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Perla Field, Gulf of Venezuela, Venezuela

Key Data

The Perla gas field is situated in the Cardon IV block in the Gulf of Venezuela. The field, which covers about 33km², lies at water depth of 60m.

Repsol is the operator of the field and owns a 50% stake. The remainder is held by Eni. The Cardon IV block is licensed by Eni and Repsol. The block was awarded in 2005 and is part of the Rafael Urdaneta gas project, which covers an area of 924km² and is situated in shallower water.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) owns a 35% back-in right in the development phase. If the right is exercised by PDVSA, Eni and Repsol will each be left with 32.5% of interest in the project.

Repsol's reserves have been depleted over the past few years due to matured oil fields and production contracts in several South American countries. Therefore, the company plans to raise production through new discoveries offshore Brazil and Venezuela. Venezuela is focusing on expanding gas output and exporting LNG. Venezuela has a reported 179tcf of natural gas reserves. It held about 2.6% of total proven natural reserves in 2008.

Perla discovery and drilling
"PDVSA owns a 35% back-in right in Perla's development phase."

The Perla field was discovered in 1976. Exploration activities were carried out by the partners in 2009 to estimate the reserves present in the field. The Perla 1X well, also known as Pearl-1, is located about 50km from the coast.

The well had encountered a 240m hydrocarbon column by October 2009. The discovery was among the greatest hydrocarbons finds in the world in 2009.

During the production test the well reported high-quality gas with a capacity of about 600,000 cubic metres per day and 500 barrels of condensate per day. It is expected that, in normal state, the daily gas production per well will exceed one million cubic metres.

The well was drilled by the jack-up oil rig Ensco 68.

The Perla-2 well which was drilled in April 2010 increased the reserve estimates by 30%. The well produced 1.4 million cubic metres per day of gas and 1,500 barrels of condensate per day during testing. It is expected to produce over two million cubic metres per day of gas and 2,000 barrels of condensate per day under normal conditions.

A third well Perla-3, was drilled in November 2010. The well produced 1.9 million cubic metres per day of gas and 1,350 barrels of condensate per day. The well confirmed the high productivity of the field.

In February 2011, a fourth well named Perla-4 was drilled by the Offshore Vigilant jack-up rig. The well flowed at the rate of 17 million standard cubic feet per day of gas and 560 barrels of condensate per day.

Geology and reserves

The field is south of Gela field, above an interval of lower Jurassic shelf limestone. Marls and evaporite are present in layers below the reservoirs. The layers above the reservoirs contain Streppenosa shale.

The field is estimated to contain 16tcf of natural gas reserves.

Perla field development

The Perla field partners have completed the front-end engineering design (FEED) for the initial phase of the field development. The field is expected to come onstream by the first half of 2013.

"The Perla field is above an interval of Jurassic shelf limestone."

Eni plans to employ breakthrough technologies to enhance the project's start-up.

The field is expected to produce 300 million cubic feet per day of natural gas on start-up. The initial phase of development will involve drilling of wells that will be connected to four offshore platforms. The platforms will be connected to an onshore processing facility through a gas pipeline.

Future phases of development will include the drilling of new production wells and modification of the processing facility to reach peak production levels of 1,200MMcf per day of natural gas.

Contracts for Perla

In October 2010, Foster Wheeler was awarded the contract to carry out the pre-FEED and FEED studies for the field development.

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