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Aramco Says Manifa Project to Begin 1Q 2007

Source: 9/30/2006, Location: Middle East

Saudi Aramco is on schedule to begin construction of its massive, 900,000 barrel-per-day Manifa Arabian Heavy crude oil field development during the first quarter of 2007. The lump-sum turnkey contract for 41 km of causeway is already out for bid, with the award of the contract expected by year-end.

The causeway is the critical first step for this project, as a significant number of the Manifa development's wells are in shallow offshore areas that are not conducive to the traditional use of ocean vessels to set up the jackets and platforms.

The causeway will consist of a 21-km main artery, plus another 20 km of offshoots that lead to 27 shallow-water drilling islands. The Manifa development also includes onshore oil and gas facilities as well as deeper-water offshore drilling facilities.

According to Ali A. Al-Ajmi, Saudi Aramco vice president of Project Management, the project is on track for its mid-2011 completion. "Management of mega-projects like these is a core competency of Saudi Aramco, and we are absolutely committed to meeting the world's energy needs by completing the Manifa development on time and within the approved budget," he said. "We've never made a development commitment that we haven't accomplished, and we're very proud of that.

"In addition to the crude oil, the project will produce 120 million standard cubic feet per day of associated gas, which will be sent to Saudi Aramco's Khursaniyah Gas Plant for processing.

Bidding for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract of the onshore portion of the program closed on Sept. 26, and the company expects to award that contract toward the end of October. Front-end engineering is expected to begin early November, with completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The offshore lump-sum bid packages are expected to be awarded in early 2007, "and we've already placed orders for some of the long-lead items," Al-Ajmi noted.

Manifa Project Component Highlights:

1. Central processing facility
Primary GOSP
Utility and water supply plants
2. Water injection facility (1.74 million bpd)
3. Offshore platforms (jackets, platforms, electric submersible pumps)
4. Offshore crude/water injection (trunk lines, flow lines, electrical cables)
5. Downstream pipelines (to Khursaniyah Gas Plant and Ras Tanura/Ju'aymah terminals)
6. Gas facilities upgrade at Khursaniyah Gas Plant (to accommodate additional gas flow from Manifa)
7. Causeway

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