Sei sulla pagina 1di 15

SPE 129143

Thermal Developments in Petroleum Development Oman's Southern Fields -

An Update
M. Thum, SPE, E. S. Leith, SPE, J. N. M. Van Wunnik, SPE, M. S. Mandhari, SPE, Petroleum Development Oman
LLC and H. P. Clark, SPE, Shell Canada Ltd

Copyright 2010, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE EOR Conference at Oil & Gas West Asia held in Muscat, Oman, 1113 April 2010.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed
by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or
members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is
restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

A programme of thermal developments is being rapidly matured in Petroleum Development Oman's (PDO) Southern Oil
Directorate. This targets several billion barrels of heavy oil deposits in clastic reservoirs at depths between 800m and 1800m.
Cyclic steam stimulation and steam drive applications dominate the current development program. High-pressure steam injection
and air injection applications are also pursued in some fields through studies and laboratory experiments.

Steam trials in three heavy oil fields spearhead the thermal developments and results are presented. These steam trials provide
further insights to optimise the ongoing full field developments. The paper also describes a portfolio management approach to
thermal developments, given that many of the target fields are in close proximity and can share the same infrastructure and
development methodologies.

One of the main heavy oil full field developments has been matured from a Feasibility stage to Final Investment Decision in just
three years. In this particular case, unique opportunities and challenges for thermal development arise due to the depth and
thickness (200m) of the heavy oil column, with an underlying large regional aquifer. Specific topics addressed include thermal
well cost reductions, urban planning, minimising additional gas requirements through COGEN, water management, development
of a new Operating Model for Lean Steam Well & Reservoir Management and Operations, and overall integrated project

Amongst other measures (e.g. focus on well and reservoir management) Petroleum Development Oman has prepared for the
natural decline of its maturing oil fields with the formulation of an EOR strategy that aspires to have about one third of the total oil
production coming from tertiary recovery processes by the second half of this decade. The thermal portfolio in the companys
Southern Directorate - one building block of this strategy - has been spearheaded with the start-up of steam injection trials in
September 2007, which were performed in the lead field for full field thermal development (A West), and described previously
when the project was at conceptual design stage (Leith, 2008). Since then the portfolio has been further matured, with the
integrated A West and East Steam Project, having passed the Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2009, now progressing through
the Execution Phase and the conversion of the steam trials to early thermal development facilities completed. These are delivering
surveillance data, which are being used in the further optimization of the Field Development Plans (FDP) and in the formulation of
reservoir management strategies. These updates and a discussion of the learnings from the steam operations to date are included in
this paper.

South Thermal Decision-Based Plan

The South Oman Salt Basin features a number of heavy oil fields (ranging from 20 to 11 API; viscosity up to 27,000 cP) around
which a portfolio of potential thermal developments has been created and forms part of the overall EOR (chemical, miscible gas
injection, thermal) strategy. Potential thermal developments at various stages of maturity make up the South Thermal portfolio
2 SPE 129143

(Fig. 1). The steam trials in field A West and East and field B commenced with cyclic steam injection in field A West in
September 2007 and have now been converted to early development facilities providing valuable learnings for the full field
developments. The A Steam project passed FID in July 2009 and is now in Execution phase with detailed design ongoing, long
lead items being ordered, commencement of the early works construction programme and Production Line Drilling starting in
2010. Field B full field development, for which steam trial facilities were constructed and commissioned together with those for
A West and East, is now in Concept Selection and the trial has matured from initial cyclic steam tests to a continuously
operating inverted 5-spot steam flood pattern. The portfolio is dynamic with new potential developments entering the funnel on
the left (lowest level of maturity) and being progressed towards thermal production if the thermal development is identified as the
optimum development. In the early phases of project maturity (typically Identify & Assess) the potential thermal developments are
ranked against alternative concepts (primary, secondary as well as other EOR techniques) and may exit the thermal funnel in case
a more optimum development concept is identified. A recent example is the decision to further mature a large, strong bottom-water
drive heavy oil field through an unconventional polymer development, thus pushing the envelope of polymer application beyond
current industry practice (Al Azri, 2010), and potentially unlocking significant scope for recovery volumes in other fields with
similar setting. The portfolio approach allows preserving thermal learnings gained during this early phase and applying these to
follow-up projects, in this particular case to a number of Gharif Rim reservoirs. Follow-up developments, near field exploration in
proximity of the A Steam project, maturation of the C Steam development and the endorsement of an associated horizontal
steam flooding trial further complement the current thermal portfolio.

