Aramco may use palm fiber to bolster oil wells

Updated 02 October 2015
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Aramco may use palm fiber to bolster oil wells

DHAHRAN: Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) is testing fiber made from palm trees to reinforce oil wells during drilling, which could potentially be cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
When a well is being drilled, fluid is used to lift rock debris to the surface. Permeable rock formations will frequently experience high mud losses while drilling, which cause instability and the loss of expensive drilling mud, the company said on its website.
To prevent this, loss circulation materials (LCM) are typically added to drilling fluids to seal and plug these “thief” zones and restore the full circulation of drilling mud. Researchers at EXPEC ARC discovered that date tree waste could be used for this purpose instead. The product has been named “ARC Plug.”
Experimental results indicate that date tree waste-based fibrous LCMs have similar or better performance than other conventional LCM products in sealing and blocking permeable and small fractured loss zones. This makes locally developed, organic, biodegradable and non-toxic LCMs similar to imported granular and fibrous LCM materials, the company said.
The palm tree LCMs demonstrated their potential in the laboratory in controlling seepage, moderate and severe loss of circulation. EXPEC ARC is now conducting the final stage of testing on the new LCM product in field trials scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
Nasser Al-Naimi, deputy head for oil works in the northern area, said: “Drilling fluids play an important role by lifting the rocky waste to the surface as well as facilitating other drilling missions.”
To check out the economic and operational feasibility of the initiative, an Aramco team visited the Palms and Dates Research Center and a plant for manufacturing fibers in Al-Ahsa, Al-Naimi said.
According to the research center in Al-Ahsa, there are approximately 120,000 to 135,000 tons of date kernels available every year from various sources such as biscuit factories and date-processing plants.
Mohammed Amanullah, EXPEC petroleum engineering consultant and projects manager, said: “There are large quantities of palm waste available regularly in the Kingdom which are used for raw materials in many products. More than 500,000 tons of fibrous materials used to reduce the loss of drilling fluids can be produced by pruning palm damaged and fruitless waste.”
Ali Abdullah Al-Mashari, EXPEC director, said: “The manufacturing of substances responsible for reducing the loss of drilling fluids locally is expected to reduce the cost of importing these materials from abroad significantly, as well as add a new economic stream through recycling palm waste and developing national industries.”


Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

Updated 19 April 2019
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Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

JEDDAH: Saudi border guards rescued a French female tourist on Friday after she broke her leg on board a cruise ship in the Red Sea.
The 85-year-old was aboard the Costa Luminosa off the coast of south-west Saudi Arabia when the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Jeddah received an emergency call from the King Abdulaziz International Airport’s search and rescue center, saying the women needed emergency medical attention.The details of the message was passed to the Saudi Arabia Border Guards.
The border guard’s vessel Al-Lith was sent to meet the cruise ship near Al-Qahma, in the Kingdom’s south-western Asir region.
Lt Col. Misfer Bin Ghanam Al-Qarni, border guards spokesman, said the patient was transferred to Jazan, where she was then taken to Prince Mohammed Bin Nasser Hospital by ambulance.
The Costa Luminosa, which was traveling from Salalah in Oman toward Aqaba in Jordan, continued on its voyage.