Oil giant Saudi Aramco has awarded three tenders to conduct geophysical studies in the kingdom to the local/Chinese BGP Arabia.

The seismic contract tenders were released in June and are among the largest onshore contracts ever tendered by Aramco (MEED 17:6:11).

“We have been told that BGP has secured all three contracts for the work,” says a source from one of the bidding seismic surveyors. “We are disappointed to miss out, as the contracts were substantial.”   

Each contract will run for four years, with the option to extend for a further two years. The contracts will cover thousands of square kilometres of Saudi Arabia and run from the Empty Quarter in the south of the kingdom right up to the Iraq border in the north.

BGP Arabia is one of the largest seismic surveyors in the kingdom and is a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The company has carried out several large seismic studies in the kingdom and finished major surveys for Aramco in 2011.

BGP Arabia declined to comment on the award when contacted by MEED.

Saudi Aramco says it believes significant undiscovered onshore reserves still remain in Saudi Arabia and is investing heavily in exploration. Other frontier areas currently under survey include blocks in the Red Sea, off the west coast of the kingdom. 

The oil giant is also carrying out significant exploration work for non-associated gas and has several significant projects currently ongoing in the Empty Quarter. These include the South Rub al-Khali (SRAK), a 50:50 joint venture of Aramco and the UK/Dutch Shell Group.

The partners have been carrying out gas exploration of the area and now believe there is sufficient gas to support what could be an $8bn development (MEED 2:12:11).