Gulf Oil and Gas accountACCOUNT

Southern Area Bullish on Oil

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 8/2/2006, Location: Middle East

Southern Area Oil Operations (SAOO) has risen to that challenge and has been maintaining above-plan production rates for the past three years. In addition to its Maintain Potential Projects providing more than a million barrels per day (bpd), Haradh III recently chipped in this year with another 300,000 bpd. Over the next three years, the Khurais and Nuayyim projects will contribute an additional 1.3 million bpd.

"Currently, we produce more than 60 percent of Saudi Aramco's oil," said Abdulrahman M. Abdullatif, an engineer from South Ghawar Producing, and we intend to maintain this position for years to come, he added.

No detail has been overlooked when it comes to the reliability of SAOO facilities. Every component of SAOO's 32 Gas Oil Separation Plants (GOSPs) and 15 Water Injection Plants (WIPs) has been studied and optimized to ensure reliability.

Starting from the very beginning - wells - SAOO regularly performs well surveillance and inspection of all its 3,000 oil wells, 670 water wells and 340 gas wells. The integrity of every wellhead valve is monitored and maintained. Even the 8,000 kilometers of flowlines, some buried and difficult to examine, are regularly inspected.

Initiatives such as the Southern Area Plants Integrity Assessment, the Risk Based Inspection studies of the GOSPs, and the In-House Corrosion Review Team have been in place over the past few years and have identified areas where reliability can be increased.

SAOO also has been putting the latest technologies to work on its processes. One such technology is the intelligent field (i-field), which has been applied to all Haradh GOSP-3 wells.

"The i-field enables us to remotely monitor critical data for a well, such as wellhead temperature and pressure," said Abdullatif. "The application of i-field will ensure optimum reservoir production and longer well life.

"To harness the full potential of such new technologies and the latest industry practices," said Abdullatif, "we need to develop our people and their skills. Over the years we have introduced special development programs for our employees to help increase the reliability of our human resources."

One such program is the Production Engineering Specialist Program, which started in 2002. The goal of the program is to develop production engineers into industry experts, specializing in a range of areas from well treatment to artificial lift.

Another program that began in 2001 is the Accelerated Engineering Development Program. Tailored for operations engineers, it helps quickly develop competent engineers to handle the facilities.

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