Ghawar field reserves decline overstated, survey says

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 -- Concerns about global oil peaking due to declining reserves at Saudi Aramco's Ghawar oil field may be overstated, according to Bernstein Research commenting on the results of a recent satellite survey.

In a note to investors, Bernstein Research said satellite images show that a recent rise in Aramco drilling activity has focused on two major expansion developments and not, as earlier assumed, on keeping older parts of the field producing with enhanced recovery techniques.

"The majority of the increased activity in the Ghawar field can be explained by the Haradh-III, and the Hawiyah natural gas liquids recovery megaprojects, which were not designed as a quick fix to Ghawar's supposed rapid decline," the Bernstein Research note said.

The firm said theories of Ghawar's decline may be based on little or incomplete data from Saudi Arabia on the state of its oil sector.

"Without accurate and detailed data on what Saudi Aramco is undertaking, or with a poor understanding of current Ghawar decline rates, many conspiracy theories have arisen, which argue that we are on the cusp of global peak oil production," the research note said.

Bernstein Research conceded that increased drilling in older sections of Ghawar could suggest efforts to halt some declines, but that such drilling does not by itself point to a sudden drop in the field's output.

The firm concluded that "there is life in this old field yet, as its demise has been overly anticipated." Bernstein said its report was an initial analysis of satellite data from 2004-07, with a final conclusion expected in the coming months. It did not detail the source of the imagery.

The Bernstein Research note counters arguments by experts backing peak oil theories who have warned that sharp global declines could happen at any time, and that Saudi Arabia will only be able to keep production flat for several years but not increase output to meet demand growth.

Bernstein Research is a division of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC which provides investment research to institutional investors.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

Related Articles

BHI: Overall US rig count drops slightly, but oil rigs continue rise

07/31/2015 A week after jumping by its highest margin since April 2014, the overall US drilling rig count lost 2 units during the week ended July 31 to settle...

Athabasca’s Hangingstone SAGD project starts oil production

07/31/2015 Athabasca Oil Corp. said the Hangingstone 1 steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sands project in Alberta started oil production in July with...

Industry 2Q earnings, jobs dissolve amid continued oil-price slump

07/31/2015 A difficult year thus far for the integrated, multinational oil and gas firms caused by low oil prices has been somewhat eased by improved producti...

BLM seeks comments on proposed Fidelity E&P Utah oil and gas project

07/30/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on Fidelity Exploration & Production Co.’s proposed oil and gas project 17 miles no...

Tawke oil flowing despite pipeline blast

07/30/2015 DNO ASA, Oslo, said oil production from Tawke field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq continues despite shutdown of the pipeline that carries Iraqi c...

Gulfport: Utica shale accounts for 97% of overall net 2Q production

07/30/2015 Gulfport Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, reported its second-quarter Utica shale production in Ohio accounted for 97% of its overall net production co...

Latest Texas Petro Index shows ‘economic disconnect’

07/29/2015 The Texas Petro Index (TPI) for June indicates that crude oil and natural gas production and jobs estimates in the Lone Star State increased from M...

Gazprom lets contract for Russian gas processing plant

07/29/2015 OOO Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk (GPB), a subsidiary of PJSC Gazprom, has partnered with NIPIgazpererabotka (Nipigaz), Moscow, on design and...

Petronas lets contract for Kanowit field FLNG work

07/29/2015 Malaysian state-owned Petronas has let a contract to France’s Technip for the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning, ...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected