Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Progress Report on Iraqi Oil Expansion

Back in January, I began to track the al-Shahristani plan, in which the Iraqi oil ministry auctioned off a series of production development agreements for various Iraqi oilfields.  This seemed like it might lead to a very large increase in Iraqi oil production from about 2.5mbd recently, to nearly 12mbd if you just add the target plateaus of all the contracts together:

Field(s) Plateau (mbd) Co. Resv (gb) Depletion Fee ($/b) Links
Rumaila 2.85 BP, CNPC 17 6.1% $2.00 1
West Qurna Ph I 2.33 Exxon, Shell 8.7 9.8% $1.90 1, 2
West Qurna Ph II 1.8 Lukoil, Statoil 13 5.1% $1.15 1
Majnoon 1.8 Shell, Petronas 12.6 5.2% $1.39 1, 2, 3
Halfaya 0.535 CNPC, Total, Petronas 4.1 4.8% $1.40 1, 2, 3
Zubair 1.125 ENI, Kogas, Occidental 6.6 6.2% $2.00 1, 2
Gharaf 0.23 Petronas, Japex 0.86 9.8% $1.49 1, 2
Badra 0.17 Gazprom, Petronas, Kogas 0.8 7.8% $5.50 1, 2, 3
Al-Ahdab 0.115 CNPC N/A N/A $3 1
Qaiyarah 0.12 Sonangol 0.8 5.5% $5.00 1, 2
Najmah 0.11 Sonangol 0.9 4.5% $6.00 1, 2
Total 11.185

Of course, there is a great deal that could go wrong here, ranging from renewed political instability to the sheer logistical challenge of doing this many huge projects in parallel in a country with otherwise poor infrastructure.  However, if something like this did come about, it could have a pretty material effect on the timing and level of peak oil, so it's of profound importance and ought to be getting vastly more attention in the political conversation than it is.

I thought it would be interesting to do a six month progress report by the simple expedient of Googling for news stories on each field and then summarizing what progress, if any, has been made.

The overall impression is that there is tangible evidence of progress on all the large fields, although it's very early in the process to really form a judgement.  The smaller fields appear spottier, but it's not clear how much that's due to lack of progress, and how much it's due to lack of reporting.

Here is some detail on the individual fields (in plateau size order, with the contract plateau level in parantheses).

Rumaila (2.85 mbd)

Rumaila is currently producing 1.07mbd (or 1.03 mbd).  There are 800 wells, but only 200-300 produce and many of the rest should be worked over.  BP/CPNC, who won the contract for this field back in June 2009, hope to increase production by 100kbd by the beginning of 2011.  This seems like a slight back-off from the 1.2mbd end 2010 target reported by Ruba Husari in March.  They expect to drill 40-50 new wells this year, and the same next year, and some of the subcontracts for this activity have been awarded - I cannot find any reports of work actually beginning at this time.  The planned production ramp is here.

West Qurna Phase I (2.33 mbd)

Exxon and Shell say they are not being affected by the lack of a new government and that "things seem to be going ahead fairly well". They expect to issue tenders later this year for most of the drilling and workover subcontracts, but two wells have already been drilled by the state Iraqi Oil Drilling Co.

Also, interestingly, Exxon reports they are taking the lead on designing an integrated seawater delivery system for all the southern fields (this was an issue we talked about before).

West Qurna Phase II (1.8 mbd)

Lukoil plans to invest $5b in the field, and hopes to award tenders later this year.  Interestingly, however, they say they will only drill three wells next year, which doesn't sound like very much.  Other anonymous reports call for drilling 50-60 wells.  They have just issued a tender for a seismic survey of the field.

Majnoon (1.8 mbd)

Shell are said to be "in the process" of awarding drilling and workover contracts, with 15 new wells to be drilled over the next two years.  The 2012 production target is 175kbd, up from 45kbd today.

Zubair (1.125 mbd)

ENI has bids on a tender for over a hundred wells to be drilled over the next three years, and expects to award a contract in August.  The field currently produces 183kbd, and they hope to raise that by 10% by the end of this year.

Halfaya (0.535 mbd)

I found a recent tender for base camp facilities.  I can't find any more comprehensive information on this field at present.

Gharaf (0.23 mbd)

I can't find any recent information available.

Badra (0.17 mbd)

Gazprom is reported to be issuing tenders for seismic surveys and drilling this month, with the seismic survey to begin in the fourth quarter 2010.

Al-Ahdab (0.115 mbd)

Work has started on this field, and CNPC expects to get up to 60kbd in July 2011

Qaiyarah (0.12 mbd) and Najmah (0.11 mbd)

Sonangol is reported to be trying to bring in additional partners to help it develop the fields.  They are talking of drilling 40 or 50 wells next year, but this will depend on the availability of rigs.

Overall, probably the most interesting thing to me is that the water injection facilities, previously seen as a responsibility of the Iraqi oil ministry, are now being handled by a consortia of the oil companies.
One big question is how the players will coordinate to fund and build a massive, shared water-injection system needed to boost field performance in the south of the country. By injecting water or other fluids into older fields, engineers can boost production.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is leading a steering committee, including all the international firms that signed development deals, that is exploring how to build the system. An executive of the company told the symposium Sunday that a study on the project will be ready in September.


Steve From Virginia said...

Looking @ the number of wells and the lack of processing infrastructure the Iraqi oil ministry suggestions are very much optimistic.

What is the decline rate and the local consumption rate? How much is smuggled to Jordan, Syria and Iran. Who provides finished product such as diesel fuel?

Finally, the assumption - presuming Iraq can produce 12m bpd - is that this added oil is going to be dumped on the market to drive the real price lower.

Why would anyone do something so stupid?


Anonymous said...

Stuart, the EIA's latest International Energy Outlook which came out (in full version) a few days back has a special section on future Iraq production that you may find interesting.

Begins on page 34 but their not-euphoric assessment is on 35.

Long term, they see it as a big factor, though.

Stuart Staniford said...

Good catch Benno - yes, they are very cautious indeed. Their assumptions amount to all the IOCs losing their shirts!

I suspect the truth will end up somewhere in between - Iraqi production will rise, but it will take materially longer than the Iraqi oil ministry hopes. That's assuming they can form a reasonably strong government that can guarantee the security environment, however. If not, then all bets are off.