Additional oil supplies found in Ghawar


Saudi Arabia is hoping to extract more crude from the world's largest oilfield using new technology, the country's biggest oil producing company has said.

Saudi Aramco says its researchers have discovered an extensive micro-pore system of hidden passages in carbonate rock in the Ghawar oilfield, a field in the east of the country that pumps more than double the combined output of the UAE and Kuwait.

Ghawar currently pumps more than 60 per cent of Saudi Arabia's crude production, six per cent of the world's oil supplies and more than 15 per cent of Opec's output. It pumps nearly five million bpd of light crude and around 2.5 bn cubic feet of natural gas every day. And now that world-beating amount could be set to increase.

"In mid-2007, the Ghawar Integrated Assessment and New Technology (GIANT) team, an interdepartmental group working on a long-term, visionary endeavor to better understand and characterize the oil field, came across an interesting finding while looking at ways to maximize the reservoir's oil recovery percentage," said a Saudi Aramco study.

"The researchers found an extensive micro-pore system of hidden passages in carbonate rock, where a significant percentage of unrecovered oil resides." According to the study, the GIANT team is now analysing the field's newfound potential and is working on ways to tap into the additional oil supplies below.

Located about 200 kilometres east of Riyadh, Ghawar was not included in Saudi Aramco's latest development programme for other key oilfields within its ongoing plans to expand its oil output capacity by 1.3 million bpd to 12.5 million bpd at the start of 2010.

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