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. Luis Castaneda1, Maryesther Leon2, Antoine Meunier3, Manuel Lara4, Yoanna Herrera5, Miguel Granado6
Copyright 2012, Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute - IBP
This Technical Paper was prepared for presentation at the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012, held between September, 1720, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. This Technical Paper was selected for presentation by the Technical Committee of the event according to the information contained in the final paper submitted by the author(s). The organizers are not supposed to translate or correct the submitted papers. The material as it is presented, does not necessarily represent Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute’ opinion, or that of its Members or Representatives. Authors consent to the publication of this Technical Paper in the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Proceedings.

In 2010, Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A. (PIV), a joint venture between Corporación Venezolana del Petróleo (CVP) and the Indian company ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), started planning for two horizontal wells in the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field in the Orinoco belt of eastern Venezuela. The focus for this campaign was to evaluate the productivity of horizontal wells in thin sands and avoid areas of complex geology because of the high uncertainty in the structural behavior, applying technology that provided absolute control of the drilling process into the Oficina formation. Within the Oficina formation, thin sand reservoirs with variations in thickness and dip, geologically facies changes and subseismic faults presented the main challenge to geosteering a horizontal well. Because the project faced high geological uncertainties, a pilot hole was drilled as the first stage in the first well to verify the structural levels and the continuity of the sand bodies. To achieve the above challenges, the combination of a rotary steerable system (RSS) “point-the-bit” and a deep azimuthal electromagnetic resistivity tool (DAEMR) was used. The measurements provided accurate information to the well-placement engineers for proactive decisions in real time, mitigating the possible loss of the target by these geologic uncertainties. High-quality and valuable data for real time geological model update were the expected results obtained from the effort made by PIV in the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field, and the data showed the oil-producing potential of one of the main reservoir (Sand F,G). This application of high-tier technologies demonstrated that drilling and data measurements can be improved and optimized to yield added value for reservoir development and 100% net to gross (NTG) targets. This reduces operational cost, makes it possible to drill in the right place the first time, and pushes forward the limit of the achievable in terms of reservoir exposure.

1. Introduction: Background
The Orinoco Oil belt encompasses an area of 55,314 km2 and is the world’s largest source of liquid hydrocarbon reserves — an estimated 1,360 billion bbl oil originally in place (PDVSA Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, 2006). The area under development (11,593 km2) is located along the southern margin of the eastern Venezuelan basin, parallel to and north of the Orinoco River, and extends across the Guárico, Anzoátegui, and Monagas states. This oil province is divided, from west to east, into four regions—Boyacá, Junín, Ayacucho, and Carabobo—and is segmented into 29 blocks of approximately 500 km2 each and two additional block areas: Boyacá Norte and Junín Norte. In the development area, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) considers that, of the 513 billion bbl of oil in place estimated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2010, 316 billion bbl is recoverable (Schenk et al., 2009).

______________________________ 1 Mechanical Engineer – Schlumberger 2 Civil Engineer – Schlumberger 3 Master, Geological Engineering – Schlumberger 4 Petroleum Engineer – Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A. 5 Geological Engineering – Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A. 6 Geological Engineering – Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A.

