YEREVAN, December 17. /ARKA/. Oman and the global oil giant BP said on Monday that they had agreed to jointly develop a major, technically challenging natural gas field in the country’s desert interior, The New York Times reported.
BP plans to use approaches relatively new to the Middle East, including horizontal wells and advanced hydraulic fracturing, to release gas that is tightly embedded in sandstone. Some of the wells at the field, called Khazzan, are likely to be as deep as 4,500 meters, or approximately 15,000 feet.
If successful, the BP project could be a precursor to other so-called unconventional natural gas extraction efforts in the Persian Gulf region and North Africa, which the energy industry thinks may have large undiscovered gas resources.
“This is the first real attempt to do something with unconventional gas in the region rather than talking about it,” said Paul Stevens, an analyst at Chatham House, a research organization based in London. He noted, though, that unconventional gas extraction was likely to be more expensive than conventional drilling, and so was unlikely to be deployed on a large scale unless producers received higher prices than those that prevail today.
BP estimates the cost of developing the Khazzan field at about $16 billion over 15 years. It said that about 300 wells would be drilled at the site, which is about 350 kilometers, or about 220 miles, from the Omani capital, Muscat. BP said it had already spent about $1.5 billion on the project, for drilling and viability tests, since the concession was awarded in 2007. –0--