STAR Recovery Process Shines at Rubiales Field

Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales Energy announced the successful completion of the first phase of the Synchronized Thermal Additional Recovery (STAR) project, and the kick-off of the second phase, as contemplated by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed between the parties on April 6, 2009.

During the first phase of the STAR project a number of studies and tests were carried out at the University of Calgary's research laboratories, including three combustion tube tests, two ramped temperature oxidation tests, and numerical simulations. On the basis of the same, it has been determined that the Rubiales crude has a stable and controllable ignition point at reservoir conditions, that the fire front thereby generated is stable, and that there is evidence of significant additional recovery potential by using the STAR process at the Rubiales field. These results confirm the feasibility and potential of the technology and clear the way for the next stages of the project.

As part of the second phase of the STAR project contemplated in the MOU, Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales will now proceed with the definition of the required parameters for the implementation of the pilot project in the Rubiales field and for next stages of project including, among other things, the following: 

  • the design, duration and scope of the pilot project and on-site testing to be carried out at the Rubiales field;
  • the technical and economic conditions under which the pilot project will be considered to be successful for the purposes of proceeding to the last phase of the STAR project (which will include the execution of a definitive agreement between the parties and implementation of the STAR technology throughout the field); and
  • the basic terms and conditions, both volumetric and economic, which will frame the definitive agreement for the commercial implementation of STAR at the Rubiales field for the remaining economic life of the reservoir.

Ecopetrol and Pacific Rubiales expect to finalize the foregoing and commence the implementation of the pilot project at the Rubiales Field by June, 2010.

Mr. Ronald Pantin, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Rubiales, commented, "We firmly believe that the STAR technology will play a key role in the development of heavy oil reserves in Colombia and at the Rubiales field in particular. We are very happy to continue to be able to work with our partner Ecopetrol in opening new frontiers for the oil industry in Colombia through the technology being developed as part of STAR."