New tech to provide new solutions: PDO

Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) Corporate New Technology Implementation (UCT) team is striving to overcome the challenges of aged and increasingly complex reservoirs as Oman’s production of oil crosses over 50 years. Technology implementation has become a key enabler in the Company’s journey of cost saving and unlocking production opportunities. PDO generates $4 for every $1 it spends on new technology implementation and this makes it a key enabler to fostering a more efficient and cost-effective organisation, commented Head of New Technology Implementation, Dawood al Qassabi (pictured).
The cost of production has also risen significantly, from $2-3 a barrel in the early days to as much as $22-25 a barrel in some fields today the oil that is being extracted today is not as easy to produce as it was, with the need to tackling deeper and more challenging reservoirs and extracting heavier oil.
One example of the many initiatives that the team is focusing on is the solution to the challenge of water which comes to the surface during oil production. On average, nine barrels of water are produced for every barrel of oil and so the disposal, treatment and back injection of this water are key challenges to manage and resolve. That means, along with the around 600,000 barrels that PDO produces as a daily average, between four to five million barrels of water are also produced.
“The specifications of this produced water vary in terms of salinity, oil content, heavy minerals and metals etc. The water produced from each field is unique. Most of the four to five million barrels of water a day are a burden to us, but we can generate value out of some of it,” explained Al Qassabi.
For example, when reservoirs age, their pressure drops and other techniques of production are used, one of which relies on water. So PDO treats the produced water and then injects it back into the reservoir to sweep the oil towards the production well and maintain pressure.
PDO has also garnered international attention for its award-winning, innovative Nimr Reed Beds project. Here, about 1.5 million barrels of produced water are filtered through a man-made wetland each day. This is a low-power, environmentally friendly concept that uses reeds to decontaminate the water from the oil naturally. The water treated in this project ends up containing only a minute content of oil which means it can be used for different activities such as bio saline agriculture, and brick making.