Oil production at Al Noor field takes innovation to the limit

Published November 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is responsible for the production of 95 percent of Oman's crude oil and 100 per cent of the natural gas supplied to the Sultanate's domestic and international customers.  


The company is owned by the Omani Government, and Shell, with a 34 percent interest, is one of three foreign shareholders in the company. 


This summer, oil from PDO's wells in the Al Noor field (the third field to be brought on stream in 2000) began flowing to a new production station in south Oman.  


A culmination of a two- year US $140 million effort, it opens the way for further developments of deep oil reservoirs in the area. 


The light Al Noor oil will mix with the heavy oils generally produced in south Oman before beginning a two-week journey down the Main Oil Line to the oil tankers moored off Mina Al-Fahal. 


The Al Noor wells had to be 'stimulated' into production with massive hydraulic fracturing of the reservoir rock, the largest such treatments in the Middle East.  


Other innovative techniques used included: gamma-ray measurements of rock cuttings to monitor drilling progress through the reservoir; installation of down-hole sensors in wells to continuously monitor production performance; the laying of glass- reinforced epoxy rather than steel pipes from the wellhead to the production station; and the combined rather than separate metering of both gas and liquid well fluids. 


The core team at PDO were assisted by a global 'virtual' network of researchers and developers working in over 25 locations around the globe. As the reservoir is unique, a number of precedents were set for PDO, the Middle East, and indeed the world. 


"Substantial reductions in the costs of these very deep wells, which typically reach 4,500 metres under- ground, were achieved through the application of what we call 'Drilling The Limit™'," says Team Leader, Mike O'Dell. "This is a process by which the whole drilling team is focussed on continuous performance improvement." 


The Al Noor production station has a production capacity of 9,435 bpd. At its core is a 'gas sweetening' unit that removes the toxic hydrogen sulphide gas that is produced with the oil whilst meeting the highest environmental standards. 

Source: Shell Middle East. 

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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