This reference is for an abstract only. A full paper was not submitted for this conference.


Pre-Cambrian carbonate reservoirs occur at depths between 3–6 km in the subsurface of South Oman. These reservoirs are typically over-pressured, encased in and sealed effectively by thick Ara evaporites and contain sour oil. They have been a focus for exploration since the late 1950s. The discovery in 1976 of commercial oil in these "stringers" opened up the Ara play and PDO has since then been actively exploring for these deep oil reservoirs in the South Oman Salt Basin.

Compared to the more conventional reservoirs in Oman, the Ara stringers are complex and pose challenges both in the sub-surface and to surface facilities design, which typically results in a long lag time between discovery and well hook-up. Following the discovery of the Budour NE field in 2005, we challenged to dramatically reduce the time to develop these reservoirs. Thirty five years on, with surface facilities in place and with several producing fields nearby, it was possible to accelerate the appraisal of the discovery and achieve early oil production.

This was achieved through the formation of an integrated exploration and development team that could capitalise on existing infrastructure and local expertise, and was able to deal effectively with appraisal uncertainties. The team worked on the definition, quantification and planning of the field development. This resulted in additional volumes, an acceleration of appraisal drilling, and the early hook-up of the discovery for extended flow testing in 2007, i.e. 18 months after discovery. The latter is a record within PDO for a deep oil discovery. This hydrocarbon maturation exercise will deliver fast reserves, early initial production and an accelerated full field development.

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