Lower Faras Heavy Oil Project in Ratqa, North Kuwait of Kuwait Oil Company is one of the Major Projects in the upstream business in the Middle East. Heavy oil production from a large field is a significant challenge and involve process, which are not common for normally well-developed onshore upstream production operations personnel. There shall be a Limited/No Flow from a heavy oil well as the viscosity is high and to ensure extraction of hydrocarbon in a most possible efficient manner, thermal operations (including the steam injection) is the best option available. This additional process and associated equipment, their associated hazards are not available in the conventional oil & gas production.
Though the option of having a horizontal well with no additional steam/heat given to the reservoir, the flow from such wells can recover hydrocarbons, however it is not feasible for a commercial production. As a result, for commercial production, the reservoir is injected with steam (either cyclic or flooding) to recover the hydrocarbons in the most economical method. The steam injection method comes with a few challenges and the crux of success in Heavy oil production is to manage these hazards.
There have been several accidents that occurred worldwide in heavy oil production and related experimental activities. The root cause of accidents is generally the lack of awareness during the operation and maintenance activeness of the workforce personnel. Different incidents from world over, from the hazard identification and the operability studies undertaken during the project, suggest the various challenges that are underlying in the heavy oil operations. The challenges had been addressed systematically and design enhancement to enhance the robustness of the systems were considered whilst developing the project.