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AAPG Bulletin

Abstract


Volume: 37 (1953)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 2093

Last Page: 2118

Title: La Brea-Parinas Oil Field, Northwestern Peru

Author(s): Russell B. Travis (2)

Abstract:

The La Brea-Parinas oil field occupies 643 square miles on a narrow strip of land between the Amotape Mountains and the Pacific Ocean north of the Chira River in northwestern Peru. This area is desert due to the peculiar effect of the cold Humboldt ocean current. Oil seeps, common along the coast, were worked for centuries by the Indians and Spanish and incited an early interest in drilling for oil. The first well on La Brea-Parinas was drilled in 1862. This property, including the surface rights and the petroleum, is owned in fee by International Petroleum Company, Limited. This unusual title is a direct consequence of the grant of the mining rights of the area by Peru to an individual in 1826 in settlement of a State debt incurred during Peru's war of independence.

The rocks of the Estate range in age from Pennsylvanian to Recent. A series of Pennsylvanian argillites and quartzites, intruded by granite, constitutes the basement of the region and forms the Amotape Mountains. Cretaceous and Eocene clastic sediments of about equal volume comprise the remainder of the pre-Pleistocene section. They are of orogenic derivation, consisting of feldspathic sands and silty micaceous shales and total 30,000 feet in thickness. Three-fourths of the production comes from the lower Eocene Parinas sandstone. The basic structure of the region is a result of tensional break-down of a thick prism of sediments between the Andes Mountains and the ocean basin modified by the stability of pre-Tertiary structural highs. Oil accumulation is regionally controlled by two m jor east-west structural highs and their tributary spurs, and locally controlled by the countless normal faults which have broken the region into thousands of small fault blocks each of which is a potential reservoir.

Conventional methods of locating, drilling, and testing wells are employed. At present, eight rigs are in operation, each averaging about 1,000 feet per week. Gun-perforating cemented casing is the normal method of completing, although perforated liners are run in wells to be nitroshot. Most of the pools are produced by solution-gas drive and many by gas-cap drive in addition. Only about 220 of the 1,880 producing wells flow, but they produce half of the 31,000 barrels per day production. The oil is a mixed-base crude with an average gravity of about 37° API. Accumulated production to June 30, 1952, was 341,424,910 barrels. Pressure maintenance through return of natural gas has been practiced in many pools since 1933 and has substantially increased ultimate recoveries. Waterflood ng, to date, has not been altogether successful. Nitroshooting, hydrafracing, and L.P.G. injection also are used to increase production. The Monte pool, a representative Parinas pool, is a single block reservoir in the central part of the Estate on the east flank of a northward-trending spur from the La Brea-Negritos uplift, a major east-west high. It has a 160-foot oil leg between gas and water over an area of 65 acres and is produced by six wells at a rate of 750 barrels per day. Pressure maintenance was begun in 1950 about a year after the pool's discovery and is expected to recover 2,750,000 barrels which, based on volumetric calculations for total oil in place, is a recovery of 62.9 per cent.

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