[SAUDI ARABIA] Asian workers rush to get Saudi oil oasis ready

Deep in the Saudi desert, 28,000 Asian workers are racing to get a giant oil processing complex ready to help King Abdullah keep a vow to meet world demand for crude.

In a year's time, the Al Khurais field will be supplying 1.2 million barrels a day of Arab light crude to thirsty global markets, under a tight schedule set by Saudi Aramco. The king, and other top Saudi officials, promised at an oil summit they hosted in Jeddah on Sunday to increase current production by 200,000 barrels a day to 9.7 million barrels and to supply any further increase in global demand.

In temperatures that seldom fall under 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and other nations wear hoods against the sun as they finish the hundreds of kilometres of pipelines, three 600,000 barrel storage tanks, 15,000 horsepower pumps and a bomb proof control centre that make up the $10 billion complex.

Al Khurais is city-sized but can only be reached up a seemingly endless desert road, with truck tyres and carcases of burned out cars strewn along the sides and black camels roaming in the dunes.

The company calls it "the largest industrial project in the world." Together the three fields have estimated reserves of 27bn barrels and their joint daily production of 1.2m barrels will be more than OPEC's three smallest members Indonesia, Qatar and Ecuador, according to Aramco.

World demand is growing by about 1pc a year and Saudi Arabia has vowed to invest tens of billions of dollars to take production capacity to 12.5m barrels by the end of next year and eventually 15m if the demand is there.

Aramco vice-president for production Amin Al Nasser said 500,000 barrels a day will start coming out of its Khursaniyah field in August, and by the end of the year 250,000 barrels will be coming from the Shaybah field and 100,000 barrels a day from the Nuayyim field.

The Saudi firm has embarked on a huge operation to find new fields to add to its estimated 260 billion barrels of crude oil reserves.

Aramco research chief Muhammad Saggaf said that over the next 20 years the company's overall resource base could grow to 900bn barrels from the current level of 735m.

Source: Gulf Daily News

No comments: