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Mabrouk gas field has Khazzan-scale potential – PDO

New exploration drilling has shown Oman’s Mabrouk field to be far larger than was initially thought New exploration drilling has shown Oman’s Mabrouk field to be far larger than was initially thought.
By Verity Ratcliffe 16 November 2017 Middle East & Africa / Exploration & Production 0 28415
BP drilling in the Khazzan gas field in Oman. (BP plc)

The volume of gas in place at Oman’s Mabrouk gas field could rival the country’s giant Khazzan-Makarem development, according to the exploration director at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).

“[Mabrouk’s] potential is as large as Khazzan’s under a base case [scenario],” Intisar al-Kindy told Interfax Natural Gas Daily on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition & Conference on Wednesday. 

BP expects its newly commissioned Khazzan development to yield around 200 billion cubic metres of gas.

PDO has drilled four wells and will drill two more at Mabrouk, which is located in the Gharif formation in northern Oman, around 40 km from Saih Rawl. Results from the drilling are still being assessed, but early indications are positive, said Kindy.

The field was discovered in 1980. However, gas flow rates from the reservoir’s initial exploration well were found to be non-commercial, and the campaign was abandoned. Development was revived in 2008 following a 3D seismic study. The previously drilled wells were found to have been located on the flanks of the Mabrouk structure. Another well was drilled in 2012 in response. Results were positive and another well followed indicating around 85 bcm of reserves were in place. 

The Barik and Miqrat reservoirs at Mabrouk were hydraulically fractured and tested in 2012, and the results were deemed promising. Mabrouk started production in January 2013. The latest round of exploration drilling took place this year, said Kindy. 

PDO is likely to announce the full scale of its latest gas finds at Mabrouk in February 2018, Abdul-Amir al-Ajmi, external affairs and value creation director at PDO, told Interfax Natural Gas Daily.

The company currently produces 80 million cubic metres per day, according to Ajmi. “We have major plans,” he added. 

PDO has been “heavy on gas discoveries at the minute”, said Kindy. “We are pursuing stratographic plays, which tend to have large potential,” she added. 

The company has made a ‘twin’ discovery near Mabrouk that shares similar characteristics to the Mabrouk field, said Kindy. “The subsurface looks nearly identical,” she said. PDO is drilling its first exploration well at the field and an announcement on the results is likely to be made in Q2 2018, she added. 

PDO is working closely with contractors to reduce costs and maintain a swift pace of development for its projects. The company aims to commercialise finds within a year of their discovery, said Ajmi.

“The Mabrouk field does have significant production potential,” said Justin Dargin, a Middle East energy expert at the University of Oxford. “While I would not quite compare it to Khazzan due to different reservoir characteristics, it will contribute greatly to Oman’s future gas production.”

Good for Oman

The results of the company’s push for gas will be welcomed by the government, which is a major shareholder. “This is good news for Oman because Oman needs gas. [Khazzan] coming onstream is good for Oman and good for BP. We have become a swing producer. Maybe in 5-7 years there will be enough gas for the country to give to the new local industries as well,” said Ajmi. 

“The local industry is booming for gas. PDO, along with other operators, is doing [its] best to support the government – to find more gas [and] accelerate projects like Khazzan and others.”

Aside from meeting its domestic needs, Oman wants to export more gas as LNG. Oman LNG aims to reach 10.5 mtpa of LNG production by 2018, the company’s head of marketing recently told Interfax Natural Gas Daily. This would mean an increase of 23.5% on last year’s output. Oman exported just 7.9 mt of LNG in 2014 as domestic gas needs squeezed the volumes available for export.

More domestic gas production means Oman’s gas producers will need to work closely to coordinate their output, said Ajmi. “I’m sure there is some discussion between our gas team and Khazzan. As we are going to be a swing producer we really have to cooperate with each other,” he said.