Commercial Scope
for Recovery
ISC/ HPSI Undeveloped
Gharif Rims Reserves Developed
A East A East

CSS top half

follow-up reservoir
A West A West
Steam Flood Steam Flood
Follow-up B Steam 75m SO

C Steam A West,
A NFE A East, & B
Trial (hor)
Steam Trials

SELEC rity
roj ect Matu
se in P

Fig. 1: South Thermal Opportunity Funnel

In order to efficiently manage the portfolio a decision based roadmap has been developed. Where appropriate, similar projects are
planned sequentially, thus allowing the transfer of learnings and planning of resources (Fig. 2).
SPE 129143 3

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
A W injectivity A E CSS Operations
1. A Steam Project:
1. A West & East Construct Operate
Steam Trials Continued steam trial/first pattern performance reviews

2. A West First Design & Procure Operate

Pattern No show-stoppers identified Development Drilling A West and East Steam Hot oil facilities
from injectivity trials FID OTSG Steam Plant and Production Station injection commissioned
DG3 DG4 1 x HRSG by 2014
10P performance reviews
3. 6,000 t/d Full
Field Development BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct Operate
4. Increase to 10,000 t/d steam injection

Install HRSG/plant expansion BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct Operate

5. A Steam Follow-up A Follow-up FDP BfD FEED

Flank/lower reservoir development
B CSS Operations
2. B Steam Development: Continued steam trial/first
pattern performance reviews
1. B Steam Construct Operate
Trials DG1 DG2 Concept DG4
2. B Full Field
Feasibility Study Steam FDP BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct Operate
Steam Development
B solar
3. B Solar Steam Trial: steam injection

1. Solar Steam Trial FEED&DD Procure Construct Operate


C hor. steam injection

4. C Thermal Development:
BfD FEED Construct Operate
1. C Steam
Trial (horizontal) Pursue Thermal
Opportunity for C ?
2. C Thermal Full
Thermal Feasibility Accelerate? Thermal FDP BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct
Field Development

5. A NFE CSS Development:

1. A NFE 2010 Exploration Campaign
Exploration Details tbc

2. A NFE Thermal Full Feasibility Study Steam FDP BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct
Field Development

6. ISC Gharif Rim Reservoirs:

Feasibility Study Select ISC Trial Concept BfD FEED Construct Operate
1. ISC Trials

Pursue ISC
Opportunity ?

Fig. 2: South Thermal Decision-Based Roadmap

This roadmap forms the back-bone of the South Thermal Strategy and is updated as data from the early development phases
become available and the learnings feed into the full field developments.

A West and East Maturation from Feasibility to Final Investment Decision

The A West and East fields are located on the Eastern flank of the South Oman Salt Basin and contain a 200m thick column of
heavy oil in sandstone reservoir. The fields at Haima level are classic high relief turtle-back fault-bounded anticlines, consisting
of Haima pods, sealed by a combination of Al Khlata diamictites and the Nahr Umr shale (Fig. 3). They are about 2km apart,
separated by an Al Khlata valley, which was proven by a well penetration. The fields were discovered in the seventies and brought
on stream in the eighties. The A West field has been in production for over 25 years and is currently in decline. The higher
viscosity A East has not been produced other than by some cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) trials in the late 1980s and early
1990s. The comparatively large depth and the thick continuous oil column make the A fields unique candidates for thermal
development, for which no subsurface analogue is available. Key uncertainties are the aquifer strength, steam injectivity as a
function of depth, fracture presence, direction and frequency. Key development challenges include minimizing fuel gas
requirements, aquifer pump-off/water management, thermal well cost reductions, injection rates, capacity sizing and urban
4 SPE 129143

DEPTH 6 5 24 11 20 8 4 15 12 26 DEPTH
in m ss in m ss

600 600

700 700



800 800


900 MZ CLASTIC 900

P5 200M

TD 975
1000 P5 1000
OOWC: 1005mss
TD 1026

TD 1071 TD 1076
1100 P9 1100
50% Sw OWC
TD 1130

TD 1166

1200 1200

TD 1922
TD 1269
1300 TD 1270 1300
TD 1318

Fig. 3: A West and East Field Characteristics

The A West and East opportunity formally proceeded into Concept Selection in July 2007 following completion of feasibility
and endorsement to pursue a thermal development. A fully integrated team was put in place and a number of key activities were
undertaken in parallel with the standard deliverables of the project maturation before FID to significantly improve project
definition and reduce risk (Fig. 4). These include:

Creation of a Development Decision Framework that plans for success but is flexible and adaptable and provides exit
points along the way
Demonstration of A West FDP steam injection rate (400 t/d per well)
Introduction of industry thermal standards/specifications and materials selection (carbon steel versus CRA) for facilities
cost improvements
Demonstration of thermal well cost reduction through the 2008 demonstrator campaign, design of the new commercial
model for rigs and services, and implementation of the New Oil Operating Model
Creation of an aquifer pump-off plan (APO) and a water management strategy, including securing the water relocation
Execution of A East appraisal 2008 and addressing the deep flanks
Operation of the A West first steam flood pattern and A East CSS early development facilities
SPE 129143 5

