USGS pegs Orinoco's recoverable figure at 513 billion bbl

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, Jan. 22 -- The volume of technically recoverable heavy oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco oil belt is 513 billion bbl, making it one of the world’s largest accumulations of recoverable oil, the US Geological Survey said Jan. 22.

The range of recoverable oil is estimated at 380-652 billion bbl, the USGS said. Technically recoverable associated-dissolved gas is estimated at a mean of 135 tcf and a range of 53-262 tcf.

USGS made no attempt to estimate either economically recoverable resources or reserves, and the assessment implies nothing about rates or timeframes of production or the likelihood of heavy oil recovery.

The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the La Luna-Quercual Total Petroleum System covers 50,000 sq km of the East Venezuela Basin Province, which is underlain by more than 1 trillion bbl of heavy oil in place, the agency said.

The heavy oil in the assessment unit is largely contained in fluvial, nearshore marine, and tidal sandstone reservoirs of the Miocene Oficina formation.

“The reservoir sandstones, although porous and permeable, are characterized by several depositional sequences with considerable internal fluid-flow heterogeneity caused by juxtaposition of different facies and by shale barriers that reduce recovery efficiency,” USGS said.

The reservoirs are 150-1,400 m deep with heavy oil of 4-16° gravity. Viscosities range from 2,000 to 8,000 cp.

The oil in place estimate relied mainly on published geologic and engineering data for reservoirs (net oil-saturated sandstone thickness and extent), petrophysical properties (porosity, water saturation, and formation volume factors), recovery factors determined by pilot projects, and estimates of volumes of oil in place.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA estimated 1.18 trillion bbl of oil in place in 1987 and revised that in 2006 to a median of 1.3 trillion bbl, a maximum of 1.4 trillion bbl, and a minimum of 900 billion bbl.

Recovery factor was estimated at a minimum of 15% for cold production using horizontal wells. Recovery factor was put at a median of 45% to a maximum 70% using horizontal drilling and thermal recovery methods.

The USGS assessment is the first to identify how much is technically recoverable; that is, producible using currently available technology and industry practices, said Brenda Pierce, USGS Energy Resources Program coordinator.

USGS noted that worldwide oil consumption was 85.4 million b/d in 2008. The three largest consuming countries were the US at 19.5 million b/d, China at 7.9 million b/d, and Japan at 4.8 million b/d.

“Knowing the potential for extractable resources from this tremendous oil accumulation, and others like it, is critical to our understanding of the global petroleum potential and informing policy and decision makers,” Pierce said.

The Orinoco is the largest accumulation ever assessed by the USGS.

Contact Alan Petzet at alanp@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

Tullow Oil provides production update on Jubilee, other fields

07/01/2015 Tullow Oil PLC reported that gross production for the Jubilee field offshore Ghana averaged 105,000 b/d in this year’s first half, up from 102,000 ...

Security through change

06/29/2015

At the start of this month the US Army published its "Energy Security & Sustainability (ES2) Strategy" report. 

Mubadala starts production at Nong Yao in Gulf of Thailand

06/29/2015 Mubadala Petroleum, Abu Dhabi, started production on June 17 from its Nong Yao oil field in the G11/48 concession of the southern Gulf of Thailand.

OGJ Newsletter

06/29/2015

Junex provides update on Galt oil property drilling

06/26/2015 Junex Inc., Quebec City, Que., said it is finalizing construction of the surface drilling pad for the Junex Galt No. 5 horizontal well that the com...

Lundin spuds three wells offshore Norway

06/24/2015 Lundin Norway AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lundin Petroleum AB, spudded three wells: its second Alta appraisal well in the Barents Sea, an appr...

WPX Energy adds to acreage in Gallup oil play

06/22/2015 WPX Energy Inc., Tulsa, has added to its San Juan Gallup acreage in New Mexico with the purchase of another 14,300 net acres from an undisclosed se...

YPFB Andina makes oil discovery in Bolivia’s Boqueron field

06/22/2015 YPFB Andina reported an oil discovery in Boqueron field in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz region. The Boqueron 4D well reached a total depth of 3,237 m and h...

Watching Government: Considering energy R&D

06/22/2015 Moving from research to development (R&D) became a recurring question as the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered 43 sep...
White Papers

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected