Muscat: Petroleum companies in Oman emphasised on the need for collaborations and sharing technologies to able to extract heavy oil efficiently.
Heavy oil refers to a highly viscous variety of crude oil that does not flow easily into production wells under ordinary conditions. Extraction of such oil is therefore more difficult.
Amran Mahrubi, technical director, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), said that the company’s dynamic style of functioning helped it deal with challenges of heavy oil extraction.
“PDO lives and dies by technology. And when we don’t have the answers, we don’t pretend to have them. That is one of the reasons Glasspoint happened.
“We also have projects with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). We hope that research propels us even further. Even with Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors, you have to realise that they are not your contractors, but partners. Companies will realise that they don’t get anything done without them,” Mahrubi said.
Marwan Chaar, Vice President – Project Development, GlassPoint Solar said that the biggest advantage of their solar technology is that it does not produce any emissions.
“We produce the steam necessary for the extraction of heavy oil with zero emissions. Heavy oil is like honey, you see. It’s very viscous. It requires this extra effort to heat it to be able to extract it,” Chaar added.
Giacomo Riaspoli, executive vice president, portfolio management, supply and licensing department, Eni said that his work in the research and development (R&D) department in his native Italy taught him the importance of technology.
“My time in the R&D department exposed me to this technology where we could treat the heavy oil after extraction to turn it into a lighter version. This would limit the petcock production, which negatively contributes to climate change. We should help each other by sharing such technologies,” Riaspoli added.
Niaz Mustafa, senior vice president (commerce), Heurtey Petroleum (Axens) said that Oman was one of the countries that put in efforts to extract heavy oil.
“We see heavy oil extraction, here in Oman. We also see it in places like Alberta, Canada. The biggest challenge with it is to find technologies to lessen the costs of extraction,” he added.
Dr. Bakheel Al Katheeri, CEO, Mubadala Petroleum echoed the same views.
“The name of our company, Mubadala is Arabic for exchange. So, we are great believers in exchange of ideas and collaboration,” he added.
‘Deserving of special attention’
“Heavy oil is a conventional resource that deserves special attention. We always try to apply the most advanced techniques to increase the amounts of recovery of heavy oil and to do it in the most efficient way possible. Digitalisation can help further improve our industry to become more efficient, lower our unit operating costs, and enhance our safety standards,” Luca Bertelli, Chief Exploration Officer of Eni said.