Articles tagged with "khurais"
Posted by Heading Out on July 9, 2012 - 9:40am
Tags: abu sa'fah, dorra, ghawar, hawtah, hout, khafji, khurais, khursanuiyah, lulu, najd fields, nuayyim, qatif, saudi arabia [list all tags]
Fom the viewpoint of those who suggest that there is no problem, the discussion that swirls over the future of global oil supplies often seems to focus on the large volumes of oil that still remain in place around the world. The critical point, however, is not that this oil exists, but rather the rate at which it can be recovered. This is perhaps most obviously pertinent to the discussion of oil coming from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, where the rapid decline in individual well performance means that a great many wells must be developed and remain on line in the out years to sustain any significant flow past peak. As I noted last week, it is a point that clearly was missed by Leonardo Maugeri, and equally by George Monbiot, who has finally been swayed to the side of the cornucopians, after years of doubt.
But the issue of individual well flow rates are an increasingly critical factor when future oil production in oilfields around the world are considered, and this holds equally true when the fields in Saudi Arabia are discussed.
The history of oil production from Saudi Arabia has largely come from individual wells that produced in the thousands of barrels a day. In order to sustain that production over decades, it has been necessary to ensure that 1) the pressure differential between the well and the rock are sustained; 2) that the rock has an adequate permeability to ensure that flow continues at a steady state; 3) that the oil itself is of relatively low viscocity and is thus able to easily flow through the rock; and 4) that there is a sufficient thickness and extent in the reservoir to allow such sustained production.
All of those factors came together in the giant fields that provided high levels of production over many decades, most particularly in the northern segments of Ghawar.
Yet those conditions are less commonly congruent in the fields that Aramco must now exploit to address the coming falls in production from the historic sources. These “best of the rest” (as the late Matt Simmons called them) must now increasingly carry the burden of sustaining Saudi production fail, individually, on differing grounds from meeting those earlier parameters. Collectively and in the face of Ghawar’s decline, they will only be able to sustain production to their original targets and will not provide replacement production as the oldest and larger begin to fade. I would remind you of the curve that Euan put up back in 2007.
Synopsis: A poignant little film about someone taking a lot of precious seawater, piping it miles into a parched desert, and forcing it into the ground. Oh, and then poking a bunch of holes in said ground and collecting the ooze that comes out. And separating said ooze into crude oil, bad smelling gas, and assorted other liquids with a whole lot of fancy plumbing. A bit slow occasionally, but this, plus a strange score choice ("Nomads of the Tibetan High Plateau"), forces the viewer to ponder the meaning of it all. In 3D animation.
|Shorter synopsis: This video is an animated flyover of the Khurais Crude Increment Program in Saudi Arabia. Interesting stuff about oil production.|
The development of oil in Texas produced, in its time, the four richest men in the world (H.L. Hunt, Sid Richardson, Roy Cullen and Clint Murchison) and the single richest acre of oil production at Kilgore but is not where the greatest number of productive fields of oil per acre, or perhaps the most expensive acre in the country lies. (And the current richest American oilman, Harold Hamm, incidentally is now from Oklahoma - oh, tempora). That expensive acreage is found in and around Los Angeles in California, and so it is California that I will write about today.
The impacts of the disruptions in the Middle East are now starting to become evident as supplies no longer flow into the delivery pipelines that carry fuel from countries such as Libya to their European customers. It is now considered likely that the 1.6 mbd that Libya delivers to the world market will not be available for some time. Ireland, for example, which has had other problems with the banks in the recent past, is now faced with the loss of perhaps 23% of its fuel supply, which while only 14 kbd is, for that country, likely to be very significant. For while the Libyan shortage at present may be just due to Gadhafi ordering the ports closed, if he is also ordering the destruction of facilities, as is rumored, then the consequences may be more long term. ENI has reported that the Libyan shortfall is currently 1.2 mbd.
It is in this context that the world turns to OPEC, which has stated that it has enough oil in reserve to stabilize deliveries, and looks to see a compensating production increase from those nations with that potential. And here is the rub, for some OPEC countries are themselves in a little political difficulty which might negatively impact their own production, while those that can, in the short term, increase flow volumes to match the shortfall are likely all called Saudi Arabia.
This is another in my series of Sunday tech talks. At the end of the last tech talk, I was commenting on the amount of water that usually comes out of the ground whenever we extract fossil fuels. Once it gets to the surface the questions become two-fold:
(1) How do we separate the different components of the fluid, so we can separate out what we would like to have (the fuel/fuels)?
(2) What do we with the parts of the mix we don't want?
The simple answer (as in easy to write) to the separation of the different components of the fluid is the Gas Oil Separation Plant. However, as you can imagine, if you are tasked with separating, for the sake of example, the liquids and hydrogen sulphide from a gas flow of 1.5 billion cf/day, which is coming from some 87 wells that concurrently produce some 300,000 bd of Arabian Light crude, the actual design of such a plant is anything but trivial. Even the sulfur that is drawn off, at some 90 tons/day, needs to be provided for in the design of the plant.
When I wrote about some of the stories that are likely to be discussed over the next year, one of those that I mentioned is the delay before we see further increases in production from KSA. In the piece I quoted from the Arab News about the latest projections of Aramco production increases over the next two years. While there has not been much change in the total projected production over the last eighteen months, there have been some, as the Kingdom has moved toward a goal of 130 rigs operating there by May of this year. Over the time we have posted here, we have quite often revisited the planned production increases from the Kingdom, and so I thought it worth having a quick look to see how things are going.
In terms of major developments Khurais stands out as being considerably bigger than the rest.
In a direct reference to the Russian president, Mr Barroso (head of the European Commission) last week complained that the Kremlin was increasingly resorting to a very blunt, but potent weapon in its dealings with Europe - "the use of energy resources as an instrument of political coercion". . . . . In short, to mix the energy metaphor, Gazprom appears to have Europe over a barrel.However, given that companies have to be assured of their investments before they commit to large energy construction, it is worth noting that the pipelines and infrastructure are going to cost around $11 billion. Since it will take four years to get the pipes in, is it fair to ask those who demand windfall profits taxes from the energy companies, what they would consider a fair return on that investment?