Oil production

Our investments in upstream, from exploration to production and processing, are designed to maintain our supply flexibility and world leading production capacity, enabling our role in stabilizing oil supplies in the future.

Since Dammam Well No. 7 began producing commercial quantities of crude oil in 1938, we have built an unparalleled reputation for being a reliable supplier of crude oil to energy markets around the world. Today, the production of this essential energy resource remains at the core of our business.

Investing to meet demand

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2017 New Policies Scenario estimates that global energy needs will expand by 30% between today and 2040. With petroleum energy resources expected to form a key component of the world’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, we continue to invest in our capability to meet current and projected future demand. 

Five grades of Arabian crude oil

The wide range of blends that can be produced using these grades are compatible with most refineries around the world. This compatibility, combined with our flexible crude oil production capacity, enables us to quickly respond to increases in market demand for crude oil in general and to fluctuations in demand for specific grades.

In 2017, we produced an average of 10.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil. Our production strategy is guided by four interlinked considerations:

  • The crude oil grades available
  • The long-run value of different crude oil slates
  • Our ability to sell the crude oil grades in strategic markets
  • The near-term requirements based on a long-term assessment of future performance

To execute our production strategy, we focus on completing technical assessments for producing fields and exploiting potential synergies through the integration of subsurface computational models with surface facility networks. And because our principal oil fields are linked with our extensive network of integrated facilities, we have the flexibility to send crude oil to multiple plants for processing, stabilization, and shipping.

Given the scale of our reserves, even small percentage increases in recovery rates and production efficiency can significantly boost long-term supply. In 2017, we pursued a host of initiatives to maximize oil recovery, including advanced well completion technologies, artificial lift optimization, and debottlenecking of production systems.

We continued efforts to develop secondary reservoirs, such as Ain Dar and Lower Fadhili, and to optimize surface facilities. For example, we upgraded offshore platforms, installed new tie-in platforms, and replaced key trunk lines in our Safaniyah field. We also stayed on course to increase the plant capacity of our Khurais facility by 300,000 bpd in 2018.

We completed a major project to de-mothball one of the gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs) at our offshore Zuluf field. Production from GOSP-3 was suspended in 1995. During a six-month program, we inspected, repaired, and installed new equipment and utilities to bring GOSP-3 safely back online to sustain the field production capacity at 800,000 bpd of crude oil.