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 To recover such reserves, multiple companies and diverse nations in joint agreement with PDVSA have participated in exploration and production (E&P) in the 31 blocks. The joint venture company Petrolera Indovenezolana has a share distribution of 60% CVP and 40% OVL. In 2006, OVL was the second company that started operations in Faja, in an area of 160.18 km2 from the 799 km2 of the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field, located in the Junín Norte area. In April 2008 the CVP and OVL signed the contract for the joint venture company Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A. The Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field has eight (8) reservoirs, corresponding to the sands D, E, F, G and H (Oficina Formation), I (Merecure Formation) and J/K (Temblador Group). The range of API gravity is on the order of 10 °API to 18 ° API. Nowadays the field has 64 horizontal producing wells by a progressive cavity pumping system. The main challenges encountered by PIV in the development and exploration of the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field, is the drilling of horizontal wells in a structural and sedimentological complex frame which is why its main reserves are associated with thin sand bodies of large lateral heterogeneity. Because of these challenges it requires drilling horizontal wells in an effective way to optimize and achieve the maximum production of the reservoirs, associated with lower drilling costs based on minor drilling times. In the Orinoco Oil belt, 30% to 40 % of the oil in place is located in thin deltaic sand units of less than 20 ft in thickness, which are difficult to explore with conventional technology (Machado et al., 2009). For this kind of sand lenses it is necessary to cross through long lengths of net pay thickness in the horizontal section of the well, optimizing the recovery due to factors such as variable gross thickness, lower horizontal permeability to vertical permeability ratio and a lower conductivity. The oil production in these thin and discontinuous layers needs more complex well designs to be economically profitable. On the other hand, the Geological Models has limited information, because the low density of drilled wells and the heterogeneity of the reservoirs. Therefore, for the reservoir characterization it is necessary to drill pilot holes to identify geological elements such as lateral continuity of the sands, pinchout zones, fault location and local dip variations that are not detectable in the seismic data. Besides, the ramp profile present in the sand resistivity, requires for exploration and development in the field a technology able to achieve absolute drilling control and continuous mapping of the reservoir boundaries (top and base) for precise positioning from 3 to 7 ft below the top of the reservoir. The borehole assembly used in these two wells was composed of three innovative technologies: a rotary steerable system (RSS) to create a uniform borehole without tortuosity, improve the rate of penetration (ROP) and measure the inclination close to the bit; a deep azimuthal electromagnetic resistivity tool (DAEMR) to provide enhanced well placement by mapping reservoir boundaries in real time so as to proactively steer the well; and a high-datatransmission measurement-while-drilling (MWD) tool to improve the telemetry capacity for real-time MWD capability. This technology was used in two horizontal wells by Petrolera Indovenezolana which has been the key to improve the efficiency of drilling (decrease drilling time overall 2 to 3 days) in the desired zone and allowed achievement of the objectives in terms of improved reservoir contact regardless of formation characteristics.

Figure 1.Venezuelan Orinoco Oil belt. Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field is located in the Junín Norte block.


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2. Reservoir Model Knowledge
The Sand G of the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field in the Junín Norte block (Figure 1) geologically belongs to the Oficina formation, South flank of the Venezuelan Oriental Basin. These sand beds occur in the basal part of the Oficina formation, deposited in a braided fluvial setting as fluvial bar systems of braided plains/multistacked channels and channel-fill bars. The sand G is constituted by three (3) sand bodies separated by thin shale layers, coalescent in the East area, associated to the Deposit OFIG NZZ0035. The OFIG NZZ0035 reservoir (Figure 2), discovered in 1981, encompasses an area of 50 km2 and contains an estimated 734 million bbl oil reserves in place, of which 153 million bbl are considered recoverable oil. Until July 2011, 24 billion bbl (~ 3 %) has been produced; 129 million bbl remain. Twenty-nine wells have been drilled and are active producers.



Figure 2.OFIN ZZ0035 structural map. The reservoir characteristics are as follows: • • • • • • • thickness: ~ 49 ft porosity: ~ 22% permeability: ~ 1,014 mD oil saturation: ~ 80% original pressure ~ 1,290 psi at 2,680 ft current pressure: ~ 900 psi reservoir temperature: ~ 155 deg F.

