Special Report: Major Upstream Projects: Planned upstream project numbers keep increasing

July 19, 2010
The number of planned upstream oil and gas projects continues to increase with new discoveries, and expansions or redevelopment of existing fields.

The number of planned upstream oil and gas projects continues to increase with new discoveries, and expansions or redevelopment of existing fields.

The accompanying table lists projects in 44 countries that are in the construction or planning stages, with peak production from these projects occurring in 2010 or after.

If all the projects' peak production rates occurred in the same year, world production capacity would increase by 34.2 million b/d of liquids and 74.7 bcfd of gas.

The list includes both individual fields and in some cases, the accompanying infrastructure. Listed are:

• Discoveries with announced publicly available development plans.

• Field redevelopments for recovering bypassed oil.

• Stranded-gas projects and projects to eliminate gas flaring. These projects often include new infrastructure such as pipelines for transporting gas to end users or facilities for producing LNG and GTL.

• Heavy-oil projects that may include new infrastructure such as pipelines, crude oil upgraders, and mines.

• Deepwater projects, some of which rely on long flowline tiebacks and hub facilities.

• Unconventional resources such as tight sands, shale gas, and coalbed methane gas.

Although joint ventures operate some projects listed in the table, for simplification, the table list the name of one company in each joint venture (see accompanying table listing the parent companies' full names).

The year shown in the project list is when production may peak or enter a peak production plateau that could last for several years. The + after the year indicates that the project start-up or peak production is uncertain or yet to be determined.


LNG projects dominate the planned developments in the Asia-Pacific region with Australia having several such as Greater Gorgon that will develop fields containing about 40 tcf of gas. The Gorgon project will have three 5-million tonne/year LNG trains on Barrow Island and will also supply gas to the domestic market. The project also involves reinjection and sequestration of carbon dioxide on Barrow Island. Gorgon may start shipping LNG in 2014.

Three planned projects also include floating LNG. These are Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Prelude off Australia, Woodside Petroleum Ltd.'s Sunrise-Troubadour field in the joint development area between East Timor and Australia, and Inpex Holdings Inc.'s Abadi gas-condensate field in the Indonesian portion of the Timor Sea.

Inpex also has plans to develop Ichthys, a large 9.5-tcf deepwater gas and condensate project off northwest Australia. As shown in the figure, the plans included subsea wells on Ichthys, Brewster, and Plover tied to a semisubmersible central processing facility. The condensates will flow to a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel while the gas will go onshore to a 8.4 million tonne/year LNG plant.

Others LNG projects include a fifth train for the North West Shelf LNG plant that went on stream in August 2008 and Pluto field in the Burrup Park LNG project. Woodside also has plans to develop 14-tcf gas and 37 million bbl of condensate from Torosa, Brechnock, and Calliance fields.

Indonesia's largest onshore oil development is Banyu Urip field in the Cepu block on Java. Initial production of 20,000 bo/d started in 2009 but peak production is expected in 2013 at about 165,000 bo/d.

ExxonMobil Corp. indicated production from the 45-tcf Natuna D-Alpha field may start in 2014. Development of the field, discovered several decades ago, is complicated because of the large amounts of carbon dioxide in the gas.

New projects will develop fields off China in both the South China Sea and Bohai Bay including the large Husky Energy Inc. gas discoveries such as Liwan that contains 4-6 tcf of gas in 1,345 ft of water.

Development of gas fields in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea includes construction of a gas liquefaction plant. As now proposed, gas from reservoirs in the PNG Southern and Western Highlands would go to a 6.3 million tonne/year, two-train LNG liquefaction and storage facility near Port Moresby. The gas would come from Hides, Angore, Juha, Gobe, Moran, and Kutubu fields.

Western Europe

The UK and Norway offshore holds the main fields under development in Western Europe. Most of these fields are small and will tie into the extensive existing infrastructure in the area.

Gjoa is largest field that will go onstream this year off Norway. Statoil AS is the operator during the development phase, while GDF Suez will operate the field during the production phase.

In Italy, the onshore Tempa Rossa project will develop an estimated 200 million bbl of heavy oil reserves.

Eastern Europe, FSU

In Kazakhstan, an expansion of Karachaganak field will increase production by 1.6 bcfd in 2012.

Production from the first phase of the 13-billion bbl Kashagan field, off Kazakhstan, is now slated to start in 2013. With future phases, the field's production may surpass 1 million b/d.

