The Manifa oil field was discovered in 1957. Development of the reservoir was executed under the Manifa Arabian Heavy Crude Programme from 1964 until it was stopped in 1984 because of the heavy nature of the crude. The programme was restarted in 2006 to offset the 6-8 per cent annual decline in output from some of Saudi Arabia’s older fields, equivalent to 700,000 barrels a day (b/d).

The Manifa field is about 45 kilometres long and lies partly onshore. Its production capacity is 900,000 b/d of oil, 90 million cubic feet a day of gas and 65,000 b/d of condensate.

Manifa heavy crude feeds the Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical Company (Satorp) refinery in Jubail and the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company (Yasref) facility in Yanbu.

Contracts to redevelop the field were awarded from 2007, beginning with the $1.1bn causeway package won by Belgium’s Jan De Nul. The following year, a $2.4bn deal for the central processing facility (CPF) was let to Italy’s Saipem. A second CPF contract, worth $2.2bn, was awarded to Japan’s JGC Corporation. Other packages covered construction of the offshore platforms, captive power facilities, pipelines and the expansion of the Khursaniyah gas plant.