There were some significant challenges when Maersk Oil and Qatar Petroleum teamed up in 1992, including low permeability, thin, stacked reservoirs and keeping costs under control over a vast offshore area.
Maersk Oil had dealt with similar conditions in the Danish North Sea in the 1980s, and the key was drilling horizontally through reservoirs rather than down into them to maximise oil contact and also limit the number of installations required.
Water injection has significantly improved recovery, and Al Shaheen has one of the world’s largest offshore waterfloods. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies, such as the first phase of the largest offshore water-alternating-gas injection project in the world, are also being applied.
A number of field development plans followed to upgrade and install new infrastructure, and Al Shaheen has now produced close to 1.5 billion barrels of oil and contributes to more than a third of Qatar’s daily oil production. The field will remain as challenging in the future, if not more, and responsibly maximising recovery will rely on the expertise, experience and close working relationships built up over the last two decades.
“Here in Qatar we have faced some of our toughest challenges, and it has taken all of our specialist knowledge in oil production to optimise our operations across Al Shaheen,” said Maersk Oil CEO Jakob Thomasen.