Saudi Aramco is considering expanding its oil and gas production from the Berri offshore oilfield, industry sources told Reuters.
Aramco would, over time, add 250,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Berri, possibly by building drilling islands offshore in the Gulf, while also processing higher-pressure associated gas for sweetening in Khursaniyah, the sources said.
Low-pressure gas would be sent to the Berri gas plant in Jubail, which will be expanded under a program to recover more NGL and sulfur.
Aramco has invited companies to bid for several packages of FEED work on the project, which one source estimated could cost $6 billion. Two sources told Reuters the estimated cost of the gas plant expansion is about $1.7 billion.
Front-end engineering typically takes as long as a year to complete from the day of the award of contracts.
Aramco declined to comment on the expansion plans.
In January, Aramco's CEO Amin Nasser said the company was building its oil and gas production capacity to meet future demand growth.
Saudi oil officials have not, however, indicated any immediate plans to increase the kingdom's overall capacity of 12.5 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d). Any additional planned supplies that they have announced are to replace production lost from maturing oilfields.
Meanwhile, Aramco plans to double its gas production in a decade to meet rising domestic demand for gas to generate electricity.
Berri is a giant oil field that originally had reserves in excess of 15 Bbbl, said Sadad al-Husseini, an energy consultant and former senior executive at Aramco.
It has 11 oil-bearing reservoirs, the most significant of which are the Arab A, B, C and D reservoirs that produce Arabian light crude, and the Hanifa, Hadriya and Upper Fadhili reservoirs, which produce Arabian extra light.
A deeper reservoir, the Lower Fadhili, also contains extra light crude, but has not been developed because of its low permeability, Husseini added.
"Given the advances in drilling and well completion technologies, Aramco now has the opportunity to either develop additional production capacity from all these reservoirs or expand production from the southern area of Berri," he said.
"This project is a good example of how Aramco is using the latest advances in oil and gas drilling and development technologies to maintain its competitive edge," Husseini added.
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