Twoyears later, two months after the start of the extractive operation in the ITTblock – located in the buffer zone of the Yasuní Park – 80% of water and 20% ofcrude oil are obtained. This is certified by Petroamazonas EP in its productionfigures. As of November 11, ITT produces 64,112 barrels of oil per day and254,077 barrels of water per day.
Should that water level worry in this oil block? Authorities and experts differ in their points of view.
For Augusto Tandazo, a lawyer expert in oil, is a symptom because production is being forced due to the need for more oil resources and the fall in production without counting ITT. Before 2007, 426,000 barrels per day were produced and now 337,000. This is compensated by the new production of ITT (Tiputini and Tambococha): 89,000 barrels.
Fernando Reyes, from the College of Engineers in charge of the oil issue, says that the characteristic of heavier oil fields is that there is a large amount of water, which can be a problem if a control plan is not applied, which is not happening. The water cut in all fields of the state is 82%, he says. If it is not controlled, it could happen in other fields that 50% had to close due to a large production of water. If it continues to increase in the ITT, more drilling should be done in order to maintain production.
On the other hand, Minister Carlos Pérez García and Petroamazonas manager Álex Galárraga agree that the production of 80% of water is not a factor of concern. Galárraga says that it is a normal behavior in heavy oil fields. Blocks such as 16 (Ecuador) and Rubiales (Colombia) have presence of viscous crudes and infinite aquifers and production is maintained even with high water cuts. He explains that in 2004 Beicip Franlab indicated that for the third year of production of the ITT the production of water would reach 300,000 barrels per day and that is being fulfilled.
And what is the destination of water? 140,000 barrels are being re-injected at some 7,000 feet deep and until the end of the month some 200,000 barrels will be reinjected, according to Galárraga.
The water has apparently exceeded the oil and water separation systems in the ITT. Sources in the oil sector indicate that there was a technical problem in the transportation of oil from the ITT by the Heavy Crude Pipeline, oil was being extracted with a percentage of water higher than allowed. “We’ve already managed to handle that situation,” says Pérez, adding that four heaters and four new spacers were purchased.
Galárraga acknowledges that this problem was incurred: the permitted was up to 0.8% and oil was being transported by the OCP with 4% water. He says it was temporary and went down to 1.5% and next week it would be under the specification. He assures that in June a water processing plant of 1.2 million barrels of fluid per day will be built. It will be located outside the Yasuní Park and will completely dehydrate the oil water.
Petroamazonascosts $ 0.20 per barrel of treated water. The production rate per barrel forthe entire company is $ 17.5. In the ITT it is $ 15.45, says Galárraga. (I)