A West demonstration of Demonstrate Well Cost Reduction Operate A West 1st Pattern
Areal surveillance base line
FDP 400t/d steam injectivity, Development well costs proved
no showstoppers pre-FID Operate A East CSS
Operational learnings
Local capability development

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1. A Steam Project: AW injectivity AE CSS Operations

1. A West & East Construct Operate

Steam Trials
Continued steam trial/first pattern performance reviews

2. A West First Construct Operate

Pattern No show-stoppers identified Development Drilling A West and East Steam Hot oil facilities
from injectivity trials DG4 FID OTSG Steam Plant and Production Station injection commissioned
1 x HRSG by 2014
10P performance reviews
3. 6,000 t/d Full
Field Development Feasibility Study A FDP BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct Operate

4. Increase to 10,000 t/d steam injection

Install HRSG/plant expansion BfD FEED Design & Procure Ev/Award Construct Operate

5. A Steam Follow-up A Follow-up FDP BfD

Flank/lower reservoir development

Developed APO plan, secured

water relocation permits Facilities Cost Improvement
Development Decision AE appraisal 2008, addressed
Framework deep flanks pre-FID
Risk & Opportunity
Management Plan
Flexible, adaptable
development plan with New commercial model Rigs & Services
exit points Award of Rig Contract
Integration AW & AE Introduced North American Integrated Services Contract
Project Assurance Plan New Operating Model
thermal Standards/Specs
Integrated team
Stakeholder Engagement Materials selection CS vs CRA

Fig. 4: A Steam Project Maturation from DG2 to FID

Development Decision Framework and Summary of the FDP

The strategy follows from the key business drivers, the specific characteristics and uncertainties of the reservoirs and the
worldwide experience with executing steam projects; the field development is designed to be flexible and adaptable over its life
time. It allows taking on board outcomes from the steam trials and early production and offers several exit points and fall back
options. The A Steam Project comprises a steam drive development in A West and an initial CSS followed by a steam drive in
A East. It is managed as one integrated project with shared surface facilities and operations (Fig. 5). The decisions to scale the
project such that existing evacuation and processing facilities are utilised and to apply top-down phasing to the subsurface
development of both fields has created room for pursuing upsides at a later stage without the upfront investment and risk.
Approximately two years after full field start-up, steam generation for A West will switch to one 6,000 t/d Frame 9 low pressure
HRSG (Heat-Recovery-Steam-Generator) or COGEN, making most of the OTSG (Once-Through-Steam-Generation) units for
A West available for the increasing steam demand of A East. Cumulative fuel gas consumption for the project life (not
including gas for power) has been limited to approximately 0.06 Tscf.
6 SPE 129143

Existing Evacuation



APO Water
Tank Plant
APO Water

Steam OTSG Steam Steam


HRSG Steam Power

Generation Station

20 km

A West A East

Relocation Site

Fig. 5: Integration of A West and East and Water Management Plan

In A West a steam drive is planned with 50 10-acre 7-spot patterns, resulting in a total of 242 wells including 15% re-drills, 21
observation wells, and 12 APO wells. Steam will be injected in the top of the reservoir with a stand-off from the aquifer of 75m to
limit water ingress. The 75m zone is planned to be targeted later when aquifer pressures have decreased. Further patterns can be
added either by infill, if required, or by extending the development into the flanks with oil columns < 115m, which are excluded in
the first phase.

The higher viscosity A East will be developed initially via CSS on a well spacing of 92m, resulting in a total of 81 wells
including 15% re-drills and 7 observation wells and of which 7 will be re-used existing wells. This initial CSS development will
migrate to a steam drive development from approximately 2015 onwards, thus increasing the ultimate recovery. Similarly to A
West steam will be injected in the top of the reservoir with the potential of reducing stand-off to the OWC later in the project
depending on the success of the first phase.

Demonstration of Injectivity in A West

As part of the overall Southern Fields steam strategy and to utilize the companys learning obtained from earlier steam trials in a
large field further North, steam injection tests were performed in three fields, starting in September 2007: A West, A East and
B. In A West & East fields, three cyclic steam injection wells existed or were drilled in each field to test the injection and
production rates to support further development plans. For B field, six wells including an observation well were newly drilled in
an inverted 5-spot pattern.

