Orinoco Reserves Could be the Worlds Largest

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 25 Jan 2010 09:23
Tags: heavy oil orinoco reserves venezuela

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In a move likely to cause sleepless nights in Caracus, The U.S. Geological Survey has reassessed the size of recoverable reserves in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, and pronounced them much bigger than before.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the East Venezuela Basin Province; the range is 380 to 652 billion barrels. The Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit thus contains one of the largest recoverable oil accumulations in the world.

The reserves have not been exploited, originally due to their uneconomic nature. High oil prices combined with improving technology have changed the landscape however, and Venezuela is trying to put them back in play.

Heavy oil technology has developed massively in recent years.

Recovery factor, or that percentage of the OOIP that is determined to be technically recoverable, was estimated from what is currently known of the technology for recovery of heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt AU and in other areas, particularly California, west Texas, and western Canada.

As the recovery factor has gone up, so therefore have the size of the reserves.

The maximum recovery factor was estimated to be 70 percent, on the assumption that other recovery processes, in addition to horizontal drilling and steam-assisted gravity drainage, might eventually be applied on a large scale.

Once again, as if we needed reminding, reserves depend on technology as well as geology.

It is also a reminder that our future energy requirements depend on ever more difficult to recover crude. In such a market, technology leadership is where the money is. Its not what you have but what you can do with it that matters.


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