Rumaila oil field

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Rumaila oil field is located in Iraq
Rumaila oil field
Location of Rumaila
LocationBasra, Iraq
Coordinates30°09′22″N 47°24′28″E / 30.156112°N 47.407722°E / 30.156112; 47.407722Coordinates: 30°09′22″N 47°24′28″E / 30.156112°N 47.407722°E / 30.156112; 47.407722
OperatorRumaila Operating Organization
OwnerIraq National Oil Company
PartnersBP (47.6%),
CNPC (46.4%),
State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) (6%)
Field history
Current production of oil1,500,000 barrels per day (~7.5×10^7 t/a)
Year of current production of oil2019
Estimated oil in place17,000 million barrels (~2.3×10^9 t)
Producing formationsMain Pay, Mishrif, Upper Shale, Bn Umer, 4th Pay

The Rumaila oil field is a super-giant oil field[1] located in southern Iraq, approximately 20 mi (32 km) from the Kuwaiti border.[2] Discovered in 1953 by the Basrah Petroleum Company (BPC), an associate company of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC),[3][4][5] the field is estimated to contain 17 billion barrels, which accounts for 12% of Iraq's oil reserves estimated at 143.1 billion barrels.[6][7][8] Rumaila is said to be the largest oilfield ever discovered in Iraq[9] and is considered the third largest oil field in the world.[10]

Under Abd al-Karim Qasim, the oilfield was confiscated by the Iraqi government by Public Law No. 80 of 11 December 1961.[11] Since then, this massive oil field has remained under Iraqi control. The assets and rights of IPC were nationalised by Saddam Hussein in 1972, and those of BPC in 1975.[12] The dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over alleged slant-drilling in the field was one of reasons for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.[13][14]

The oil field requires regular investment to manage its reservoir. To maintain steady output, 200,000 barrels a day of lost production has to be replaced every year.[15][clarification needed]

North Rumaila is called "the cemetery" by the locals. A local environmental scientist told the BBC that cancer here is so rife it is "like the flu".[16]


The field is owned by Iraq and subcontracted to BP and CNPC under Iraq Producing Field Technical Service Contract (PFTSC).[2][17] BP is an operator of the project with 47.6% while CNPC and SOMO hold 46.4% and 6%, respectively.[18] BP and CNPC will recover a renumerated fee of $2 per barrel in profits which will account to 15 to 20% rate of return on investment. Iraqi government and BP agreed to cut the initial bidding price per barrel from $3.99 to $2.00 in June 2009.[citation needed] The US changed its status of forces agreement the same month, starting to depart from Iraq. ExxonMobil which also bid on servicing this field at a price $4.80 walked away due to price cutting terms by the Iraqi Government leaving BP and CNPC as winners of the contract.[19][20][21] BP expects the costs will begin to be recovered after the production will be raised by 10% from the current output. The rehabilitation and expansion project will be managed by Rumaila Field Operating Organization (ROO) which will be staffed mainly from PETROFAC employees, a wide range of international oilfield service providers, and smaller number of experts from BP and CNPC.[18][22]

An estimated $15 billion will be spent on enhancing the operations at Rumaila over the next 20 years.[10][clarification needed]


As of December 2015, the field produces 1,351,000 barrels per day (214,800 m3/d) making up 40% of Iraq's oil production of 2.4 million barrels per day (380,000 m3/d).[23][24] Currently ~270 production wells are operating at Rumaila. BP and CNPC intend to raise the production to 2.1 million barrels per day (330,000 m3/d) within the next six years. Once this production milestone is reached, Rumaila will become the second largest oil field in the world after the Saudi Arabian Ghawar oil field.[10] However, it is likely that the target for peak production is cut down to between 1.8-2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), the Iraqi oil ministry and oil industry sources said.[25] The field produced 1,500,000 barrels per day (240,000 m3/d)in 2019.[26]

