Saudi Aramco to Re-Open Oldest Field to Tap Heavy Oil, EIU Says
Friday, 17 February 2012 | 00:00
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to re- open the Gulf kingdom’s oldest oil field and produce there for the first time in 30 years aa the company boosts output of heavy crude, the Economist Intelligence Unit said.
The state-owned producer, known as Saudi Aramco, may revive a plan from 2008 to restore production at the mothballed Dammam field, the EIU said in a report. Dammam contains some 500 million barrels of oil and may yield as much as 100,000 barrels a day of Arabian Heavy crude, according to the report.
Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, is considering redeveloping the onshore field in response to “tight market conditions,” the London-based researcher said in the report issued yesterday. It shut Dammam, along with several other small fields, in the early 1980s due to low demand. Officials at Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, did not answer phone calls seeking comment today, the first day of the Saudi weekend.
Saudi Arabia, which holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves, pumped 9.65 million barrels a day in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country discovered its first commercial quantities of oil at Dammam Well 7, known as the “Prosperity Well,” in 1938. Dammam 7 produced about 32 million barrels of oil before it was closed down, Aramco’s Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said in a speech in Washington, D.C., on May 19.
Aramco is also speeding up a project to increase capacity for heavy crude at the Manifa field in the Persian Gulf. Additional production from Manifa, the world’s fifth-largest oil field, will help maintain Aramco’s maximum sustainable oil production capacity at 12 million barrels a day, Aramco said in June in its 2010 annual review.