A discussion on the development of the Orinoco Belt
Located in southeastern Venezuela, the Orinoco Belt has the potential to be the largest essentially untapped oil accumulation in the world, with an estimated mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil, according to a US Geological Survey.
On 18 December 2013 a Venezuelan Technical Collective participated in a Global CCS Institute webinar organised to address its interests in exploring ways to limit the impact of climate change. This Technical Collective is a group of like-minded technical experts that has formed to explore ways to limit the impact of the country’s carbon intensive activities on climate change.
Their activity is a response to Venezuela's 5th objective of its Government Plan 2013-2019, recently signed into law: a commitment to limit the rate of long-term climate change. As a result of this law, there is an increased interest from the national industry, ministries, and public institutions regarding the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere produced directly by human activities, known as anthropogenic C02.
The Technical Collective is developing a carbon, capture and storage (CCS) proposal, to be presented to PDVSA (the Venezuelan National Oil Company), which will include the utilisation of anthropogenic CO2 as an alternative technology to conventional thermal methods for the development of the Orinoco Belt. Over the last couple of years, the Collective has gathered information on several existing and developing extraction technologies, such as immiscible EOR, electric and electromagnetic methods, and have developed plans to use these technologies to increase the recovery factor of the Orinoco Belt, in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
The Collective contacted the Institute to help understand the global status of carbon storage technologies and projects. In response, the Institute hosted a Spanish language webinar on the Global Status of CCS, which included findings from the Institute's flagship report - Global Status of CCS: 2013, outlining the challenges of utilising CO2 for the development of extra-heavy oils. Discussion during the interactive webinar were very positive and many questions were asked with the Collective particularly interested in learning more about CCS initiatives in South America, particularly for Trinidad and Tobago. There were also questions related to API gravity enhancement through CO2 injection.
This webinar was the first in a three part series that the Institute will hold for Venezuela stakeholders, in Spanish. The next webinar will focus on immiscible CO2-EOR and issues regarding the technologies they have been studying. Please contact Meade Harris, Senior Advisor Capacity Development and Public Engagement for the Americas if you are interested in joining the next webinar, also held in Spanish.
Here is a recording of the webinar and a browsable version of the slides used in the presentation: