'Bechraji can produce a lot more', says ONGC

Vol 17, PW 10 (19 Dec 13) Exploration & Production

ONGC believes it can trigger a 400% increase in heavy oil production from the Bechraji oilfield in Gujarat using chemical or thermal recovery techniques under evaluation at the Ahmedabad-based Institute of Reservoir Studies.

Bechraji is one of four heavy oilfields under ONGC's Mehsana Asset producing 200 tonnes a day (1250 b/d) of high viscosity crude. "If you apply the right scheme at the right time," says a source, "production can go up to 700 (4400 b/d) or 1000 tonnes a day (6300 b/d)." By the end of this fiscal (March 31, 2014) IRS boffins will be ready with their recommendation.

But they must decide whether to use similar 'in-situ' combustion at Bechraji already used at Lanwa, producing 220 tonnes a day (1400 b/d); Santhal, producing 1650 tonnes a day (10,400 b/d); and Balol, producing 350 tonnes a day (2200 b/d). "Instead of 'in-situ' combustion we are thinking of other techniques for Bechraji," adds our source.

"Bechraji viscosity is not high (around 300-centipoise) and is already producing ok." Contrast that with 1600-centipoise viscosity of heavy Lanwa crude, equivalent to treacle. Under consideration at Bechraji is 'steam flooding' or polymer injection into the reservoir, or low salinity water flooding.

"Without such techniques production from these four fields would be 500 tonnes a day (3000 b/d)," we hear. "But since 1997 when we began these methods production is 2500 tonnes a day (16,000 b/d)."