With the Oil & Gas market continuing to wallow in a downturn, it’s more important than ever for contractors looking for their next job to know about the most active and important global oil fields. In this blog we provide you with the key insights into the top 5 oil fields you need to know about.
There are thousands of oil fields across the globe- but there are only a handful that you really need to know about. The Burgan field in Kuwait is one. Discovered in 1938, the Burgan field is the world’s largest sandstone oil field, and the second largest after Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. The focus of intense fighting during the first Gulf War, it is estimated that the Burgan field produces half of Kuwait’s oil, with the peak of the field’s production capacity being reached in 2005.
Ghawar, Saudi Arabia
This is potentially the world’s most important oil field. Discovered in 1948 and put on stream in 1951, the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia is the largest conventional oil field in the world. In 2008 it was announced by Saudi Aramco that Ghawar field had produced 48% of its reserves. This was a major piece of news as it is claimed that approximately 60-65% of all Saudi oil produced between 1948 and 2000 came from Ghawar.
Safaniya, Saudi Arabia
In 1939, Dick Kerr, an Arabian American Oil Company geophysicist was examining a map of North East Saudi Arabia when he spotted what looked like a “possible high area offshore”. This “high area” turned out to be the largest offshore oil field in the world; the Safaniya field. Safaniya- which can be translated as “place where navigators meet”- covers an area of 975 sq km and has a current producing capability of more than 1.2 million barrels per day. Saudi Aramco is working hard to extend the life of this mature field due to its strategic importance to Saudi Arabia.
West Qurna, Iraq
One of Iraq’s largest oil fields, West Qurna was discovered in 1973 through the use of 2D seismic acquisition and exploration drilling by Soviet geologists. West Qurna includes two individual phases: Phase 1- a Shell and ExxonMobil joint venture, with the rights to develop Phase 2 initially in the hands of Statoil and Lukoil.
Known as a ‘super-giant’ oil field, Rumaila is one of Iraq’s most strategically important natural assets and is currently considered the third largest oil field in the world. At Rumaila the oil sits on average between 7,000 to 8,000 feet beneath the surface with around 17 billion recoverable barrels. Rumaila has a controversial history, as the dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over alleged slant-drilling in the field was one of the reasons for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Today the Rumaila field is owned by the Iraqi state and subcontracted to BP and CNPC.
The (foreseeable) future is still Oil & Gas
Energy industry commentators regularly devote multiple column inches to the emergence of renewables and fracking into the world’s energy markets. However, the fact remains that despite these new developments in the global energy mix, the world remains heavily reliant on conventional oil production from traditional fields.
Many of these fields may be in decline but with considerable production capacity still remaining, these fields are set to remain important locations for contractors within the Oil & Gas industry for years to come.
Click here to get the key insights into the top 5 oil fields you need to know about.