The A West steam trials, injecting up to 400 tonnes per day from two portable steam generators spearheaded the overall
Southern thermal development portfolio, with first steam injection into a thermal well in field A West just 12 months after
shareholder budget approval. Being an important element of the overall risk & opportunity management of the full field steam
development, a clear set of technical objectives was identified as shown in Fig. 6. The trial was not designed to replicate the
proposed A West steam drive process, but to narrow some key uncertainties and increase the understanding of the field under
steam injection to help optimize the design for the full field FDP. The primary Pre-FID objectives were:

Confirmation of steam injectivity

Identification of any showstoppers, e.g. early steam breakthrough due to fractures
SPE 129143 7

Steam injectivity and reservoir stimulation testing in the form of CSS was performed in three A West wells. The wells were
stimulated by steam injection in the period from Sep-07 to Jul-08.
In summary, the primary objectives of the test were fully met. The required injectivity was achieved and no showstoppers were
found (Fig. 6). Surveillance of the items that required long term monitoring of trends (e.g. Sand, H2S, CO2 etc) was subsequently
built into the A West Early first steamflood pattern, which commenced continuous injection in December 2008.

Objective Data Actual vs. FDP Implication Follow-up


400 t/d injection test achieved in A
West field well. FDP indicates ramp-
Obtain steam injectivity data crucial for full field up over 8 months from 200 to 400
m Rates validated
development t/d. Monitor in A first steam flood
pattern (expected decline in WHIP
over time)

e Early information on role of open fracture clusters, A West first steam flood pattern
No showstoppers
c nature of faults or fractures interference testing
No showstoppers Sensitivities included in FDP.
a Strong aquifer confirmed;
r Aquifer pressure and pump-off requirement, over time vertical connectivity at
Deliverability test for newly drilled
y low end of range APO well performed in 2009

Further learning from A West first

Thermal enhanced productivity information, over time No showstoppers
steam flood pattern
Long term monitoring. All results
H2S and CO2 contents of thermally produced oil No showstoppers
within FDP limits

No showstoppers Acquire additional data from long

T Narrow uncertainty on sand control requirements Minor sand production term monitoring of A West first
e from limited data steam flood pattern
t Good cement quality achieved
Test cementing strategy (up-hole effectiveness) No showstoppers
i during well demonstrator campaign
r Ability to apply zonal completion strategy (reservoir No showstoppers Long term monitoring required
y cementation and dissolution) Limited data

Good injection conformance seen

Test vertical permeability and velocity of steam zone No showstoppers from temperature logs run during
propagation Limited data
soak periods
Successfully proved in 2008
First steps in the thermal well cost reduction project Captured for FID
demonstrator campaign

Objective Fully Met Objective On Track Objective Not Met

Fig. 6: A West Cyclic Steam Trial Technical Objectives and Summary of Results

The notable highlights related to the trial are:

The FDP-predicted steam injection rate (400t/d) was achieved and maintained for the planned period of the test in the A
West well (Fig. 7). The translation of this through modeling work to FDP conditions indicates that a ramp up period of 8
months is required to increase the injection rate from around 200 t/d initially to 400 t/d at the planned 6,000 kPa well head
pressure. This is in line with FDP predictions.
The tests achieved a stable steam injection rate both in the bottom zone, where the pressure is high and oil is heavier, as
well as in the top zone, where pressure is lower and oil is lighter.
Temperature logs during soak periods indicated a uniform vertical steam distribution over both perforated zones (Fig. 8).
The best history match for oil response in two A West wells was obtained by reducing residual oil saturation, as
compared to the FDP assumptions, to both steam and hot water with temperature. This indicates that good sweep
efficiency was achieved for the steamed zone.
The trial was delivered on time and within budget and LTI free which demonstrates the commitment of delivering the
project and the high level of integration between the involved disciplines.
The trial wells themselves formed part of the first step towards well cost reduction which is major contributor to project
cost. Subsequently, cost reduction was successfully achieved in the six demonstrator wells drilled in 2008.
8 SPE 129143

Cold 1st cycle 2nd cycle

production bottom perfs Upper perfs

Steam Injection Rate (actual, m3/d WE) Steam Injection Rate (simulated, m3/d WE)
Gross Production Rate (actual, m3/d) Gross Production Rate (simulated, m3/d)

Net Oil Production Rate (actual, m3/d) Net Oil Production Rate (simulated, m3/d)

Fig. 7: A West Well Steam Injection Performance

SPE 129143 9

A West temerature
Injector logs
Temperature Logs Al-97
A West temerature
Injector logs
Temperature Logs
Temp, C Temp, C
Temp, C Temp, C













400 975


550 1,025


700 1,075

Depth mah

Depth mah

850 1,125


1,000 1,175


1,150 1,225


1,300 1,275
Second cycle after 2 days soak Second cycle after 2 days
Second cycle after 12 days soak Second cycle after 12 days soak
First cycle after 3 days soak First cycle after 3 days soak
First cycle after 15 days soak First cycle after 15 days soak
Perfs Perfs
Top Haradh Top Haradh

Fig. 8: Vertical Temperature Profile Demonstrating Even Distribution of Steam (Enlargement on Right)

Pragmatic Replication of Best Practices for Facilities Cost Improvements

From a theoretical viewpoint, the combination of high carbon dioxide (15 mol %) and hydrogen sulphide (5 mol %) with saline
produced waters and high temperatures necessitate the use of CRAs (corrosion resistant alloys) or carbon steel with a high level of
corrosion inhibitor injection.

