Companies invited to bid for the seismic survey contract include the local Arabian Geophysical & Surveying Company (Argas); BGP Arabia, a subsidiary of China’s BGP International; Western Geco GSI, part of the US’ Schlumberger; and the UK’s BGS. A job explanation meeting is due to be held in Dhahran in late May (MEED 17:3:06).

Aramco has been looking at a three-phase development programme for Manifa, with the first phase of 300,000 b/d targeted for completion by 2009.

The development calls for the construction of major offshore and onshore facilities. Offshore, the plan will include the installation of 20 production and process platforms, the dredging of 25 drilling islands and the construction of a 40-kilometre causeway to accommodate and provide access to rigs to be installed in water depths of 30-40 metres. Onshore, the project will entail the construction of gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs), separators and crude stabilisation units.

A design and basic scoping programme (DBSP) is under preparation at Aramco’s planning department. A tender for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the offshore facilities is due to be issued by August, to be followed by a FEED tender expected to be released by early 2007 for the proposed onshore facilities.

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 in the 1980s. The field is estimated to hold reserves of about 10,000 million barrels and will be the largest offshore oil field development planned by Aramco.