During 1978 a large 4.2 million barrels (0.7 million cubic meters) per day water injection pressure maintenance project in the Ghawar Field in pressure maintenance project in the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia was successfully converted from the use of subsurface saline water to the use of treated seawater for injection. New facility design and construction involved equipment selection and installation in a magnitude never before encountered in seawater treatment operations. The known processes of seawater treatment including processes of seawater treatment including filtration, deaeration, and scale stabilization were implemented in this case with improved concepts of high volume filtration, different approaches of inert stripping gas generation, and self-sufficiency for almost all chemical treatment. The planning, manning, organization, and start-up planning, manning, organization, and start-up management to bring this new facility on-stream within constraints of time, budget, and water quality are discussed. The ability to smoothly convert water supplies without loss of injection volumes or prolonged shutdowns evolved from early problem analysis sessions which anticipated problem analysis sessions which anticipated problems, identified causes, and took preventive problems, identified causes, and took preventive action to remove obstruction in advance. Pilot plant operation during construction finalized plant operation during construction finalized filter media design, pinpointed chemicals, trained operators, and served as a focal point on location to build spirit of teamwork among groups related to Operations, Maintenance, Engineering, and Project Management.
Test operation of full scale facilities was undertaken at the earliest moment with support and concurrence of the Construction agency to confirm design and installation. Late delivery of critical control panels required extensive field engineering and equipment modification to hold to start-up schedule. Results show that early indepth participation by the ultimate operating proponent and support groups insures knowledge, proponent and support groups insures knowledge, understanding, and competency in operating facilities critical to support of large volume oil withdrawals.
Oil withdrawals from the North 'Uthmaniyah portion of the Ghawar Field require pressure portion of the Ghawar Field require pressure maintenance by water injection. Peripheral injection along both flanks of this large oilfield was begun in 1966 using gravity injection wells. In 1973, a program was initiated to convert gravity injection wells to power injection. New surface facilities were designed and constructed incorporating a central saline aquifer water gathering station called 'Uthmaniyah Water Supply Station (UWSS) boosting aquifer water to any of five water injection station identified as 'Uthmaniyah Water Injection Pump Stations (UWIPS). Twelve Combustion Gas Turbines (CGT) were used as prime movers in these stations direct driving booster and shipper pumps to provide high pressure water along flanks of oilfield for peripheral injection below the oil-water contact. Figure I shows area of interest and original power injection arrangement.
The decision to replace aquifer water was made in 1974 when it became apparent that the design goal of 4.2 million barrels (0.7 million cubic meters) per calendar day could not be supplied from saline aquifer water supply in this area. Treated seawater was selected as the replacement supply.
This paper presents a case history of the organization, planning, manning, and start-up management to bring this new facility on-stream.
The treated seawater system is shown schematically in Figure 2 taken from a previous publications. Completely new facilities were required publications. Completely new facilities were required from the Qurayyah offshore intake and treating plant to the suction side of UWSS. Until 1974 plant to the suction side of UWSS. Until 1974 the Qurayyah site existed as unimproved, sandy beach without habitation, reasonable access, or other improvements. A new 45 Km paved highway was built from Abqaiq headquarters to the selected Qurayyah plant site. Site preparation commenced in January, 1976.