June 22, 2008

Saudi Arabia oil: Background on Zuluf, Safaniyah, Berri, Khurais and Shaybah the sources of increased production

The increased production fields have rectangles around the name. Information from the EIA Saudi Arabia Country report Click on the picture for a larger version.

Saudi Arabia will increase production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day of oil by the end of next year [2009] and could add a further 2.5 million barrels a day if needed, from some new giant fields, Naimi said.

The further daily capacity includes 900,000 barrels from the Zuluf field, 700,000 barrels from Safaniyah, 300,000 barrels from Berri, 300,000 barrels from Khurais and 250,000 barrels from Shaybah, Naimi said.

``Saudi Arabia is prepared and willing to produce additional barrels of crude above and beyond the 9.7 million barrels per day, which we plan to produce during the month of July, if demand for such quantities materializes and our customers tell us they are needed,'' Naimi said.

Saudi Arabia's capacity will be 12.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2009 and may rise to 15 million after that if necessary, he said

The market needs between 3 million and 4 million barrels a day of spare oil production capacity, compared with the 2 million barrels a day currently available, Bodman said. OPEC says the world's spare capacity is about 3 million barrels a day, with two- thirds of that in Saudi Arabia.

Safaniyah, by far the largest offshore oilfield in the world, was found in 1951 by Texaco (which in 1937 was the first to join SoCal - now Chevron - in Saudi Arabia as a 50% partner in Aramco. But now Taxaco is part of Chevron).

Safaniyah has over 15 bn barrels of proven oil reserves recoverable at relatively low cost. The oil is heavy, 27[degrees] API with 2.93-2.96% sulphur, and much of Safaniyah's 1.5m b/d capacity has been mothballed. Like most other offshore fields in the north-east, the oil is reservoired in Cretaceous sandstones and carbonates mainly at a depth of 5,100 ft.

Berri, found in 1964 by Mobil, is an onshore and offshore giant. It has over 10 bn barrels of 32-34-39 deg. API oil recoverable at relatively low cost. The field produces from several formations of Upper and Mid-Jurassic age, lying mostly at a depth of 8,300 feet. Its capacity has been raised from less than 700,000 b/d in 1990 to 1.15m b/d.

Berri crude oils are blended with lighter grades mostly produced from Abqaiq and the field's system can take crude oils from Qatif. The export blend is Arabian Extra Light, 38 deg. API with about 1% sulphur.

From the EIA country report: Shaybah contains an estimated 14.3 billion barrels of premium grade 41.6o API sweet (nearly sulfur-free) Arab Extra Light crude oil, with production as of November 2006, at around 550,000 bbl/d from 141 wells. It is the largest oil field in the world that has been developed in the past two decades. According to Oil Minister Naimi (October 1999), the development of Shaybah showed that "the cost of adding...capacity - that is, all the infrastructure, producing and transportation facilities - necessary to produce one additional barrel of oil per day in Saudi Arabia is, at most, $5,000 compared to between $10,000 and $20,000 in most areas of the world."

-The Shaybah complex includes three gas/oil separation plants (GOSPs) and a 395-mile pipeline to connect the field to Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia's closest gathering center, for blending with Arab Light crude (Berri and Abqaiq streams). In addition to oil, Shaybah has a large natural gas "cap" (associated gas), with estimated reserves of 25 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). Gas production of 880 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) is re-injected. It is reported that possible gas recovery project could be implemented within 5 or 6 years, potentially for use in petrochemical production.

-The Khurais fields (including Abu Jifan and Mazalij) west of Ghawar, will increase Saudi production capacity (of Arab Light) by 1.2 million bbl/d at a cost of $3 billion. Once online, Saudi Arabia will be the only oil producer to have two “super giant” fields, that which produce more than 1 million bbl/d of crude oil. This is to involve installation of four GOSPs, with a capacity of 200,000 bbl/d each, at Khurais, which first came online in the 1963, but was mothballed by Aramco some three-decades later. Aramco plans to drill at least 300 exploration wells with 23 rigs.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

Recent Saudi Oil Production was as low as 8.6 million bpd in 2007

Oil megaprojects from around the world

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