BP Inaugurates Khazzan Field, Oman
BP CEO Bob Dudley and Oman's culture minister Sayyid Haitham bin Tarik Al’Said officially inaugurated the first phase development of Oman’s Khazan gas-field on 9 November. Khazzan is in block 61, of which BP is the operator, with a 60% interest; and the Oman Oil Company holds 40% interest.
Production started in September, ten years after BP signed its concession contract with Oman. Dudley said: “Visiting this huge project that we have together built here in just a few years, I can see why it has been described as ‘the city in the sand’. And this city will deliver benefits for Oman and BP for decades to come. With an estimated 10.5 trillion ft³ of recoverable gas resources in place in Khazzan, this is very much just the start of the journey.”
And it is truly a city in the sand. Located almost 350 km southwest of Muscat, the facility’s footprint is larger than the whole of the Greater London area. It is a huge, remote, greenfield tight gas project. In effect, within less than four years the area was transformed from a desert to a massive operational facility.
With construction lasting just 42 months, Khazzan is now producing and processing gas from its first 60 wells in a field that will make a significant contribution to Oman’s domestic supplies. Under the first phase of development, Khazzan is expected to produce 1bn ft³/day and 25,000 barrels/day of gas condensate from 200 wells. A second phase, approved by the government in November 2016 and now under appraisal, would add another 0.5bn ft³/day.
Khazzan is very important to Oman and its economy and energy needs. Oman’s oil minister Mohammed Al Ruhmy summed it up when he said that Khazzan “delivers more of the gas reserves and production that our country needs to support our energy planning and requirements. And … it has helped to build skills and capabilities and provide essential experience that Omanis need to develop and prosper. The second phase of Khazzan will build on the work of the first and demonstrates BP’s commitment to invest in a significant project that will deliver long-term value to both Oman and BP.”
Statistics include: 13,500 workers at the height of construction; 70 km of tarmac road in the desert; 60 km water pipelines; and over 400 km of pipelines to be laid over the lifetime of the project. And all this in an area where the desert heat can rise above 50˚C.
Khazzan was originally discovered in the late 1990s by the state company Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Shell, Total and Partex. With 10.5 tn ft³ of recoverable gas reserves, Khazzan was big, but it was also buried under up to five km of very hard, very old rock and locked in low permeability reservoirs, meaning it is tight gas. These complex and challenging conditions require special drilling equipment, the precise drilling of both vertical and horizontal wells, and well stimulation to free the gas. As a result, drilling has been challenging, with each well about 4.5 km deep. The horizontal wells then have to travel another 1 km sideways.
In addition to supplying gas to the domestic market, Khazzan gas is expected to help Oman LNG’s gas liquefaction plant at Qalhat to operate at its optimum capacity of 10.4mn metric tons/yr in 2018 for the first time in more than a decade.