Burgan field

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For the plant known as Burgan, see Kunzea ericoides.
Burgan Field
Kuwait city 1996.jpg
Much of western and southern Kuwait is home to some of the largest oil fields in the world. The dark patch of land in southern Kuwait is where the Burgan oil field is located.
Burgan field is located in Kuwait
Burgan field
Location of Burgan Field in Kuwait
Country Kuwait
Region Middle East
Offshore/onshore Onshore
Coordinates 29°06′39″N 47°58′00″E / 29.11083°N 47.96667°E / 29.11083; 47.96667Coordinates: 29°06′39″N 47°58′00″E / 29.11083°N 47.96667°E / 29.11083; 47.96667
Operators Kuwait Oil Company
Field history
Discovery 1938
Start of production 1946
Peak of production 2005
Abandonment N/A
Current production of oil 1,200,000 barrels per day (~6.0×10^7 t/a)
Current production of gas 550×10^6 cu ft/d (16×10^6 m3/d)
Peak of production (oil) 2,410,000 barrels per day (~1.20×10^8 t/a)[1]
Estimated oil in place 44,000 million barrels (~6.0×10^9 t)
Producing formations Upper Cretaceous Wara
Pipelines in the Burgan oilfield

The onshore supergiant Burgan field is an oil field situated in the desert of southeastern Kuwait. Burgan field can also refer to the Greater Burgan—a group of three closely spaced fields, which includes Burgan field itself as well as the much smaller Magwa and Ahmadi fields. Greater Burgan is the world's largest sandstone oil field, and the second largest overall, after Ghawar.

Discovery and geology[edit]

A natural surface oil seep above the Burgan field was known to humankind since neolithic time, bituminous material from a reed boat discovered in As-Sabiyah/North Kuwait and dated 5000 BC have been traced back to this seep.(Connan et al, 2005) The subsurface reservoirs of the Burgan oil field were discovered in February, 1938. The US and UK-owned Kuwait Oil Company began commercial oil production at Burgan in 1946.[2]

The Greater Burgan, a wider area around Burgan, is the world largest sandstone (clastic) oil field with the total surface area of about 1000 km2. It includes three producing subfields: Burgan itself (500 km2), Magwa (180 km2) and Ahmadi (140 km2).[2][3] The Burgan field's structure is an anticlinal dome having an elliptical shape and transected by numerous radial faults.[1] Both Magwa and Ahmadi are located on smaller, subsidiary domes north of Burgan [4]

The oil is contained in the four main horizons of Cretaceous age: Wara (sandstone), Mauddud (limestone), Burgan Third Sand (3S) and Burgan Fourth Sand (4S). Burgan Third Sand is in turn subdivided into Third Sand Upper (3SU), Third Sand Middle (3SM) and Third Sand Lower (3SL). Historically the production has come mainly from the 3SM unit. By 1992 the second and third sand units had been swept by water.[1][2]

Oil reserves, production capacity and estimated lifetime[edit]

"The reserves and production data for Burgan are shrouded in a cloud of secrecy, uncertainty, and controversy." [4]

Burgan's total potential production of recoverable oil has been estimated as between 66 and 75 billion barrels, plus perhaps 70 trillion cubic ft. of natural gas.[4] Bloomberg estimated remaining reserves of 55 billion barrels as of 2005.[5] Cumulative production through 1996 was estimated by a consulting firm at around 28 billion barrels of oil.[1]

Burgan's production capacity stood at 1,700,000 barrels per day (270,000 m3/d) in 2005. It was the fourth most productive oilfield worldwide in 2013, per Oil Patch Asia.[6] This was lower than it had been in the past—it reached as high as 2,400,000 barrels per day (380,000 m3/d) in 1972.[1] The actual oil production from the field in 2005 was between 1,300,000 and 1,700,000 barrels per day. The International Energy Agency then predicted an output of 1,640,000 bbl/d (261,000 m3/d) in 2020 and 1,530,000 bbl/d (243,000 m3/d) in 2030. In 2005, the Kuwait Oil Co. estimated a remaining life of 30 to 40 years for Burgan, at a production rate of about 1.7 million barrels a day.[5][6]

In 2010 the Chief Executive of the Kuwait Oil Company said that Burgan produced half of Kuwait’s oil.[4]

The possibilities of deeper plays below the known Burgan oil & gas resource appear to be under-explored.[4]

1st Gulf War[edit]

In 1991, retreating Iraqi soldiers set Burgan Field on fire. Smoke plumes from the Greater Burgan oil field extended 50 kilometers in width on any given day, and 2.5 km thick. From satellite observations the plume appeared like a black snake in the desert that extended parallel to the Persian Gulf (EOS Project NASA Goddard Space Flight Center). The Red Adair Service and Marine Company extinguished 117 of the burning well fires, while the Canadian company Safety Boss set the pace with 180 wells extinguished. Declassified 1991 CIA documents claimed that despite the destruction there was no significant depletion of the oil reserves and drop in production capacity at Burgan field.[7] Three gathering stations were, however, too badly damaged to repair.

The 1st Marine Division destroyed 60 Iraqi tanks in a battle that took place near the Burgan oil field.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Burgan Field of Kuwait". Greg Croft Inc. undated, circa 1996. Retrieved 31 July 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Ma, Eddie; Sanwoolu, Ayodele; Abdy, Yaser; Al-Jadi, Menayer (2009). "Evaluation of Infill Drilling in the Third Sand Upper Reservoir, Greater Burgan Field, Kuwait". SPE/EAGE Reservoir Characterization and Simulation Conference, 19–21 October 2009, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/125330-MS. 
  3. ^ Carman, George J. (1996). "Structural elements of onshore Kuwait" (pdf). GeoArabia. 1 (2): 239–66. 
  4. ^ a b c d e The Great Burgan Field, Kuwait by Rasoul Sorkhabi, GeoExpro Volume 9, Issue 1, 2012
  5. ^ a b Cordahi, James and Critchlow, Andy (2005-11-12). "Kuwait's Burgan Oil Field, World's 2nd Largest, Is `Exhausted'". Bloomberg. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Top Ten Highest Producing Oil Fields". Oil Patch Asia. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Status of oil well fire control and reservoir pressures in kuwaiti oil fields". CITE CIA 925441. Central Intelligence Agency. October 2001. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Blitzkrieg in the Gulf: Armor of the 100 Hour war by Yves Debay

External links[edit]