However experience from operators of existing heavy oil processing facilities indicates that this is not the case, the combination of
sulphide scale and a coating of heavy crude film on pipe and equipment walls mitigating corrosive action allow the use of carbon
steel with no corrosion inhibition. The protection afforded by scale and heavy oil film depends on the type of crude, operating
conditions, chemical composition, water cut, temperature, pressure, chloride contents and environmental conditions. The use of
carbon steel has resulted in significant CAPEX savings.

Demonstration of Thermal Well Cost Reduction

The large number of wells required in the thermal development provided an opportunity to significantly increase overall project
value through lifecycle well cost reductions (Fig. 9). This was pursued through a combination of design, commercial strategy and
operating model.
10 SPE 129143

MM 1.24Mln
US$ Reducing lifecycle well costs by a combination Commercial
2008 Campaign of design, commercial strategy and operating Strategy
+drilling performance improvement model
+learning curve effect Design
+ technology benefits Operating
13.5 d WCC08
what happens if we do nothing?
Well design optimisation
MSIPC 0.84Mln
SALTEL liner top expandable (Sustained performance
Optimised locations (mini cellars /
+8% (avg.)
during 08 campaign)
single location & pits)
PDC bits Inflation +
Etc. Market

8.3 d Full Field Production Wells Segmentation
Best possible outcome within current PDO framework target range

Not to scale 2009 time

Fig. 9: Lifecycle Thermal Well Cost Reduction

In addressing the design element, one of the key deliverables before FID was to demonstrate that the target well cost of less than
US$ 1 mln could be achieved by drilling the 2008 demonstrator wells. For that a campaign of 8 wells (5 producers and 1
observation well in A West (Fig. 10) and 2 CSS wells with appraisal objectives in A East) was executed.
The well cost reduction plan started off with the lowest well cost achieved in the 2007 campaign, when the 3 wells for the
injectivity trial in A West were drilled. The future A West producers (including the 2008 demonstrator wells) would have
reduced data gathering requirements, lower specification connections, reduced depth and no loss curing trials would be performed,
resulting in an estimated cost of USD 1.24 mln. Further optimization of the well design (e.g. optimized location & pit construction,
no master valve and re-use of temporary housing, no Ultra Sonic Imaging Tool (USIT) unless doubtful cement job) led to a
thermal A West producer that could be drilled in 10.25 days and would cost ca. US$ 1 mln. This is shown in the lowest bar in
Fig. 11. The actual performance of the campaign resulted in a sustained delivery of thermal producers in 8.5 days per well, i.e.
demonstrating well cost below US$ 1 mln and allowing using this cost for the economic evaluation of the project for FID.
SPE 129143 11


Exist. cold

Prod-4 Obs. Prod-6

(new) (exist.) (new)

80 m
80 m
(new) m

(2008) Obs.

Prod-3 Prod-1
(new) (new)

Exist. cold


Fig. 10: A West Demonstrator Campaign and First Steam Flood Pattern

Drilling Performance: Phase Breakdown

Scope Change:
(4Hrs, SCR + 2Hrs
additional log
stuck tong line)

(5.5Hrs, Schlumberger.)

(1 Hrs) (3.6Hrs)
Well Name

(26.5Hrs, bit conditioning trip

Prod-6 for logging, including P/Up
NPT NPT D/Ps which was L/D @ TD)
(16.5Hrs Rig Movers) (3Hrs Rig Repair)

NPT NPT ILT NPT (4.25Hrs, slow ROP due to
(19Hrs Rig Movers) (6.5Hrs Dalma-Kelly) (1.5Hrs, clean suction line) (1.5Hrs Hall. CMT unit) motor performance)

(4.5Hrs WO daylight,22Hrs (7.25Hrs Hall. cementing unit, (40 Hrs Cure losses with 4 (2.4Hrs the doubt of CMT NPT
(6.48 Hrs Slip Lock
Dalma, 5.75Hrs Chute lines) 5Hrs Dalma) LCM pills and cement plug) displacement volume) (2Hrs PDO for pulling scrapper
and RIH with the bit).

