The Shaybah oil field expansion involves the installation of new wet crude handling facilities, dehydration and desalter units, a gas-oil separation plant (GOSP), pipelines and gas reinjection facilities to produce at least 200,000 barrels a day (b/d) of additional crude. At present, production capacity at the field is 500,000 b/d. The total project cost is estimated to be about $3,000 million.

The Shaybah field, located in the Empty Quarter and close to the UAE border, is estimated to have reserves of 14,300 million barrels of extra light crude and 25 trillion cubic feet of associated gas. Production from the field started in 1998, after US-based Bechtel completed work on a main processing facility. It included three GOSPs, a 620-kilometre long main oil line and related facilities. Extra light crude from the field is transferred through the pipeline to Abqaiq for blending with Arab light crude. About 880 million cubic feet a day of gas is reinjected into the field.

The Nuayyim development, estimated to cost $1,000 million, will involve the construction of new GOSPs and a revamp of the pipelines and pumping stations to produce 100,000 b/d of crude. The Clough/S&B/Al-Bilad/ZFP team is due to complete its study within the next 30 days. The next stage in the project’s implementation will be the preparation of FEED studies for the project. Both the schemes are due to be completed by 2009 and will produce an additional 300,000 b/d.

The Shaybah and Nuayyim oil field developments follow significant progress made recently by Aramco on its biggest onshore oil field development. Requests for qualifications (RFQs) are due to be issued by late August to contractors for various packages on the estimated $5,000 million Khurais field development, which is set to add 1.2 million b/d of crude capacity by 2010. The project will cover the construction of central processing facilities at Khurais, in-field trunklines, upgrades to support facilities at the Juaymah gas plant, supply and installation of a total of 80 kilometres of pipeline to transport crude, gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) and expansion of the existing east/west NGL pipeline.

Along with pursuing plans to increase production from onshore fields, Aramco is also pressing ahead with offshore projects. On 17 August, it announced the award of the first contract on the project to fabricate and install new pipelines, platforms and associated infrastructure at the three offshore fields of Safaniya, Zuluf and Marjan (see page 11).

The projects are part of the kingdom’s commitment to raise crude capacity by the end of the decade to 12.5 million b/d.