Shell confirms Empty Quarter hydrocarbons find

20 August 2008
South Rub Al Khali (Srak), a 50:50 joint venture between the UK/Dutch Shell Group and Saudi Aramco, has confirmed the discovery of a hydrocarbons system in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter.

Rumours have grown in the industry in the past few months that Srak has discovered commercial quantities of gas as part of drilling on its fourth exploratory well, named Kidan 6, in contract area 1 near the remote Shaybah oil field.

Ceri Powell, a senior Shell executive who sits on the Srak board, says a hydrocarbons system has been “confirmed” but gives no further details about the quantity or type of discovery made.

The company has so far acquired 18,500 kilometres of 2D seismic data in the area.

The Kidan well is expected to be drilled to nearly 18,000 feet, with significant amounts of sour gas expected to make it a challenge to develop (MEED 11:4:08).

Powell, vice-president of strategy at Shell International, adds that Shell is always seeking opportunities to partner with Aramco in both upstream and downstream sectors.

Srak suffered a setback in February after France's Total, which originally held a 30 per cent stake in the venture, cut its involvement because of the lack of any sizeable discoveries (MEED 7:2:08).

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