surpassed half a billion barrels of low-gravity oil from Miocene sandstone formations produced under natural depletion, water and gas injection, and cyclic steam injection from more than 400 wells. As a result, several interdependent flow models including black-oil full-field, thermal single-well, and thermal large-sector models were built for field analysis and optimization. The long and complex production history, as well as the various recovery mechanisms, presented a number of challenges in constructing and calibrating the models to past historical performance.

The optimization work was done in the following three stages. First, a coarse-grid black-oil model was constructed to study the field performance prior to steam injection, following the successful geological modeling phase of this project (presented in Márquez et al., 2001 1). The second stage involved single-well and sector-model thermal simulation analysis. The thermal models were used to match the field historical pressure and production data over the natural depletion, water injection and cyclic steam injection periods. Third, we investigated the field performance under different development scenarios. Optimization results with the single-well thermal models were incorporated into the sector models, which were used for processing runs to examine infill drilling; recompletion of active wells; waterflooding; huff ‘n’ puff steam injection; steam drive; and horizontal well drilling.

The project resulted in the identification of more than 100 infill or recompletion candidates, and an estimated three million barrels of oil (MMBO) of additional recovery during the first 2 years of this project. As a result there were significant performance improvements and more are anticipated through the implementation of the field development strategies recommended here. The modeling approach led to significant time savings and provided an effective reservoir management tool for future field development.

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