The Khurais and Manifa projects in Saudi Arabia have the most recoverable reserves among the world’s top 100 upstream developments, with approximately 19.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and 13.7 billion boe, respectively, according to GlobalData.
The company’s latest report, Top 100 Global Upstream Developments Overview – Major Project Developments and Key Challenges, states that these assets boast substantial recoverable crude oil reserves, with Khurais having 18.2 billion barrels (bbl) and Manifa holding 13.5 billion bbl. The projects also have recoverable natural gas reserves of 6.8 trillion ft3 and 1.4 trillion ft3, respectively.
Robert Stevens, GlobalData’s Lead Upstream Analyst covering the Middle East and North Africa, says that despite these impressive reserves, Saudi Aramco, which owns both fields, has encountered a number of difficulties during their development.
Stevens explains: “The Khurais project has the distinction of being one of the largest oil development projects in the world. The most recent activity saw 12 drilling rigs running simultaneously between 2006 and 2009, creating about 300 wells, with production beginning in June 2009.
“A major challenge for operations in the Khurais field is to increase the recovery rate of crude, but given the field’s vast size, even a 1% increase in recovery rate would result in millions of additional barrels. Security is also a problem for Khurais, despite the sustained efforts of the Saudi Arabian government and Saudi Aramco.”
A different set of issues faced the Manifa field, where most drilling activities and the construction of the central processing facility for crude oil production were undertaken on the coast.
Stevens comments: “Saudi Aramco and the contractors of the Manifa field confronted numerous environmental and economic obstacles during the development of the field.
“Environmental issues in the Arabian Gulf include earthquakes, which the contractors had to ensure the structures could withstand during construction.”
Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward
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