Saudi Arabia’s stated future oil goals

Saudi Arabia has seen its project deadlines slip because of the equipment bottlenecks that have plagued the industry. Its Khursaniyah field was due to be completed in the last quarter of 2007 but will only be ready to pump 300,000 barrels a day within a month, Saudi Aramco said.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the most aggressive investors in its energy sector, boosting capacity to a target of 12.5m b/d, which it is expected to meet by 2009. Ali Naimi, the oil minister, said the kingdom was pumping $90bn into its energy industry but argued that demand forecasts did not warrant a further boost to 15m b/d. That view is disputed by big consumers, which say the world will rely more on Saudi Arabia as other producers falter.

Saudi Arabia is planning to boost its oil production capacity by nearly 20 per cent in the next two years but its long-term target is to maximise its recoverable crude resources, according to the state-owned Saudi Aramco.

“There are long-term plans to substantially increase Saudi Aramco’s crude oil resource base and hydrocarbon recovery factors of existing fields… these include investment in intelligent fields through an integrated process of real-time measurement and optimization.

“The Abu Hadriyah–Fadhili–Khursaniyah field development is slated to commence production at 500,000 barrels per day in about two months.”

Mohammed Saggaf, Manager of Saudi Aramco’s Advanced Research Centre, put the Kingdom’s oil in place at 722 billion barrels, of which nearly 109 billion barrels have been produced since Aramco began pumping crude 75 years ago.

But he said the total amount of oil that can be produced with present technology is around 260 billion barrels.

“Saudi Aramco’s long-term goal is two-fold, we want to increase total oil in place to 900 billion barrels by 2020 and to push the limits of recovery from around 50 per cent to 70 per cent in our major producing fields, using both improved conventional recovery and enhanced oil recovery,” he said.

“Globally, the average ratio of recoverable reserves to oil in place is mostly 30 to 40 per cent, with a level of 50 per cent. Saudi Aramco is already doing much better than the average. We intend to go further and push the limit to achieve recovery rates of 70 per cent.”

Nasser said Aramco was pursuing what he described as an aggressive technology strategy to maximise its hydrocarbon reserve base, including extreme-reservoir-contact wells; passive seismic monitoring; giga-cell simulation; and nano-robotic field monitoring and control.

Opec as a whole has stated that they plan to add 9 million barrels per day of capacity by 2020. Up from the current 32 million barrels per day. Opec plans to add 5 million barrels per day by 2012.

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