PETRONAS Carigali Iraq BV (PCIHBV) is the Operator for an onshore oil field which is located in a 30 km x 10 km Contract Area at the southern part of the Republic of Iraq. One of the key activities undertaken by PCIHBV during the development and production campaign is well intervention which involves acid stimulation, well clean up and unloading of newly drilled wells. The conventional practice in Iraq for acid stimulation and well clean-up operation for carbonate reservoir is to burn the recovered hydrocarbon at dedicated flare pit area. This is normally followed by Multi Rate Test (MRT), which takes up to 10 hours of continuous flaring operation for each perforated zone.
Some of the critical challenges posed by the above approach include managing and ensuring safe operation for personnel working in this rig-less operation. The flaring activity would release unburned oil, gas fumes, noise, heat and black smoke to the environment. Moreover, there had always been interruptions from the nearby communities who were affected by the release of fumes and smokes from the flaring activi ty which had adversely impacted their health and the surroundings. This situation had regrettably resulted in hostile protests by the affected villagers which could be a threat PCIHBV operations. A technical assessment was conducted to devise a safer, secure and environmentally friendly approach to replace the conventional flaring method. At the same time, PCIHBV also envisioned to minimize the duration required from flaring activities.
A new approach called "Zero Flaring" was introduced. The concept of Zero Flaring is meant to treat and neutralize the recovered crude during well clean up and divert the flow towards oil processing facilities. This will then rule out the need to burn the recovered crude in the flare pit. To implement the ‘Zero Flaring" only a minimal site modifications were required with few additional equipment such as chemical injection skid, tanks, sampling points and associated connection. This method has totally eliminated the need for flaring while safeguarding the asset integrity of the processing facilities. This innovative approach has been acknowledged by the Host Authority as it has resolved the flaring issues with minimal expenditures required. As of March 2019, PCIHBV has conducted new wells unloading using "Zero Flaring" method in more than 10 wells. PCIHBV is committed to further improve the ‘Zero Flaring’ method to reap its benefits.
This new method has showcased PCIHBV's commitment, values and capabilities as a prudent Operator to safely and timely deliver the production targets without neglecting the social wellbeing of the surrounding communities, the protection of the environment and the integrity of the asset. Above all, it has strengthened PCIHBV's presence in this region and further enhanced our reputation as an International Oil Company (IOC) of choice.