Energy major BP has raised its estimates of the gas reserves potential of its Block 61 concession in central Oman to a staggering 100 trillion cubic feet (TCF).

This figure represents a three-fold jump over the company’s previous estimate of 30 TCF, making the concession – which holds the prodigious Khazzan-Makarem gasfields – potentially one of the richest gas blocks in the Sultanate. Furthermore, if proven to be commercially exploitable, Block 61 could yield massive volumes of natural gas that will fuel Oman’s industrial and economic development well into the future.

Confirming the revised estimates of the block’s gas reserves potential, Daniel Blanchard, BP Oman’s new General Manager, said: “The block potentially has 100 TCF based on our studies.”

He attributed the jump from the previous estimate of 30 TCF to a “better understanding of the block, better understanding of the deep reservoirs, and continuing interpretation of the seismic data that we have”.

Speaking to the Observer, Blanchard said BP Exploration (Epsilon) Ltd — Oman Branch, continued to make excellent headway in appraising the potential of the Khazzan gasfield — currently the focus of the international oil major’s efforts.

“The Khazzan project is progressing very well. We are going through a series of internal reviews on the project development, and also in parallel, having conversations with the government around the commercial negotiations as well. On both fronts, we are making great progress, and this is very positive for the company, and a very positive project for the Sultanate of Oman.”

BP is investing hundreds of millions of dollars during the current exploration and appraisal stage in targeting gas trapped in tight rock at depths ranging from 4,500 to 5,000 metres.

Appraisal gas currently being produced by BP as part of its Early Well Testing (EWT) programme is pumped into the government gas grid.

“The EWT is strictly there to test different parts of the reservoir, so it’s not a production focused operation. Maximum production out of four wells that we’ve been producing is 20-30 million standard cubic feet per day. Production is not our target right now. Our target is testing the various wells and getting a deeper understanding of the reservoir and reservoir quality,” Blanchard said.

Also continuing apace are field appraisals with BP having recently completed its first characteristic production well, with a second production well planned in the near-term, he said.

“The first horizontal production well that we’ve drilled was intentionally chosen in one of the most difficult locations in the reservoir and we have shown that we can place that well in that location.

We haven’t tested the well yet, that’s still to come, but we will be moving on to a second well which is more representative of a long-term production well.”

According to the General Manager, a joint decision by the government and BP on whether or not to develop the Khazzan field’s gas potential is expected before the end of this year. “We’re in continual communication with the government and we hope to reach some kind of agreement this year. It’s good for both of us, and we think we can make that arrangement,” Blanchard added.

BP is currently working on a Field Development Plan for the Khazzan field which, if given the green light, will deliver around 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day from 2016. Capital investments are envisaged in the range of $15-20 billion over a 15-year time frame, primarily towards the drilling of hundreds of production wells and development of surface facilities.

Source: Oman Observer