The preferential sedimentation direction is SW-NE and the sediments are principally sands, which are represented by a flooding zone and channels, separated by thin claystone layers of interdistributary bay environment. It has been interpreted that the sediments corresponding to the G sand are from a Low Deltaic plain/interdistributary bay environments, where CU sequences (coarsening upwards) represent probably deltas and brakeage fans. The sandstone bodies that are separated by thin shale layers and FU sequences (fining upwards) could be interpreted as distributaries channels, with a sandstone degradation East-West till finer sediments, from interdistributary bay environments, are reached. The reservoirs are framed by structural - stragraphic traps. The structural regime is extensive and corresponds to a homocline with a low dip angle to the N-NE that increases to the South. This homocline has an internal normal fault system, with general E-W trend. The development area by PIV (160 km2) has a total coverage of 3D seismic cube, discretized in a North and a South cube. Nevertheless, the vertical resolution is the order of 50 and 75 feet, respectively. The field has a complex normal fault system which makes possible the reservoir compartmentalization, associated with graben and horst type


Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 structures that combined to the thin sand bodies make possible the occurrence of subseismic faults that can compromise the success of the project of horizontal drilling.

Figure 3.Sand G correlation logs of offset wells for Well NZZ-268 (left) and offset wells for Well NZZ-269 (right). The sand G, as mention previously is subdivided into 3 sand bodies separated by thin shale layers of 5 to 7 feet of thickness; these are G1, G2 and G3. This take place at the West area of the Norte Zuata (San Cristóbal) field. In the North-East area, coalescence occurs becoming the sand G in a massive body. However, at the East of the reservoir, the sand G shows coalescence with the overlying sand F. The drilling project of the NZZ-268 and NZZ-269 wells, aims to complete horizontally the sand G in the West area of the field, considering the vertical separation of sand bodies and not drained zones of the reservoir. The NZZ-268 well was planned to complete the G3 sand body in a thickness range of 7 to 15 feet in Southwest direction and the NZZ269 well was planned to drain the G1 sand body with an average thickness of 10 to 23 feet in East direction. The geological drilling control was made using a stratigraphic - structural correlation between near wells and the planned trajectories. In the case of the NZZ-268 well, a pilot hole was drilled because the horizontal planed trajectory was close to a normal fault of +/- 50 feet throw. Besides the NZZ-268 HP, the NZZ-178 (slant well) was use. For the NZZ-269 well the correlation was made through wells NZZ-263 (vertical) and NZZ-175 (deviated). The Figure 3 indicates the geological section of the top and base of the objective sand G. 4

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 The log display of each sand body is a ramp profile in which the more appropriate reservoir petrophysical characteristics are observed at 3 to 5 ft below the top boundary of the sand. To maintain the well in this desired interval required a precise geosteering and proactive decision-making process.

3. Objectives and Challenges
Petrolera Indovenezolana had experience drilling in this area with conventional geosteering technology (reactive well placement); but there were just a few wells drilled in very thin sands, and the overall results were quite poor as a result of the 3D geological complexity of the sand bodies. To better quantify and compare the results from conventional technologies with results obtained when combining DAEMR and an RSS, a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) were defined to evaluate the success achieved in drilling these wells in unconsolidated thin sands and increasing the NTG sand ratio, hence, the productivity index in complex reservoirs. The KPIs were as follows: • • • • • Drill a horizontal section in the NZZ-268 G3 sand body (max. estimated 15 ft thick) up to 1,910 ft measured depth (MD). Drill a horizontal section in the NZZ-269 G1 sand body (max. estimated 23 ft thick) up to 2,020 ft MD. Avoid exiting sand bodies (likely to result in sidetracks). Maintain the trajectory approximately 3 to7 ft below the top of the reservoir (ramp profile). Determine the true sand thickness along the trajectory.

To achieve these KPIs, two major challenges needed to be overcome: • • Geosteer into a 3 to 5-ft lens of good net pay thickness despite the real sand thick is bigger. Maintain control of the RSS to allow proper geosteering in unconsolidated sand.

