Aramco plans to increase capacity, in stages, to about 1 million b/d. The offshore field is planned to be brought into full production by 2009/10 (MEED 13:1:06).

Located southeast of Safaniya, the Manifa field was first brought into production in 1964 through the drilling of eight wells. However, the facilities were mothballed soon after.

The field is estimated to hold reserves of about 10,000 million barrels. ‘The [seismic] surveys will take about 18 months to complete,’ says a Dhahran-based industry executive. ‘The aim will be to identify the reservoir and the basin structure. Subsequently, exploratory [new] wells will be drilled.’ Aramco is understood to be considering drilling at least five new wells, as well as the work-over of existing wells.

The Manifa redevelopment will centre on the installation of at least three platforms, subsea pipelines and tie-ins with existing offshore production facilities.

Aramco is expected to issue a tender in late 2006 for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package.

More seismic work is planned by Aramco. An award is expected by late March for the contract to carry out a three-year 3D transition zone seismic survey covering the offshore Berri field, also in the Eastern Province. The bidders are: BGP Arabia, a subsidiary of China’s BGP International; the local Arabian Geophysical & Surveying Company (Argas); and Western Geco GSI, part of the US’ Schlumberger (MEED 10:2:06).

A tender is due to be issued by late 2006 for the contract to carry out an airborne gravity seismic survey over the Red Sea and parts of the western region, for which companies responded to an initial inquiry in December. ‘[Seismic] shots will be taken first over the Red Sea, before moving over to select onshore areas in the western region,’ the executive says.