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Rig Move/Preparation Drilling 12 1/4" hole to 830 m Run 9 5/8" CSG, X.O. 13 3/8" & CMT CSG
13 3/8" slip-lock CHH. N/U BOP & P/T CHH/BOP RIH w/ 8 1/2" BHA, Drill Shoe track Drilling 8 1/2" to TD 1250 m
Run Log in 8 1/2" hole Running & CMT 7" Csg Scraper Trip, L/D DPs
Running Kill String ND BOP, Install THV

Fig. 11: A West Demonstrator Campaign Thermal Well Cost Reduction

12 SPE 129143

The well CAPEX was reduced by a total of 40% through adopting a Portfolio Segmentation approach in which specifications and
incentives were developed for a specific scope type (in this case low risk repetitive development drilling) instead of the existing
blanket model contracts. A contracting and procurement model was developed to cater for gaps between project deliverables
(QHSE and cost) and contractor drivers (profit and longevity). One contract covering rigs and one integrated contract covering 7
well engineering services was put in place, which is based on a true partnership where the total well cost and time determine
contractor performance, for example: an agreed cost target for oil producer wells was set. The contract has an automatic extension
mechanism (evergreen), subject to contractor performance on the shared KPIs and can cater for expansion into new fields or
changes in well design, maintaining flexibility. In addition to the cost improvements brought about by design optimization and the
new commercial model, there are further benefits from implementation of the New Oil Operating Model, going live with the start
of Production Line Drilling in 2010, which drives increased well delivery efficiency.

Aquifer Pump-off Plan and Water Management Strategy

A number of key activities were undertaken to form the basis for a sound water management plan before FID. These included an
injectivity test in the Dammam formation at the re-location site, drilling of an early APO well for the acquisition of additional APO
water samples and deliverability testing, as well as the grant of the permit from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs
The APO water is of excellent quality and can be used with only minor treatment as feed water for steam generation, with the
remainder relocated (unprocessed) to a shallow water relocation site for potential future agricultural use or as the source of low
salinity injection water. The following key elements constitute the APO plan update and are described in more detail below:

1. Aquifer pump-off for reservoir pressure management,

2. Aquifer pump-off water for use as boiler feed water in steam generation, and
3. Relocation of excess APO water to a shallow water relocation site.

Reservoir Pressure Management:

The APO wells will aid in lowering the reservoir pressure to a low value to make the thermal flood more efficient, and at the
same time, preventing quenching of the injected steam. A low operating pressure at A West is achieved by combined APO and
gross field off-take. A further provision has been made in the development to increase the aquifer pump off capacity during the
first 3 years of the project to safeguard the steam injection profile in the event that the aquifer ingress is stronger than anticipated.
To safeguard a future development of the bottom part of the oil column the APO well design has also been revised, allowing for
use of deep set ESP pumps. Moreover, the aquifer pump off operations mode has been addressed to ensure APO water remains
clean and is not contaminated with oil from the oil column during aquifer pump off operations. The APO plan update also specifies
the APO well design requirements and the APO well locations as input to the urban plan and facilities design.

Feed Water for Steam Generation:

A part of the APO water will be used for steam generation. The APO water supply therefore needs to be sustainable to meet the
steam generation water demand over the project field life and has to be of such quality that it meets the design requirements of the
selected water treatment plant technology. The APO water quality had been subject to extensive testing and review, and as a
further precautionary measure water sampling was undertaken in an extended APO flow test under real flowing conditions in May
2009. Whilst therefore the residual uncertainty in water quality is considered low, alternative water sources as well as alternative
water treatment facilities options have been considered. Preferred alternatives have been identified as part of the development
decision framework in the event that the APO water quality falls outside the specified limits.

Relocation of Excess Water:

Since the APO water pump-off requirement exceeds the water requirement for steam generation, the excess APO water will be
relocated via water relocation wells to an unsaturated shallow formation some 20 km to the south east of the A steam plant
facilities (see Fig. 5).
The aquifer size, strength and ingress are uncertain. In the initial phase an aquifer pump-off capacity of 35,000 m3/d will be
installed. This requires 9 APO wells. About 10,000 m3/d are used as feed water for steam generation and the excess is transported
via an 18 GRE line to the relocation site. A provision has been made to increase APO capacity to 46,000 m3/d in the first 3 years
by adding 3 more APO wells, while staying within the capacity of the re-location pipeline (37,5000 m3/d). The permit for
relocation of the excess APO water to the unsaturated shallow formation was obtained from MECA in 2008. This permit is
conditional to having the APO relocation water free from any traces of oil (i.e. < 0.5 ppm of OiW). To minimize the risk of oil
contamination the APO wells are drilled 100m below the original oil-water-contact, and testing of the newly drilled first APO well
SPE 129143 13

(May 2009) has confirmed oil-free water production. For the full field development fall-back options are in place in case of
exceeding the permit specifications.

