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Primary (cold) production of heavy oil from the Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco (Orinoco oil belt) delivers very low recovery factors. Steam-assisted thermal production methods are increasingly being used in the region to enhance recovery. To optimize the heating efficiency of steam injection and the gravitational segregation of heavy oil, several of the steam-assisted techniques used in the region require precise positioning of horizontal wells close to the bottom of the reservoir sands. These sands are usually unconsolidated and highly heterogeneous, with lateral variations at subseismic scales. Many of the reservoirs are less than 20-ft thick.
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