Saudi Aramco at FEED for three shale gas projects
Despite all the challenges to implement the hydraulic fracturing techniques in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is keen to try it a real scale in order to boost its natural gas production.
As OPEC largest producer of crude oil, Saudi Arabia is taking its leading role to regulate the global market prices for a barrel.
In a context where number of producing countries have hard to meet their goals, no less than Brazil, Mexico, Libya, Syria or Nigeria, the regulating role of Saudi Arabia becomes more critical to meet the global demand.
Because of the current situation on the oil global market and its domestic strategy to boost competitive downstream industries, Saudi Arabia is struggling to convert each drop of crude oil consumed internally into gas.
Therefore Saudi Aramco received the mandate to explorer all solutions such as to:
– Monetize the associated gas
– Explore deep offshore gas in Red Sea
– Develop unconventional gas.
Considering that the hydraulic fracturing techniques require electrical power and water to produce steam, the development of shale gas resources in Saudi Arabia is not a given.
Saudi Aramco shale gas to power Maaden Phosphate
– Empty Quarter in the south
– South Ghawar in Eastern Province
– Al-Jalamid in the north
With these newly identified reserves, Saudi Arabia could increase its declared gas reserves from 285 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2012 to 288 tcf in 2013.
In addition to power and water challenges, it seems that shale gas reserves are lying up to 4,000 meters depth increasing drilling costs and reducing production performances.
With new technologies, such as steam production directly out of sun power successfully tested by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in the neighboring Sultanate, Saudi Aramco is moving on front end engineering and design (FEED) to develop three pilot projects.
Among these projects, Saudi Aramco is planning to use the shale gas produced out of the Al-Jalamid basin to feed a gas-fired 1,000 MW power generation facility planned for the giant Ma’aden Phosphate project.
To be sanctioned in a similar format as the Maintain Production Program (MPP) contract used for oil and gas offshore operations, the shale gas engineering services contract should be signed for a period of three-plus-two years.