Execution of the A East Appraisal Campaign 2008

The seismic interpretation work supporting the 2007 FDP had led to a significant increase of the A East STOIIP. Whilst the
interpretation was considered technically sound at the time, it was clearly recognised that this increase, being based on seismic
interpretation work only, carried large uncertainty and that appraisal wells to confirm the new volume would be required before
In the 2008 A East appraisal campaign the two wells (drilled on the South-Eastern flank of the field) penetrated top Haradh
reservoir 23 m (Well-1) and 128 m (Well-2) deep compared to prognosis. This triggered a focused review of the seismic
interpretation and subsequently led to a revision of the STOIIP back to pre 2007 FDP levels and new UR estimates.
Whilst the impact on total STOIIP of A East is significant, the UR was less affected. This is due to the fact that, firstly, the major
proportion of the volume reduction occurs in the flanks, thus leaving the actual target STOIIP of the CSS development (i.e. the
more crestal area) relatively less affected and, secondly, the well layout was revised to increase the efficiency of the recovery
process and therefore maintain a relatively high cumulative production from the target STOIIP area (Fig. 12).
The development drilling sequence of the A East wells has been constructed such that, following one early crestal well for
further PVT sampling (eCSS-1, drilled in December 2009); the next 4 wells (eCSS-2 to eCSS-5) will have structural appraisal
character. They are located mid-flank and are drilled at least six months in advance of the bulk of development wells (eCSS-2 was
drilled in December 2009 and the remaining 3 will be drilled in mid 2010), thus allowing adjustment/revision of the current base
plan in case of unfavourable results.

Updated A East Top Haradh Map and Well Locations 2007 FDP A East Top Haradh Map and Well Locations
360400 360600 360800 361000 361200 361400 361600 361800 360600 360800 361000 361200 361400 361600 361800 362000

0 Drilling:
Drilling: -95 -950

Pre 2008: 9 wells Pre 2008: 9 wells


2008: 2 CSS wells 2008: 2 CSS wells

2010/11: 65 CSS wells 2010/11: 65 CSS wells -900







-8 eCSS-5


eCSS-1 Well-1







360400 360600 360800 361000 361200 361400 361600 361800 360600 360800 361000 361200 361400 361600 361800 362000

0 100 200 300 400 500m 0 100 200 300 400 500m

1:7500 1:7500

Fig. 12: Comparison between 2007 FDP and Updated Well Layout for A East

Operation of the A West First Steam Flood Pattern and A East CSS Early Development Facilities
Following the successful steam injection test and the drilling of six demonstrator wells in field A West, continuous injection
started in the early first pattern in December 2008. This was made possible by the decision to procure and install two additional
steam generation units (200 t/d capacity) to the existing two boilers, which were relocated as per the original steam trial plan to the
A East field for CSS trials and the B field for initial CSS trials followed by a continuous steam flood. Implementation of this
first steamflood pattern in A West has created the opportunity to develop an aerial surveillance testing strategy, which is aimed
at identifying the most cost effective aerial surveillance plan for the full field development (Rocco, 2010). In early 2009, 3D VSP
and cross-well seismic base line surveys were acquired over the first steamflood pattern and pressure interference testing was
performed. A detailed simulation model of the first pattern was constructed as part of a suite of well and reservoir management
tools to track performance of the first steamflood pattern and investigate completion strategies for the full field development (Al
14 SPE 129143

Hinai, 2010). Forward modeling of the 4D seismic response and the timing of the repeat survey are further objectives of these
models. At the time of writing, only about one third of the expected cumulative steam injection had been achieved. The reason for
this has been identified to be excessive feed water treatment plant and steam generator downtime mainly due to lack of surface
facilities sparing. Formal conversion of the first pattern trial to early development facilities with the appropriate operational
procedures has resulted in increased uptime in recent months and is expected to give a sustainable performance improvement. This
key learning forms a fundamental element of the operations philosophy for the upcoming horizontal steamflood trial in field C.
CSS trials were conducted in the A East field in 1987 and 1991. Good steam response and clear increase in oil production were
reported for both periods, leading to the conclusion that the field A East is a suitable candidate for cyclic steam development. In
April 2008 further CSS trials were commenced with the technical objectives of optimizing the process and gathering new viscosity
and pressure data. The non-technical objectives of these new trials (e.g. development of thermal EOR WRM strategy, provision of
an operations test bed for thermal capabilities development, driving integration between engineering, operations and petroleum
engineering) have proven extremely valuable in preparing for the full field operations start-up expected in 2012. The learnings are
captured in a learnings register and are summarized as follows:

