This month Egypt Oil and Gas had the pleasure of visiting Sipetrol International’s record-breaking East Ras Qattara (ERQ) concession.  Egypt Oil and Gas met with Sipetrol’s Eng. Sayed Rezk, General Manager of PetroShahd (Sipetrol’s joint venture) to discuss the history and recent successes of the concession. Egypt Oil and Gas also met with Sipetrol’s Mohamed Ismael, Senior Reservoir Engineer and Gamal Shanhory, Field Manager, in order to discuss the developmental aspects of the East Ras Qattara concession. 

ENAP Sipetrol is a subsidiary of the Chilean governmental company ENAP.  ENAP is a multinational entity actively engaged in a variety of upstream and downstream activities in countries such as Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and Egypt.  In Egypt, Sipetrol currently operates in the Western Desert with the East Ras Qattara concession (with 50.5% participation). The ERQ block contains nine producing fields in total:  the Shahd, Ghard, Rana, Shahd SE, Al Zahra, Diaa, Rana SE, Shebl and Shebl East. 

The East Ras Qattara concession is 5,916 square kilometers, located in the northern part of the Western Desert. The concession encompasses three main geological provinces, including the Zebeida High in the north, the East Tiba Half Graben in the center and finally the Kattaniya Inversion in the southern part of the block. The far Northwestern corner of the block covers the eastern extension of the Alam El Bueib Basin.

The main productive zones in Sipetrol’s ERQ concession oil fields are the Upper Bahariya, Lower-Bahariya, and Kharita.  There are twenty producing wells in the ERQ concession area.  The Shahd SE field contains eight wells; Zahra and Rana fields contain three wells each.  The Shahd, Ghard, Rana SE, Diaa, Shebl, and Shebl East fields each contain one well.

In 2004 Sipetrol acquired the ERQ block. The area contained 15 dry holes previously drilled by a variety of international oil companies.  It was initially thought that the ERQ area was outside the hydrocarbon fairway due to the absence of the mature source basin. However, geological studies concluded that the complexity of the existing structure was to blame for previous failures. In late 2005 Sipetrol conducted its first 1500 km2 3D seismic program. Shortly thereafter, Sipetrol commenced exploration and drilling on three successive oil fields that achieved a 100% success ratio.

Mohamed Ismail, Senior Reservoir Engineer at Sipetrol stated that the record-breaking production in the ERQ, estimated at 21,000 bpd, was achieved by stringent execution of field development plans and reservoir management.  He added that Sipetrol manages its reservoirs by adhering to optimal production schemes in all its producing wells. 

In 2007, early production commenced with the Shad, Ghard and Rana wells, producing around 1,000 barrels per day. In 2008, permanent facilities were constructed in the Shahd and Garb fields and production grew to an average of 2,925 bpd and total production reached 667.7 MBBL. However, Sipetrol faced a dilemma when it came to shipping what they were producing. Western Desert concessions are not like other concessions in Egypt where pipelines and shipping lanes are readily available, instead oil must be trucked far distances or agreements have to be made between companies to share pipelines. Initially, Sipetrol had agreements with Apache and Qarun Company to ship oil through their facilities, but as production levels increased agreements had to be changed. Currently, Sipetrol transfers, treats, processes, and ships its oil to three different destinations.   The first is PetroShahd (Sipetrol’s joint venture partner) Receiving Station at Qarun.  The second is El-Tebbein storage facilities.  The third is Asyut Refining Company. In the future, Sipetrol plans to share a train with Qarun Petroleum Company by 10,000 STB.

Sipetrol has witnessed immense production growth in the last six years in an area where many tried to find oil with little success.  In 2008, production was at 2,925 bpd and total production reached 667.7 MBBL. Today daily production exceeds 21,000 bpd and total production has reached 15MMBBL. The use of a comprehensive drilling and reservoir management techniques at the ERQ concession have led to a recovery factor estimated at over 60%, an achievement Sipetrol is proud of.

In April, Sipetrol’s ERQ concession boasted record production exceeding 17,000 bpd from its development well Shahd-3, with an added production rate of 4,300 bpd. This concession produced another record amount in June exceeding 21,000 bpd from the development well Shahd-SE-6, with an added production rate of 4,800 bpd.

Sipetrol believes the overwhelming success of the ERQ concession is a testament to its core principles of efficiency as well as a commitment to long-term growth and development in Egypt. Sipetrol is a leader in exploration and development here in Egypt and is looking forward to what the future may bring in the unprecedented record breaking East Ras Qattara concession.

By Tatianna Duran