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Aramco targets Manifa start-up in 2013

By OGJ editors
-- Saudi Aramco says it has finished 60% of the causeway and drilling island system and installed all offshore jackets in its shallow-water Manifa heavy-oil development project.

The project, which a company newsletter article calls “the largest single offshore crude oil project in Saudi Aramco’s history,” came under review when oil prices fell last year but is proceeding with start-up delayed by 2 years (OGJ, Nov. 24, 2008, Newsletter).

Now scheduled on stream in 2013, the field will be able to produce 900,000 b/d of Arabian Heavy crude, 90 MMscfd of associated gas, and 65,000 b/d of condensate. Project completion is projected for 2015.

The Manifa project includes 27 man-made islands connected by 41 km of causeway in a bay that contains intensive algal habitats and dense beds of sea grass. Marine life in the bay includes pearl oysters, hamour fish, crabs, dolphins, shrimp, and sea turtles.

Aramco said it originally thought 30% of the causeway would have to be open for seawater circulation. Research determined that nearly natural circulation could be achieved with only about 10% of the causeway open, which lowered project costs.

In a Dec. 4 speech in Bangalore, India, Aramco Pres. and Chief Executive Officer Khalid A. Al-Falih said that when Aramco made the decision to develop Manifa field the price of oil was $70/bbl. After the award of initial contracts, the crude price fell to $35/bbl, but costs didn’t fall proportionately, and projections for global oil demand were trimmed.

“We reviewed the program, and with some execution plan modifications, including deferring completion by 2 years, decided to continue,” he said.

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