Steam injection and oil production forecasts (and the related reservoir pressure performance) were originally generated by
scaling up single-well and six-well element of symmetry models. Due to the current reservoir and operational conditions,
which differ from those in the actual full field development (e.g. pressure), the comparison of the actual steam trial results
with the full field forecasts generated in the symmetry element models require careful analysis. To simplify this analysis
and its communication the construction of a full field simulation model, in which the actual performance of the trials
could be history-matched, was important. This leads to the conclusion that whenever an accurate full field modelling of
the process is feasible this should be preferred over element modelling. This also applies to any conclusions drawn from
the first steamflood pattern in A West.
When turning the wells around from steam injection to soak and ultimately production a hoist intervention is required.
Non-availability of suitable hoists, combined with restrictions to free-flow the wells due to insufficient pressure rating of
surface equipment has led to sub-optimal cycle times with reduced oil production and wasted thermal energy. Trials of
hoist-less intervention solutions are currently being performed on one well in the A East field and one well in the B
field. Operational procedures and ring-fenced hoist resources will ensure sufficiently low turn-around times for the full
field development.
The originally planned steaming strategy, which was developed based on the element of symmetry model called for CSS
wells to be steamed in patterns of six to make use of the positive effects of pressure interference observed in the model.
However during the trials so far, this strategy proves challenging from an operational and HSE point of view, and may not
yield optimum full field CSS performance. With help of the full field simulation model row steaming strategies are now
being investigated to optimize the initial CSS period in the A East field. The ability to devise an optimum plan for
transferring from the initial CSS period to a pattern flood is another advantage of the full field model.

New Operating Model for Lean Steam Well & Reservoir Management and Operations
Comprehensive well and reservoir surveillance and management plans are in place. The base case is reliant on simple proven
industry surveillance techniques and intervention technologies. Allowance is made for workovers and/or re-drilling if and when
problems occur. Critical to implementing the WRM plans is the development of the "Lean Steam WRM & Operations" Operating
Model, going live in 2012, incorporating lean workflows built around a collaborative work environment integrating WRM, Well
Services and Operations.

A diverse portfolio of potential thermal developments in PDOs Southern Oil Directorate supports PDOs overall EOR
strategy. The projects at different levels of maturity are planned sequentially through the decision-based South Thermal
Road Map, allowing for transfer of learnings and efficient use of resources from one development to the next. The A
Steam Project is spearheading the thermal portfolio.
The A heavy oil opportunity has been matured from Feasibility to Final Investment Decision in three years through
structured risk and opportunity management. Key enablers are fit-for-purpose application of the Opportunity Realisation
Process, an integrated team since the early project phases, and regular management and stakeholder engagements.
Front-end loading pre-FID, including early commitment to and execution of steam injection trials, have increased project
definition and reduced risk.
A campaign of demonstrator thermal wells has delivered the targeted reduction in well costs, with 1,200m deep thermal
wells being consistently delivered in 8.5 days per well and under US$ 1 mln.
SPE 129143 15

Facilities cost savings have been achieved through an integrated development of A West and East fields as well as
pragmatic replication of best practices available in the industry and learnings from earlier thermal projects in Oman.
Formal conversion of the steam trials in A West and East to early development facilities accompanied with the
appropriate operational procedures (e.g. sparing) has led to sustainable steam injection performance improvement and is
an ongoing opportunity for operational learnings ahead of start-up of the full field development.

The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of members of the Thermal Cluster, Study Centre and Project teams.
The authors would like to thank the management of Petroleum Development Oman and the Sultanate of Omans Ministry of Oil
and Gas (MOG) for their kind permission to publish the paper.

Al Azri, N. S., et al., SPE-129177-PP, Polymer Injection in a Heavy Oil Reservoir under Strong Bottom Water Drive, SPE/OGWA
Muscat, April 2010
Al Hinai, S. M., et al., SPE-129173-PP, Steam Flooding A Thick Heavy Oil Reservoir: Development of Numerical tools for
Reservoir Management, SPE/OGWA Muscat, April 2010
Leith, E. et al., Paper 2008-367, Thermal Developments in Petroleum Development Omans Southern Fields, WHOC Edmonton,
March 2008
Rocco, G., et al., SPE-129137-PP, Steam Development Areal Surveillance Programme in Petroleum Development Oman,
SPE/OGWA Muscat, April 2010
Strauss, J. P. et al., SPE 129157-PP, EOR Development Screening of a Heterogeneous Heavy Oil Field - Challenges and Solutions,
SPE/OGWA Muscat, April 2010