Kuwait gas upgrade set to triple output

13 June 2008
Second phase of non-associated gas project will boost production to 600,000 cubic feet a day.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is to issue tender documents for the second phase of its non-associated gas production programme, which will more than triple output from its gas fields.

The move comes within days of the first non-associated gas being produced. KOC has also confirmed plans to boost production to more than 1 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) in the future, almost six times the current output.

The second phase, like the first, will be tendered on a five-year build-operate basis, with the contractor building an early production facility (EPF) to produce gas.

“The first phase total gas capacity is 175 million cf/d along with 50,000 barrels a day (b/d) of liquids,” says Mohammed Hussain, deputy chairman and deputy managing director for gas & planning at KOC.

“The second phase will ramp this up to 600 million cf/d and hopefully 150,000 b/d of liquid. The third phase will take it to
1 billion cf/d by 2015-16, along with 350,000 b/d of liquid.”

Gas from the first phase EPF came on stream in early June, two months later than planned due to poor weather over winter (MEED 30:5:08). The gas will be used in the state’s power plants.

With the first gas coming online, KOC is now aiming to increase its production targets further. “We’re now working on phase four, beyond 1 billion cf/d,” says Hussain. “We’re going to be in a better position to know by 2010.”

The state upstream operator is hopeful that more gas can be found beyond the 34 trillion cubic feet of gas already announced.

Gas reserves are known to exist in the offshore Dorra field, and the search for gas is now turning further north to Kuwait Bay. “From the new discoveries, we’ve seen some extension of the gas even in Kuwait Bay,” says Hussain.

As gas production rises, KOC is preparing a number of projects to handle the output. Gas booster station 160 was recently awarded to Italy’s Snamprogetti, and tender documents are being prepared for two more stations. Gathering Centre 16 for oil processing is also expected to be tendered soon.

Oil output is also increasing. KOC should hit its 3 million-b/d production capacity target a year early by the end of 2008, following a multi-billion-dollar field modernisation programme.

Hussain denies that Burgan, the world’s second largest onshore oil field, has reached its peak despite long speculation it is in decline.

“We are building Burgan up to 1.7 million b/d,” says Hussain. We’re expanding production so that shows the peak hasn’t been reached. We can even increase output more than that. Strategically, Burgan is going to be a swing producer to maintain our production levels.”

KOC is also developing its heavy oil reserves, with a pilot plant being built at Lower Fars to test extraction techniques.

“We produced heavy oil for most of the 1980s, but after the [Iraqi] invasion, we didn’t see much need,” says Hussain. “As part of our new strategy we thought this had to be part of our portfolio.”

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