Megaproject to Boost Crude Oil Capacity

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Stephen L. Brundage, Arab News

Published — Friday 23 September 2005

Last Update 23 September 2005 3:00 am

MILAN, Italy, 23 September 2005 — Against a backdrop of global concerns about tight energy supplies, a Saudi Arabian megaproject designed to bring another half-million barrels of high-grade crude oil to bolster the world market by 2007 was the focus of a project update in Milan yesterday.

Executive management of Saudi Aramco met with project teams for the Khursaniyah Complex, which will produce daily 500,000 barrels of Arab Light blend and one million cubic feet of sour gas. Capitalizing on experience from other recent projects, Ali Al-Ajmi, vice president of project management, announced that the processing complex will be completed in an unprecedented time of 34 months from inception — more than a year faster than the last facility constructed by the company on this scale.

Saudi Aramco engineers are working in Rome, London, Milan and other cities around the world hand in hand with leading engineering firms participating in company megaprojects currently under way. Working on the Khursaniyah project are Snamprogetti, which is handling the producing component of the complex, and Bechtel/Technip, which is working on the project’s gas plant.

Known throughout the oil industry for its stringent building codes, Saudi Aramco is not cutting corners to bring the new increments onstream. Essentially, the teams of company personnel and partnering contractors that worked on the Haradh and Qatif projects have been kept together, enabling the engineers and project managers to fine tune the process of constructing Khursaniyah. The teams also have developed a variety of strategies to address a number of challenges, from Saudization goals to procurement issues in an extremely competitive environment.

Slated for completion in the last quarter of 2007, operators already are beginning to train for the integrated facility, which incorporates oil and gas activities into a central control structure with shared utilities.

“We are all working inside the same fence,” said Younis Al-Aiderous, Saudi Aramco’s vice president of Northern Area Oil Operations, noting that people working in gas and oil organizations at Khursaniyah would be integrated into a one-team approach that will optimize all operations and create greater cost savings.

The Saudi industrial sector also has rallied for the megaproject, providing more than $340 million — 42 percent — of the needed materials. One Saudi company actually is building a plant onsite to eliminate production lags in the fast-paced project.

Saudi Aramco President and CEO Abdallah S. Jum’ah praised the team for its rapid progress and for working as true partners with contractors and suppliers. Jum’ah underscored the importance of providing new increments of oil to help expand the global energy supply infrastructure.

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