A Case Study on Foamy Oil Characteristics of the Orinoco Belt, Venezuela

SUN Xiaofei, ZHANG Yanyu, LI Xingmin, CUI Guoliang, GU Jianwei


With a current recovery of less than 11%, the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela still contains potentially more than 1.3 trillion barrels of reserves of “three highs, one low” oil at a depth of 100 to 1500 m. 5 joint projects and one project of Petroleos de Venezuela SA are making plans to improve oil recovery in the area. So it is important for them to have a thorough knowledge of foamy oil characteristics. This reservoir has a peculiar behavior called as a foamy phenomenon. In order to characterize the properties of the foamy oil, this paper discussed unconventional test methodology and the detailed suite of laboratory procedures including PVT and pressure depletion tests used to examine the Orinoco heavy oil. The results showed substantial differences in characteristics of foamy oil and conventional oil studied, not only in terms of PVT behavior but also in terms of the production performance during pressure depletion tests. The foamy oil compressibility was between 10-120×10-4 mPa-1, which was obviously higher than that of conventional oil. Differential liberation experiments of the oil, with obvious high formation volume factor, stable GOR, and low density showed a strong tendency to foam below the bubble point. Other notable observations were that more efficient oil recovery was achieved at high depletion rates while less free gas was produced.

Key words: Foamy oil; Unconventional tests; The Orinoco Belt; PVT; Pressure depletion tests


Foamy oil; Unconventional tests; The Orinoco Belt; PVT; Pressure depletion tests

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.aped.1925543820130501.1058


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