Saudi Aramco and the UK/Dutch Shell Group have awarded Australia’s WorleyParsons the contract for a study to develop the gas facilities at Kidan in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia.

South Rub al-Khali (SRAK), a 50:50 joint venture of Aramco and Shell, have been carrying out gas exploration of the area and now believe that there is sufficient gas to support what could be an $8bn development.

“They are moving forward and have spent money on the exploration and are now spending money on the study,” says a source working in the kingdom’s oil and gas industry. “They obviously think there is enough gas down there to make it a viable proposition.”

Aramco sales gas delivery
(Trillion square feet)
2006 5.829
2007 5.99
2008 6.588
2009 6.313
2010 7.236
Source: Saudi Aramco

In early November, MEED reported that the Saudi Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry had approved SRAK’s plan to explore for more non-associated gas and begin the development of the field (MEED 20:11:11).

SRAK will now drill three appraisal wells to gauge the potential of the Kidan gas field in the region. This will be in addition to the WorleyParsons study that they hope will define what development strategy to proceed with.

Part of WorleyParsons remit will be to look at the feasibility of building a large sour gas processing plant at the site, as well as other facilities.

“This project is still some way from [the joint venture partners] spending $8bn on a full development programme” says the source. “But it is definitely going in the right direction.”  

The field will be the first non-associated gas field to be developed in the Empty Quarter of the kingdom.

SRAK discovered commercial quantities of gas as part of drilling on its fourth exploratory well, named Kidan 6, in contract area 1 near the remote Shaybah oil field in 2008. Shell took over the licence with Aramco when France’s Total pulled out of the deal in 2008.