Moneefa at full capacity only in 2024
Khobar, June 16, 2010
State oil giant Saudi Aramco does not expect its giant 900,000 barrels per day Moneefa project to pump at full volume until January 2024, according to the company's annual review.
The start-up date for the project of 2013 was unchanged. Aramco had previously said that the Moneefa development would be completed in 2015.
'The offshore Moneefa increment is scheduled to begin production of 500,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy crude oil by June 2013 and will ultimately produce 900,000 bpd by January 2024,' Aramco said in its 2009 annual review released on Tuesday.
Aramco slowed work at Moneefa as it looked to cut costs on oil-service contracts at the field and across its energy projects in the wake of the global economic slowdown.
The slump in global energy demand that came with the slowdown has made further development of oilfields in the world's top oil exporter less urgent.
The decline in economic activity took the heat out of the oil services and construction market, and Aramco saved billions of dollars by forcing contractors to go back to the drawing board to resubmit bids taking into account the lower cost of raw materials.
Aramco is undertaking the Moneefa project, with a price tag close to $16 billion, to compensate for declines at other fields rather than to boost capacity.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last week that he believed Saudi capacity of 12.5 million bpd would be enough to supply the global oil market until 2020 and still leave the kingdom with the 1.5 million to 2 million bpd of spare capacity it aims to keep.
Nearly half of the daily output of Moneefa would be processed at the 400,000 bpd Jubail crude refinery Aramco and France Total are building.
The Moneefa project includes building a causeway and drilling islands as well as offshore platforms, Aramco said in the review. It also requires a new facility to separate gas and oil, another for handling and stabilising crude, and a gas gathering and compression plant.
Moneefa is in shallow waters on the kingdom's east coast north of Jubail. – Reuters