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Saudi Aramco considers Zuluf oilfield expansion

Saudi Aramco considers Zuluf oilfield expansion

Zuluf is one of the largest offshore oilfields in the world

State oil firm Saudi Aramco is considering building new facilities to add production of Arabian Heavy crude from the Zuluf offshore oilfield, industry sources said.

The central processing plant is expected to have two units, known as trains, with a total capacity of 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) to process Arabian Heavy crude supplied by electrical submersible pumps (ESP).

“ESPs are required in this Zuluf increment because the Arabian Heavy reserves have a lower reservoir pressure than the Arabian Medium reserves,” said Sadad al-Husseini, a former executive vice president at Saudi Aramco.

He said the artificial lift and pressure maintenance would achieve optimum production rates and economics, while also ensuring effective reservoir management.

Zuluf was one of the largest offshore oilfields in the world and held extensive proven Arabian Medium and Arabian Heavy reserves, said Husseini, who is now an energy analyst.

The gas and condensate will be sent to the new Tanajib gas plant, which is part of the new Marjan programme.

Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the report.

Saudi Aramco is expected to invite companies to bid for front-end engineering and design later this month with an award seen in September. Like the Marjan increment, it will take until 2021 for the project to be completed, one of the sources said.

Industry sources estimate Zuluf’s production capacity is between 550,000-600,000 barrels per day.

Saudi Aramco’s CEO Amin Nasser said this month the firm planned to invest more than $300 billion in the coming decade “to reinforce its pre-eminent position in oil, maintain its spare oil production capacity and pursue a large exploration and production programme centered on conventional and unconventional gas resources.”

Aramco has an oil production capacity of 12 million bpd.

Saudi officials have said the firm’s investment plans aim to compensate for any declining fields elsewhere rather than adding to total capacity.

Saudi Aramco has recently launched studies to expand its offshore oilfields Berri and Marjan.

Besides Zuluf, sources expect to increase oil output from other offshore fields, such as Safaniya.

Saudi Aramco has previously estimated that the five offshore oil fields Safaniya, Marjan, Zuluf, Berri and Abu Safah, a field it shares with Bahrain, accounted for more than 20 percent of the kingdom’s daily production.

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