Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Manifa to Yield 500,000 b/d by 2013 and 900,000 b/d by 2014 -- Aramco

by David Rachovich

                                Source: Saudi Aramco via Feb 23, 2011
                                                       Source: Saudi Aramco website 
                [Click on map to enlarge]
                                                                             Source: Saudi Aramco via EIA, here.

"Significant progress was achieved in 2010 on Manifa, the giant Arabian Gulf offshore field under development [emphasis mine and please see map and images above -- D.R.]," Saudi Aramco said in its 2010 annual review, published on Monday (June 6).

"Project elements completed during the year included all drilling islands, as well as the main and lateral causeways. Construction of the Manifa Central Processing complex has begun, with the main spine and process area pipe rack completed. The Manifa development will accommodate a Central Processing Facility with gas-oil separation, wet crude handling, crude stabilization, gas gathering and compression, produced water disposal, water injection and other related facilities. Field development includes 41 km [25 mi] of causeways and 3 km [1.9 mi] of bridges to support 27 [man-made] drilling islands for the shallow water wells, and 13 offshore platforms for deeper water producing and water injection wells. Onshore facilities include 15 drill sites, a Central Oil and Gas Processing Facility, water supply wells and injection facilities, and multiple gathering, water injection, and product transportation pipelines," it added.

"Manifa is designed to produce in staged increments --- 500,000 [barrels per day] bpd of Arabian Heavy crude oil by 2013 and 900,000 bpd by 2014," the report said. And output "will be used as feedstock for planned refineries in the Kingdom [i.e., for two new deep-conversion refineries at Jubail and Yanbu -- D.R.]."

The Manifa Drilling Team set a new record in December 2010 when it finished drilling the longest well in Saudi Arabia to a total depth of 32,136 ft (± 9.8 km) and completed a horizontal power water injector across the Lower Ratawi reservoir. Calgary Precision Drilling rig did the work on the Manifa well. The same drilling team set an earlier record while working on the 30,850 ft (+9.4 km) Manifa well.

Discovered in 1957, Manifa field is in shallow waters southeast of Tanajib, about 200 km (124 mi) northwest of Dhahran. The oil production started when the C reservoir came on stream in 1964, and the B reservoir was brought on production in 1974. Manifa produced heavy crude oil with about 27° API gravity. The field was shut in during January 1984, due to low demand with less than 1% of the reserves produced (Saudi Aramco Journal of Technology, Summer 2009).

Development strategy of Manifa, the world's fifth-largest oil field, is based on optimum use of onshore drilling. Instead of developing Manifa completely from offshore platforms, it is developed from 27 offshore man-made drilling islands connected by a causeway, in addition to onshore drill sites and offshore platforms. Extended-reach wells such as the two mentioned above are required for optimum field coverage. "Manifa field is located in shallow and environmentally sensitive waters, necessitating maximizing drilling from onshore sites while minimizing offshore platforms," the report argued. Actually, the state-of-the art extended reach drilling (ERD) technology reduces the high capital and operating costs of large offshore structures (jackup rigs or shallow water rigs, with legs that reach the bottom of the sea floor) and at the same time minimizes the environmental impact in this sensitive near-shore area.

"The Kingdom's longer-term concern is over whether it needs to increase oil production capacity to meet likely future demand. The Saudi view on oil markets has altered sharply from where it was a year ago, when a battered global economy was still limping out of recession. Riyadh thinks medium- to long-term oil demand growth may be higher than it had previously anticipated, driven by China, India and also Middle East itself, and discussions are now taking place on whether the Kingdom should raise oil output capacity beyond its current 12.5 million b/d," Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) said in its article "Saudis Consider Need to Raise Output Capacity." "Now, while no decisions have yet been made and while work is unlikely to start this year, expansions at Shaybah, Manifa and Khurais are back on the table," it maintained. "Aramco has already decided to bring forward the 10 billion- 14 billion bbl Manifa project, and could now expand its capacity from 900,000 b/d to 1.2 million b/d," the article said.

During the May 2010 Offshore Technology Conference, Zuhair Al-Hussain, Aramco vice-president, drilling and workovers, said production from Manifa will start in mid-2013 but will not ramp up quickly to the original target of 900,000 b/d of Arab heavy crude (Oil & Gas Journal via my post).

Saudi Aramco Annual Review 2010 is available for download on the Saudi Aramco website at:

(Update 1: Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, chairman of the board of directors at Saudi Aramco toured oil and natural gas installations in the country on October 16, 2012, as part of a review of the country's long-term energy prospects. During the tour with the Board members, HE Naimi launched the Manifa Field’s reservoir water injection operations in preparation for first phase production of Arabian Heavy crude oil at an initial capacity of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2013, and which will gradually increase to 900,000 bpd by 2014. The crude oil from Manifa will feed local refineries that are currently under construction, namely the 400,000 b/d SATORP refinery in the easterm Saudi Arabian city of Jubail with France’s Total, and the 400,000 b/d YASREF in Yanbu' on the Red Sea, the joint venture with Sinopec of China (Aramco has said the new Yanbu refinery, which joins two existing refineries at Yanbu, will produce 90,000 b/d of gasoline, 263,000 b/d of ultralow sulfur diesel, and 6,300 tonnes/day (tpd) of petcoke as well as 1,200 tpd of sulfur--see OGJ Online, Dec 3, 2012), and the upcoming Jazan refinery, which has received Board approval for financing, and the project’s contracts are expected to be awarded in the coming weeks---please see Saudi Aramco website/Latest news, Dhahran, Oct 16, 2012 Update 2: Saudi Aramco has let a contract to Houston-based KBR for front-end engineering and design of an integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant in conjunction with a 400,000 bpd refinery under development at Jazan Economic City, Saudi Arabia, according to OGJ Online, Oct. 22, 2012. The IGCC plant, which KBR says will be the world’s largest such facility, will gasify vacuum residue to supply electricity to the refinery and make 2.4 Gw available to Jazan and the surrounding region---please OGJ Online, Nov 13, 2012. Update 3: Production has begun from the first phase of development of Manifa oil field offshore Saudi Arabia and is expected to reach 500,000 bpd by July [2013]. The start-up was 3 months ahead of schedule, according to Saudi Aramco---please see "Manifa oil flow starts offshore Saudi Arabia," OGJ Online, April 15, 2013 -- D.R.)

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