The few offset wells available in the area, the minimal sand thickness, the ramp profile properties, as well as the expected subseismic geological events (faults) result in high geological uncertainties, making this area ideal for deployment of an RSS “point-the-bit” with a DAEMR tool. These combined tools would allow absolute drilling control; provide continuous mapping of the reservoir boundaries (top/base) for proactive decisions in real time, thus mitigate the possible loss of the target by crossing the target sand because of late detection as a result of the geologic uncertainties; and enhance the quality (sweet spot) and extent of net pay. The Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA) (Figure 4) used to achieve the defined KPIs includes a high-datatransmission MWD capability to improve the telemetry to optimize the well positioning in the productive zone, which eliminates the need for sidetracks. Also, a real-time workflow between office and rig site was established to provide proper feedback for proactive decisions.

Figure 4.Geosteering BHA. 5

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4. Case 1 (Well NZZ-268).
An important part of any horizontal well placement job starts with a proper landing of the previous sections. In this case, the 12 ¼-in. section was followed to 300 ft above the landing point (LP). The drill plan for the 3D well included excessive turning on azimuth and inclination construction at this drilling section, and the tendency of the BHA to build for a hard formation because of the presence of micro-carbonaceous shale, positioned the LP 3 ft total vertical depth (TVD) above the top of the sand. In the horizontal section, the main challenge was to Geosteer into the 15ft G3 sand body, which has variations in thickness and dip caused by the different geological events responsible for its deposition, so changes in facies and subseismic faults were expected. The drilling achieved 1,960 ft MD (2,000 ft MD expected) within 100% sand, with true thickness of 7 to 10 ft and 1.5- and 2-degree changes in dip opposite to the trajectory. Figure 5 indicates the NZZ-268 curtain section (vertical section along the well trajectory) screen, which represents the 2D model based on the distance to boundaries detected by the DAEMR tool. The boundaries on the 2D section are referenced to the well’s executed trajectory (red line) and color coded whereby darker colors represent lower resistivity. Supporting this interpretation are the extracted relative dips, represented by green lines extracted from the gamma ray (GR) image interpretation in the top track.

Figure 5.Real-time geosteering inversion canvas (upper) and 3D plot (lower) for Well NZZ-268. 6

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5. Case 2 (Well NZZ-269).
The second well was planned in the opposite direction of Well NZZ-268. The target sand was the first sand body (G1) in the G sand. The expected sand thickness was 23 ft. The challenges were to Geosteer 3 to 5 ft below the top of the sand on the basis of the ramp profile of the reservoir properties and to minimize the future water contact, which already was appearing in neighboring wells. During the landing section without pilot hole correlation, well-placement techniques (log correlations and 2D modeling) were performed to place the entry point 18 ft TVD below the Plan and avoid missing the target. The total 2,426-ft horizontal section was positioned and drilled at 5 ft from the sand body top along the entire section in a sequence of deltaic, nonconsolidated channel deposits with dips of 1 degree in the direction of the trajectory at the end of the section. The 2D model interpretation of Well NZZ-269 can be seen in Figure 6. Also depicted in the lower part of Figure 6 indicates a representation of the channel sequence along the well trajectory. The lower left picture shows surfaces that represent the reservoir boundaries (top/base). The 3D plot, with the inversion canvas (2D) picture as a background, shows the real well trajectory (green) and the blue and red sticks, which are the distances to boundaries derived from the inversion of DAEMR tool readings.

Figure 6.Real-time geosteering inversion canvas (upper) and 3D plot (lower) for Well NZZ-269. 7

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6. Results
The two wells were positioned in the desired reservoir interval (100% net pay) on the first attempt. • Each well was drilled inside the 100% net sand (ANT): a 1,960-ft horizontal section (HS) in Well NZZ258; and a 2,426-ft HS in Well NZZ-269, which represented an extra 400 ft (added 20%) in the latter well. No sidetracks were required because the wells were positioned correctly on the first attempt on the basis of tool readings. The pilot hole was cancelled for the second well as a result of the achievements in the first well while using real-time monitoring for the LP and because correlation well near to the proposed well. The RSS, under the directional driller’s command, responded to all geosteering requirements to deliver an in-gauge section with less tortuosity and less dogleg severities (below 5°/100 ft) compared with downhole motors. Continuous identification and mapping of the top of the reservoir allowed the well to be steered from 3 to 5 ft down from the top. The technique appropriated an understanding of the reservoir geometry by mapping true sand thickness. The wells were drilled through sand bodies considered to be sub horizontal along the well trajectory. However, according to the drilled horizontal section, the TVD data show variations in sand thickness (from 15 to 7 ft, Case 1) and in relative dips (from –2 to 2 degrees), which demonstrates it is feasible to Geosteer with locally large variations using the DAEMR tool.

