Colombia Well Site Visit Provides Students with an Integrated Vision of the E&P Industry

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

The first joint activity of the year by AAPG Colombian students and young professionals was a fieldtrip from Bogotá to Guando Southwest Oil Field operated by Perenco in Central Colombia near the town of Melgar.

The field trip was organized by Ricardo Vargas, AAPG Visiting Geoscientist (VG) and development and operations geologist at Perenco.

Participants included nine students from AAPG chapters at the National University of Colombia and the University of the Andes in Bogota and the EIA University in Medellin.

Upon reaching the facilities, we were introduced to the QSHE (Quality, Security, Health and Environment) team, who gave an overview of Perenco's history and operations worldwide and explained the safety protocols, health surveillance and environmental control during exploration and production phases. It is very important to understand these concepts because an oil field is a high risk work place, and in order to stay safe everyone must follow the rules and protocols. Next, VG Ricardo Vargas delivered a presentation introducing regional geology, tectonic setting, stratigraphy and geological evolution of the Upper Magdalena Valley Basin, highlighting the characteristics of the plays from which oil is extracted. Ricardo talked to us about the geology; the conventional reservoir has a structural trap due to Boquerón fault. The rocks from which the field produces are sandstones from Guadalupe formation.

After receiving the field map of, we visited the office of Weatherford drilling services. There we learned about drilling, casing and borehole geophysical surveying, data acquisition, processing interpretation, and geological features that must be taken into account when drilling a well.

The next stop was Datalog's office. Datalog employees are in charge of the mud logging and the direct detection of hydrocarbon plays. There we saw the well through the eyes of a mud logger –let's say under the microscope and through a fluorescence camera. We had the opportunity to perform basic rock tests, sample preparation and storage, and we observed standards for sample description and storage. Then we went to the shakers section where they showed us how they clean the mud after it comes back to the surface. It is important to recycle the mud, so the shakers try to separate the bigger particles from the fluid needed in the drilling, also from the mud that comes back they take the samples to analyze in geology. We also saw a machine that evaporates mud. They use the machine when the mud has lost the properties needed, and it would be very expensive to recycle it. After evaporating the water, they use the solid particles to build roads and other civil constructions.

Next, we had a glance at the drill and drilling table, witnessed well- casing activities, and walked alongside tanks where drilling mud is stored and rock cuttings are recovered and dried for analysis. We also saw the heavy machinery in action and observed the well emergency mechanisms in producing wells.

Finally, we toured the Baker Hughes office, where we learned about the role drilling fluids play, their composition, chemical and physical properties and the ways they are controlled. We also learned the importance of careful supervision of pressure equilibrium between the formation and the fluid.

We ended the tour with a balanced and nutritious lunch at Perenco's main field offices before returning to Bogotá.

All in all, the well site visit exciting and constructive experience that provided an integrated vision of the operation of an E&P company delivered by really kind personnel. We the opportunity to take a direct look at the joint work of geologists, geophysicists, engineers and a wide range of professionals who make the whole operation possible. This kind of fieldtrip is must-have in a geoscientist undergraduate program, as it is shows the common scenario of petroleum geosciences world.

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