The largest proposed development in Russia is the 130-tcf Shtockman field in the Barents Sea. The project has encounter delays because of changes in the world gas demand. Gas production from the first phase of the development may start in 2016 at 2.4 bcfd with LNG exports starting in 2017. GOA Gazprom plans to sell the gas to Europe via pipelines and also build an LNG plant at Teriberka, a village 100 km northeast of Murmansk.

BP PLC's joint venture TNK-BP is developing the 1-billion Verkhnechonskoye field in Russia. The company expects the field to produce 100,000 bo/d by 2015.

Middle East

International oil companies acquired rights for developing or expanding the production from 10 large fields in Iraq based on receiving a fee/bbl that ranged from $1.15/bbl for West Quaran and $2-6/bbl for Najima. Due to the uncertainty in the political situation in Iraq, the timing of when this production will come on stream is speculative, but probably most of this production will not start before 2015. Once these fields are on stream, Iraq has the potential of producing more than 12 million b/d.

Kuwait continues to redevelop several fields that will increase its production capacity by 450,000 bo/d in 2012.

In Oman, several enhanced oil recovery projects will improve recovery factors from several fields. The main processes include steam injection and sour-gas injection.

ADCO in Abu Dhabi is expanding production capacity in various fields by 560,000 b/d. Also ExxonMobil is involved in the Upper Zakum redevelopment that will increase production by about 250,000 b/d from the field.

ConocoPhillips is no longer a partner in developing the Shah sour gas field in Abu Dhabi. The planned production from the project is 1 bcfd.


Tullow Oil PLC expects the first phase of the Jubilee field, off Ghana to come on stream in the 4th quarter 2010. Phase 1 includes a leased FPS with a 120,000 bo/d production capacity, and facilities for injection 230,000 bw/d and handling 160 MMscf of associated gas injection or export.

Deepwater developments continue off Angola and Nigeria with projects involving the installation of FPSOs and subsea wells.

Also being built in Angola is a one-train LNG plant that will receive associated as well as nonassociated gas.

Nigeria also has several new LNG projects that will monetize primarily associated gas, some of which is now flared.

Western Hemisphere

Petroleo Brasiliero SA continues to make new discoveries in the presalt of the Santos and Campos basins off Brazil. Petrobras expects the presalt reservoirs may produce more than 1.8 million bo/d by 2020 from about 20 development projects.

Companies have started to reactivate some of the Canadian oil sands projects put on hold last year although for most of the project listed in table, the timing for the start of production is uncertain or yet to be determined.

In its June report on Alberta's 2009 reserves and supply-demand outlook for 2010-19, Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board raised its estimate of initially in place resources in the Alberta oil sands to 1.8 trillion bbl and expects production to reach 3.2 million b/d in 2019 up from a 1.49 million b/d average in 2009.

The total production from the projects listed is 1 million b/d.

Operators and the Canadian government are still negotiating an agreement for the proposed $6 billion (Can.), 760-mile McKenzie Delta pipeline that would allow for producing the large stranded gas resources in the Northwest Territories. First gas may not be realized until later in the decade. The large amounts of unconventional gas discovered in the US and British Colombia has lessened the importance of developing the Northwest Territory gas.

The large unconventional gas discoveries also may delay construction of gas pipeline from the Alaska North Slope. The North Slope has an estimated 40 tcf of stranded gas.

ExxonMobil has started drilling in the Point Thomson gas-condensate field on the North Slope. The company initially plans to produce the condensate and recycle the gas back into to the reservoir. Gas sales will depend on the completion of a Alaska North Slope gas pipeline.

In Alaska, there is also the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has prospects that contain an estimated 10 billion bbl. These prospects might produce up to 1 million bo/d if Congress allows drilling in ANWR.

Deepwater developments in the Gulf of Mexico, especially from the Lower Tertiary reservoirs, will continue to add substantial new production capacity. Chevron Corp.'s Jack and St. Malo, Shell's Mars B and Vito, and Noble Energy's Gunflint-Freedom are some the largest of the developments planned.

Also in the gulf is Murphy Oil Corp.'s giant Davy Jones gas discovery in the deep Wilcox test well on South Marsh Island Block 230 in 20 ft of water. The discovery has estimated reserves of 2.5 tcf.

Development of shale oil and gas continues in the US in many basins in the US, although these development are not listed in the table.

Venezuela has many potential development projects its government's actions have created uncertainty as to their completion. Recently it has announced new partners for the development of several blocks in the Orinoco tar belt.

Click here to download the "Major Projects" pdf

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