Desert drilling: extending Oman’s gas supply

Last edited: 13 April 2016

Following an agreement to extend BP’s Khazzan tight gas project in Oman, BP Magazine looks at the progress so far with a round-up of milestones and statistics from the desert location

BP expects to boost production by 50% at its Khazzan gas field in Oman. It follows an agreement signed by BP, Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production LLC, and the Government of Oman to extend the tight gas mega-project to allow for a second phase of drilling and production.
The Khazzan Phase 2 extension is expected to increase full-field production from one billion to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, the equivalent of around 40% of Oman’s total current gas production.

It will mean developing an additional 3.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, on top of the 7 trillion already being developed and will add more than 380 square miles (1,000 square kilometres) to the south and west of the current 1,040 square miles (2,700 square kilometres) in Oman’s Block 61.
The Khazzan reservoirs in central Oman represent one of the Middle East’s largest unconventional tight gas accumulations, with the potential to be a major new source of gas supply for Oman over many decades. Tight gas lies in hard, low-permeability formations and, in Oman, BP is applying techniques for producing it that it has developed over many years, particularly in the US.
The work will include the construction of a third ‘production train’ at the central processing facility, located 310 miles (500 kilometres) away from the capital city of Muscat. It also includes the associated gathering and export systems and the drilling of approximately 325 new wells over a 15-year period.

Opportunities for Omanis

Yousuf Al Ojaili is president of BP Oman and is particularly pleased that this additional commitment will enhance the energy needs, hence industrial growth, for Oman and will open up greater opportunities for local professionals.

“Half of BP Oman’s leadership team is currently Omani,” he says, “and we are planning that by 2020, 90% of our staff will be from Oman.”
Meanwhile, BP’s group chief executive, Bob Dudley, has described the agreement as ‘very important’, adding that “the team in Oman has done a great job in maximizing efficiency and value, so the new development will be more competitive in today’s tough conditions.

This is the kind of performance that will enable BP to withstand low oil prices and also build for the future.”

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LONG LOAD: watch a rig convoy cross the desert

The first phase of the Khazzan project is due to start production next year: the number of wells to be drilled has now been reduced from 300 to 200, thanks to drilling improvements and the wells themselves expected to produce more gas. 
BP is preparing for Khazzan’s full-field development in a number of ways, most recently, with the launch of its multi-year technicians’ development programme for Omani nationals. The programme is expected to qualify 87 technicians to support the long-term operations of the Khazzan project. BP is also investing in Omani skills development for graduates and mid-career staff, and more than 70% of BP’s staff in Oman are Omani nationals.

Did you know?

The annual camel festival is a significant calendar date for the town of Hamraa Al-Drooa, close to the Khazzan field. Each January, the event celebrates camel rearing, encouraging locals to continue breeding and caring for the animals. In 2016, more than 1,200 camels competed in the ‘beauty pageant’, considered the highlight of the six-day festival. Among other physical attributes, judges evaluate each camel on the colour and shine of their coat, length of neck and body and size of the hump.

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