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NOTE 13: Heavy Oil, High Viscosity Well Testing

Staatsolies, Suriname's State Oil Company, operates the only oil field in Suriname that is an onshore operation producing heavy crude between 13° and 16° API gravity. The extraction method utilized is Progressive Cavity Pump (PCP) and the company does not inject any diluent nor have any thermal method to reduce viscosity. As a result, the produced oil is very heavy with high viscosity (approximately 2000 cP at 80° - 100°F) the water cut is between 0 - 80% with a Gas Void Fraction from 0% to 60%.

Up until 2001, the wells were tested using a 100 bbl tank with three to eight wells flowing through individual flowlines to each tank. The tank filled for a distinct period of time to obtain the volumetric flow rate measurement by manual tank strapping, then water cut was determined by averaging the water content of samples collected at different depths of the tank (top, middle and bottom). Due to the nature of the heavy, viscous crude oil, tanks had large amounts of foam, which took up to 24 hours to settle.

In 2001, Staatsolie ordered an Agar Multiphase Unit for high viscosity service. The MPFM was mounted on a small tralier. After an evaluation period in which test tank readings were compared to that of the MPFM, Staatsolies chose to test its wells utilizing Agar's MPFM technology.

During well testing, the MPFM was powered by the same transformer that powered the PCP pump. The test well flow line was diverted through the MPFM using flexible hoses. Because Staatsolie was satisfied with the MPFM's performance, they chose it as their standard method for well testing. The tests consist of approximately two hours of well stabilization time followed by one hour of well testing. Once completed, the MPFM can be relocated to another well site. By utilizing this process, customers can test up to four wells per day.

Because many of Staatsolie's wells were low producers, falling below the measurable liquid rates of Agar's MPFM, the company placed subsequent orders to optimize low flowing wells. The latest models use a MPFM-50, which operates in a batch mode. This model can be utilized for wells with flow between 10 to 1000 BPD and is appropriate for all well testing.

As a direct result of the proven efficiencies created by the MPFM technology, Staatsolies has utilized additional units at other low producing sites.

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