Manifa to pump 500,000bpd in H1 2013: Aramco
Al Khobar , October 17, 2012
Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco said it expects to begin oil output from the kingdom's Manifa field and ramp up to an estimated 500,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2013.
Manifa's crude output should rise to 900,000 bpd by 2014, the company said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, is accelerating development of the eastern Manifa field, discovered in the 1950s. Production from Manifa, located in shallow, offshore waters but reliant on long wells drilled from onshore, will flow in part to a new, 400,000-bpd refinery run by Aramco and France's Total in Jubail on the Saudi eastern coast.
Additional Manifa crude will flow to an Aramco joint-venture refinery with China's Sinopec in Yanbu, on the Red Sea coast.
Manifa will produce Arabian Heavy crude. Aramco officials have said the field is not expected to boost the Kingdom's oil production capacity, but will serve to keep capacity stable by offsetting declines from other fields.
Saudi Arabia has in recent years spent billions of dollars to boost its oil output capacity to around 12.5 million bpd. Earlier in 2012, Aramco announced plans to spend around $35 billion over the next five years to maintain its capacity. The Kingdom has been pumping around 10 million bpd this year.
Aramco said in May that it expected Manifa's development to be complete in 2013 and that the field would be fully operational by December 2014.
On Tuesday, Aramco also gave an update on its large Wasit and Karan natural gas projects, saying they are likely to boost Saudi Arabian natural gas output by an estimated 40 percent.
Aramco gave no details on the exact timing of the production increase for natural gas. The Karan project has come on stream this year, while Aramco says Wasit remains on schedule to come on stream in 2014.
Wasit will take gas from offshore areas. Industry sources said earlier in October that they expected Wasit to face delays to its scheduled start-up of a year or more, because the gas had a higher sulfur content than originally expected, making it potentially harder to process.
Wasit is part of Aramco's plans to increase output of Saudi raw gas from 10.2 billion cubic feet per day in 2010 to 15.5 bcfd in 2015.
The natural gas boost is crucial to freeing Saudi oil production for export. Aramco is looking to rely more on natural gas, instead of oil, for power generation as domestic electricity demand rises. - Reuters