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Oman - John Malcolm.

Having joined Shell in 1986, Malcolm has been managing director of PDO since November 2002, when he moved from Syria. As in Syria, he came to a country where oil production was falling steadily and fast. His job was to reverse the fall. As such, he has overseen three main EOR types: thermal, chemical (mainly polymer injection) and miscible gas. His first job at PDO years earlier was head of instrumentation and process control. He was later promoted to head of central engineering. He stayed at PDO for two years before going on to work for Shell in the UK, the Netherlands, the Far East, Australasia and Syria.

At the annual PDO media briefing held on Feb. 15 at the Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre, Malcolm said his company was targeting crude output of 540,000-560,000 b/d in 2010, unchanged from last year. This excludes condensate, of which PDO produces about 60,000 b/d.

Malcolm said the share of PDO's liquids produced by EOR will rise to 36% in 2018 from 3% in 2008. The share for secondary production, including water injection, will fall to 25% from 41% in the same period, while primary output will fall to 39% from 56%. He said PDO was commissioning the Marmul polymer injection system, adding an extra 10,000 b/d of production capacity in the next five years. Miscible gas injection at the Harweel field will add 40,000 b/d of capacity from the fourth quarter. Steam injection at Qarn Alam will add another 40,000 b/d of capacity in the first quarter of 2011.

The top PDO executive said the newly-found al-Ghubar South was close to the existing al-Ghubar and Qarn Alam fields. In all, four exploration and appraisal wells were drilled in 2009. Further drilling and extension of al-Ghubar South is planned in 2010. In reply to a question, Malcolm said it would be difficult to tell how much oil would be extracted from this discovery. He noted that the oil found in the reservoir was both heavy and viscous and in late 2009, PDO successfully carried out a steam trial to prove that the oil could be recovered using existing EOR technologies. He said a development team was on the job to fast track development of this discovery. Again commenting on the Marmul system, Malcolm said: "This is an ambitious and novel project". It involved building a water treatment plant with a capacity of 80,000 CM/d and a polymer preparation and injection facilities with a capacity of 17,500 CM/d.

The Marmul field was found in 1956. Its main al-Khlata Fm has very heavy, viscous crude oil. Polymer flooding at the field will work by adding polymer to water in order to make it more viscous before it is injected into the reservoir. Increasing the viscosity of water leads to a more effective oil sweep, which increases both production and the ultimate recovery factor. The project will lead to a 10% increase in the oil recovery factor from the Fm. PDO also announced the successful commissioning of a potentially significant new gas field at Burhaan West in the north of the company's concession area.

Oman Oil Co. (OOC) was created in 1989 by John Deuss, a Dutch oil trader, as a sphere of influence for Qais al-Zawawi's deputy premiership for finance and economy. Deuss registered it in Bermuda, where the Dutch trader's company Transworld Oil was based, and opened an OOC technical office in Houston. OOC was to invest in upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum ventures in various countries.

Deuss suffered a big blow when his patron, Qais al-Zawawi, died in a car crash in September 1995. The car was being driven by Sultan Qaboos. Qais' elder brother and adviser to the Sultan, Dr. Umar al-Zawawi, was in the car but was not hurt. Nor was the Sultan hurt. In January 1996 Deuss resigned from OOC (see omt8OmanWhoFeb20-06).
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Feb 22, 2010
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