CARTAGENA, Colombia, April (Reuters) - Colombia's state-run oil producer Ecopetrol aims to add between 8 and 20 percentage points to typical recovery factors in the next decade to boost the amount of crude recoverable from its wells, a company official said.
Boosting extractable volumes from Colombia's maturing onshore wells will help the million-barrel-per-day producer stretch out reserves which will run out in less than seven years at current output levels, unless new sites are developed.
Ricardo Rojas, an executive from Ecopetrol's recovery management area, said on Wednesday that boosting recovery rates would not necessarily significantly increase daily output from fields but rather extend the life of projects where it is successful.
He said one of Ecopetrol's biggest fields, Chichimene, where air injection recently helped output climb to a record 80,000 barrels a day, has the potential to increase recoverable volumes several times over by boosting its recovery factor which is restricted by difficult geological characteristics there.
Speaking at the Colombia Oil & Gas conference in the coastal city of Cartagena, he said the company is deciding on a case-by-case basis at which projects it will use enhanced recovery technologies due to cost and is running several pilots.
Most of those pilots are scheduled to progress to being fully implemented by 2018 or 2019, Rojas said.
Recovery-boosting technology is not always successful. Ecopetrol decided not to use so-called STAR technology developed by Toronto-listed Pacific Rubiales based on the results of a pilot project it led at the Quifa field both companies own. (Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Ted Botha)