Dr Ali Al Gheithy, Petroleum Engineering Function Director at Petroleum Development Oman and Chairman of World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition 2018 spoke exclusively to Pipeline Magazine about the important role heavy oil plays in Oman
Why is heavy oil an important issue?
Heavy oil resources are significantly large over the world- for Oman they form about 40 percent of the resource base. For technological and economical reasons they remain less exploited over the years. However, as the easy oil is depleting and demand continues to grow, we can only fill the gap with heavy oil. So, heavy oil will play a bigger role in the future to cover this widening gap between supply and demand.
What is PDO doing in the heavy oil sphere?
We are doing quite a lot in this space. We continue to increase production from heavy oil by expanding developments as well as bringing new ﬁ fields into production. In about ﬁ ve years some 30 percent of PDO’s total daily production will be from heavy oil. This will take place by expanding the successful thermal operation in thermally assisted GOGD (Gas Oil Gravity Drainage) we have in Qarn-Alam in analogue carbonate ﬁelds in North Oman and expanding the successful conventional thermal operation (Steam ﬂood and CSS) in Amal areas (CSS in Thayfut, Amin, Amal South East; Follow up phases of Amal Steam project) .
Additionally, on miscible: we have a major RHIP project coming on stream sometime in 2019, and follow up of other projects in the pipeline (Buduor mini ﬂood). In chemicals, we are expanding Marmul polymer (Phase3); follow up of successful ASP pilot is ongoing; Nimr Area (pilot is also ongoing). It is also good to note that we are also pushing the technology forward by using solar to generate steam for heavy oil production. Heavy oil exploitation is energy intensive and long term sustainability is very important. The rising energy efﬁciency challenge can be made visible in 2 simple metrics: (1) the rising (electrical) power demand and (2) the rising quantities of produced water.
- Quality Water sources are limited
- Water treatment (pre- & post injection) is costly
- Water injection is energy intensive
- Water disposal has to be planned correctly to avoid aquifer contamination
PDO has been driving energy efﬁciency initiatives with considerable success, either through power plant upscaling and/or replacement and improved water ﬂood management. With more heavy oil recovery on the horizon, PDO is exploring all options to further drive energy efﬁciency forward. We are also busy developing a skilled workforce base in line with industry needs. PDO works closely with various stakeholders e.g. external and local training institutes as well as JIP and R&D