Saudi Aramco started commercial production of unconventional gas in the North Arabia field in May 2018, and supplied around 55mn standard cubic feet per day of gas (mmscfd) to a local power plant. Gas production is expected to grow to 190mmscfd by the end of 2018 to meet demand.
“What we see now at Wa’ad Al Shamal city is the productive outcome of close collaboration between government sectors, agencies and leading national companies," said Aramco CEO Amin Nasser. "I am proud of Saudi Aramco’s role in this achievement, making an investment of more than SR 10 billion to supply the required energy feedstock to the city and its projects.”
Wa'ad Al Shamal is a mining and industrial project in northern Saudi Arabia, 1,000 kilometres away from Riyadh. Supplying the city with competitive gas feedstock was initially deemed as complex and costly due to its terrain and geography.
Commercial production of natural gas signifies the first milestone in Saudi Aramco’s implementation phase of the unconventional resources extraction program. “Building on three crucial pillars of a sound de-risking strategy, a fit-for-purpose business model, and the building of capabilities in people and technology, the company’s unconventional resources (UR) organization has made significant achievements over the past few years. The gas supply to support Wa’ad Al Shamal industrial projects will also help offset the increase in liquid burning for electricity in the area,” said Khalid M. Al Abdulqader, Saudi Aramco’s general manager of Unconventional Resources.
The UR organization has completed drilling wells, installing more than 300 kilometers of pipelines, and building one surface processing facility (SPF) along with associated infrastructure, while the remaining four SPFs will come online by the year-end of 2018. Producing unconventional gas near Turaif will replace the burning of hydrocarbons for electricity generation. The result will be a reduction in carbon emissions while saving hydrocarbons for export to obtain higher value. The project’s best practices and experiences will benefit teams developing the remaining unconventional resources in the Kingdom, including the South Ghawar and Jafurah fields. In line with Saudi Vision 2030, these endeavors will contribute to increase the Kingdom’s natural gas production.
Technology has been adapted to take into consideration the local environment, and the business model assisted in addressing the crucial aspect of cross-function collaboration. Thanks to world-leading, cutting-edge technology, Saudi Aramco is able to increase the chances of finding gas, while reducing the drilling and well delivery time, as well as costs, by 70%.