OTC: Aramco aims for 15.5 bscfd gas production goal by 2015

Steven Poruban
OGJ Senior Editor

HOUSTON, May 3 -- Saudi Aramco is on track to reach a projected production target of 15.5 bscfd of raw natural gas by 2015, according to Saad A. Turaiki, Aramco vice-president of southern area oil operations.

This shifted focus on gas exploration and development follows close on the heels of adding 2 million b/d of oil production capacity during 2004-09, according to Aramco’s web site.

Also during that 5-year period, increases were reached in gas production and processing capacities. Aramco also entered the petrochemical business for the first time with the start of production from the Petro Rabigh facility, the company’s web site noted.

Although Aramco will focus its E&D efforts most aggressively on conventional plays, Turaiki told the Offshore Technology Conference May 2 in Houston that the state-owned firm also is studying the potential of tapping the kingdom’s unconventional resources. Turaiki said that the kingdom’s nonassociated gas reserves have tripled in the last 15 years.

Turaiki said Saudi Arabia’s gas consumption has risen an average of 7%/year, with nearly all gas resources being used domestically for electric power generation and petrochemical production.

Existing challenges to meeting this gas production goal include technical obstacles in finding new resources, exploration and development costs, and environmental concerns, Turaiki stated, adding that advancing technologies have made unconventional gas more economically attractive.

Developing any unconventional resources, however, has additional issues involved including resource remoteness and the extreme depths of some reservoirs.

When asked if Aramco is drilled any unconventional wells, Turaiki said, "We have come across shale-trapped gas and have done some fracturing. As we discover more fields, we will develop the gas."

As for actively seeking out partnerships and joint ventures with other companies, Turaiki said while Aramco participates in conferences, like OTC, all the time to share and discuss information, Aramco remains capable of taking on most projects on its own.

Two major developments in the Persian Gulf will add a total of 4.3 bscfd of gas to the production target by 2014, Turaiki said.

Karan will be the first nonassociated offshore gas increment in the company’s history. When completed in 2013, Karan will be capable of delivering 1.8 bscfd of raw gas via a 110-km subsea pipeline to the onshore Khursaniyah gas plant.

The Wasit gas program, meanwhile, will entail the construction of an onshore grassroots central processing facility capable of processing 2.5 bscfd of gas from the offshore Arabiyah and Hasbah fields. Wasit is due on stream in 2014.

Contact Steven Poruban at stevenp@ogjonline.com.

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