• • •

• • •

The complex geometry associated with the thin sand (7 to 12 ft) required several changes in the well trajectory achieved by the RSS and the trajectory anticipated by the DAEMR measurements, thus demonstrating that the RSS is capable to respond properly in an unconsolidated sand characteristic of the Faja area. Both wells drilled from thick sands toward thinner sands, indicating that the well crossed a possible multistacked channel sequence. Also, the local high-angle dips suggest the presence of lateral discontinuities, facies changes, and/or sand channel limits.

7. Achievements
The efficiency provided to drilling operations and the ability to continuously map formation boundaries and position the well near the top of the sand without any sidetracks for similar cases in the area, demonstrate the technology capabilities. Implementation of real-time decision workflow from the rig to the office allowed rapid response in the geosteering operation and improved synergy among PDVSA, Petrolera Indovenezolana, and the drilling service company. The integration of the data acquired by the technology with the software allowed real-time interpretation and updating of the current geological model for a better understanding of the reservoir.

8. Conclusions
The RSS and LWD technologies in combination with geosteering services became a critical factor to successfully drill into the sweet spot at the first attempt, to overcome the limited expectations of what is achievable in terms of reservoir contact, and to consider the development of reserves beyond the already accepted limits. Continuous mapping of the sand top and base boundaries allows an appropriate proactive approach to decisions in real-time operations and an understanding of reservoir geometry. The RSS “point-the-bit” technology fulfills the changes in drilling direction in these particular unconsolidated sands, thus avoiding conventional drilling limitations (drop inclination in rotary mode), and is positioned as the preferred technology for these environments. 8

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Petrolera Indovenezolana has a very ambitious production goal for 2011–2012 and it is in a field more challenging than the one described here. On the basis of the current experience, they are confident to rely on this technology for the inclusion of some reserves from Sand E, for which the primary goal is to avoid the oil/water contact (OWC) by implementing an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project in the area; and the development of the reserves associated to the sands D, F and G with thicknesses from 7 to 12 feet and economically will be only possible with DAEMR technology. The wells drilled met the potential of the initial production compromised, allowing to Petrolera Indovenezolana to evaluate the potential of the navigated sand bodies, setting precedents with the technology for the future development of marginal reserves associated to thin sand bodies across multilateral wells.

9. Acknowledgments
Thanks to Petrolera Indovenezolana S.A. for the data release and the commitment to generate the information for this document. Special thanks to Mr. Manuel Lara and Yoanna Herrera for helping with the review.

10. References
Código Geológico de Venezuela PDVSA INTEVEP web site, (accessed 1 August, 2011). Machado, P., Guzman, R., Rojas, C., Ache, A. Hazboun, N.K., and Gonzalez, K. 2009. First Deep Azimuthal Electromagnetic Resistivity and Rotary Steerable System Geonavigation Project Result in Complex Sands for Bare Field in Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela. Paper 2009-118 presented at the 2009 World Heavy Oil Congress, Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela. PDVSA Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. 2006. Initial Results of the Orinoco Magna Reserve Project. In Contact With the New PDVSA, 8: 10–11. (accessed 1 August, 2011). Schenk C.J., Cook, T.A., Charpentier, R.R., Pollastro, R.M., Klett, T.R., Tennyson, M.E., Kirschbaum, M.A., Brownfield, M.E., and Pitman, J.K., 2009, An estimate of recoverable heavy oil resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3028, 4 p.