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

Full Text:



[1] Villarroel, T. (2008). New Developments in Orinoco Oil Belt Projects Reflect a Positive Effect on the Areas Reserves. In Proceedings world heavy oil congress, Edmonton, 10–12 March, 2008.

[2] Hernandez, E., Bauza, L., & Cadena, A. (2008). Integrated Reservoir Characterization and Oil in Place Estimation for Ayacucho Area, Orinoco Oil Belt Venezuela. In Proceedings World Heavy Oil Congress, Edmonton, 10–12 March, 2008.

[3] Dusseault, M. B., Zambrano, A., Barrios, J. R., & Guerra, C. (2008). Estimating Technically Recoverable Reserves in the Faja Petroliferadel Orinoco-FPO. In Proceedings World Heavy Oil Congress, Edmonton, March 10–12, 2008.

[4] Gipson, L. J., Owen, R., & Robertson, C. R., et al. (2002). Hamaca Heavy Oil Project: Lessons Learned and an Evolving Development Strategy. In SPE International Thermal Operations and Heavy Oil Symposium and International Horizontal Well Technology Conference, 4-7 November 2002, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

[5] Gina, V. R. (2011). Steam Injection Experiences in Heavy and Extra-Heavy Oil Fields, Venezuela. In SPE Heavy Oil Conference and Exhibition, 12-14 December 2011, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

[6] Huerta, M., Otero, C., & Rico, A. et al. (1986). Understanding Foamy Oil Mechanisms for Heavy Oil Reservoirs During Primary Production. In SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 6-9 October 1996, Denver, Colorado.

[7] Lago, M., Gomes, R., & Huerta, M. (2000). Visualization Study During Depletion Experiments of Venezuelan Heavy Oils Using Glass Micromodels. In Proceedings Petroleum Society’s Canadian International Petroleum Conference 2000, Calgary, Alberta, June 4-8, 2000.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.aped.1925543820130501.1058


  • There are currently no refbacks.


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:
caooc@hotmail.com; aped@cscanada.net; aped@cscanada.org

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Research & Development Centre of Sciences and Cultures
Address: 9375 Rue de Roissy Brossard, Québec, J4X 3A1, Canada

Telephone: 1-514-558 6138
E-mail:office@cscanada.net  office@cscanada.org