Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) says it plans to ramp up crude production in the coming years to 680,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from the current level of just over 600,000 bpd. The company’s Managing Director, Raoul Restucci, said the new target is being enabled by the strident pace of activity levels being witnessed across its Block 6 licence, notwithstanding the constrained fiscal environment triggered by the international oil price slump in 2014.
“We see more and more opportunities going forward,” said Restucci. “A few years, we talked about an output of 550,000 bpd; Now we are ahead of 600,000 bpd; Soon, we are going to the Board to talk about (a ramp up to) 680,000 over the next 3-4 years,” the Managing Director told journalists on the sidelines of the opening of the World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition in Muscat on Monday.
The majority Omani government-owned national oil company accounts for the lion’s share of Oman’s total crude output averaging 975K bpd, as well as a substantial portion of natural gas production as well.
Activity levels have been considerably “stepped up” despite the downturn, said the Managing Director. A case in point is the number of well entries recorded by the company, which jumped from 13,000 three years to 28,000 this year.
Likewise, exploration is getting “better and better”, said Restucci. For example, seismic shot by the company last year soared to a world record of 21,000 shots a day. “Last month, we shot 45,000 shots per day — which is an exponential growth — and it’s helping us better understand the subsurface opportunities.”
Significantly, PDO is also making headway in its planned evolution into a full-fledged energy company, said Restucci. This includes a plan to offer its expertise internationally in areas that it excels, notably Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), well facilities management, produced water management and so on. Discussions are under way in this regard with some players in the Gulf region, he said.
“We have so much expertise in a number of areas,” said the Managing Director. “We proposed to the board to get into ‘PDO International’, which he noted, has the potential to become a “world-class company”. Besides, PDO is also increasingly shifting into renewable energy resources, he added.
Advancing technology, according to the official, is also enabling PDO to significantly scale up its EOR business. The next phase of Rabab Harweel — a $2 billion mega development targeting 250 million barrels of hydrocarbons — is due to come on stream in the first half of 2019. “The project is progressing really well, well below cost and ahead of target,” said Restucci.
While EOR is going well, PDO is also finding a lot of incremental opportunities across other hydrocarbons — light oil, medium conventional oil in established places, and so on, said Restucci, noting in particular early suggestions of a prolific find in central Oman.
“We’ve got some great seismic from the centre of Oman, which suggests it could be prolific — it’s early days still, but could be exciting. There will be a lot of exploration in the next five years in a number of formations in that area, which has been largely undrilled. The seismic was very difficult in the past — lot of attenuating sands in the top layer, which just limit the imaging. But new technology has allowed us to image much better.”