Production Facilities

Oil production is operated by Rumaila Operating Organisation, with 14 "degassing stations" currently installed - 7 in the North field and 7 in the South field. These stations provide 3-phase separation (oil, water & natural gas). Crude oil is sent by pipeline to local refineries or ports in Basrah for export. Natural gas is provided to the Basrah Gas Company. Water is disposed into disposal wells. Degassing station names:

  • North Rumaila: DS1, DS2, DS3, DS4, DS5, NIDS, SIDS
  • South Rumaila: Markezia (Rumaila), Janubia, Shamyah, Qurainat, Mishrif Shamyah, Mishrif Qurainat, Ratqa
Drilling contracts

In early 2010, BP subcontracted deals valued at around $500 million to Weatherford International, consortium of Schlumberger and Iraqi Drilling Co, and Daqing Oilfield Company Limited from China to drill 49 new wells at Rumaila. Weatherford is going to drill seven wells while partnership of Schlumberger and Iraqi Drilling Co, and Daqing Oil Field Co will drill 21 wells each.[27]

In February 2011, Conceptual Design, Front End Engineering Design (FEED), Minimum Work Obligations and Integrated Project Management Team (IPMT) services contract was awarded to WorleyParsons


Rumaila reportedly holds an estimated 17 billion barrels (2.7×109 m3) of oil; which accounts for 12% of Iraq's oil reserves, estimated at 143.1 billion barrels.[6][7][8] The oil sits approximately 2,400 m (7,900 ft) below the surface which is considered an easy target for production.[2] At current production rate of 1,330,000 barrels per day (211,000 m3/d), the reserves-to-production ratio is 35 years.


Rumaila oil field was critical in the 1990 Gulf War. Iraq, after accusing Kuwait of allegedly side-drilling under Iraqi soil, launched an attack on Kuwait on 2 August 1990.[13][14] In addition, Kuwait had been producing quantities of oil, which were above treaty limits established by OPEC.[28] In fact, before the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990, Kuwait has drilled only 8 vertical wells in its part of the Rumaila field and the production was limited due to different technical problems. The issue for Kuwait was territorial more than oil. Kuwait never drilled deviated wells that crossed the Iraqi borders. After the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the United Nation border demarcation committee went back to the historical data and shifted the Kuwaiti border toward the north which meant that Iraq was producing from Kuwaiti territory.

During the Iraq Invasion in 2003, the Iraqi Army laid an 18 km long defensive minefield across it, which contained an estimated 100,000 mines.[29] The Iraqi Army also set fire to parts of the oil field as a defensive maneuver.[30][31][32]

Camps in North Rumaila Oil Field[edit]

There are many oil field companies camps for their staff in North rumaila oil field.


Gas, a by-product from the oil-extraction, is burned openly, which produces cancer-linked pollutants. The Iraqi law prohibit gas-burning less than 10 km from people's homes, but BBC found in 2022 gas was being burned as close as 350 meters from people's homes. A leaked report from Ministry of Health (Iraq) blamed air pollution for 20% rise in cancer in Basra between 2015 and 2018.[16] The Iraqi Ministry of Health has banned its employees from speaking about the health damage.[16] Iraqi Environment Minister Jassem al-Falahi later admitted that "pollution from oil production is the main reason for increases in local cancer rates." None of the affected locals have gotten any compensation.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beydoun, Ziad (1988). The Middle East: Regional Geology and Petroleum Resources. Beaconsfield: Scientific Press Ltd. p. 179. ISBN 090136021X.
  2. ^ a b c Master Sgt. David Bennett (2010-06-12). "Delegation sees Iraq oil field up close". US Army. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  3. ^ Iraq Petroleum Handbook. London: IPC. 1948. p. 141.
  4. ^ Vassiliou, Marius (2009). Historical Dictionary of the Petroleum Industry. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 272. ISBN 9780810859937.
  5. ^ Nairn, Alsharan, A.E.M., A.S. (2003). Sedimentary Basins and Petroleum Geology of the Middle East (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 471. ISBN 0444824650.
  6. ^ a b "Iraq - Rumaila Oil Field (HVO IRQ-10)". Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Iraq increases oil reserves by 24%". BBC. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Iraq Lifts Oil Reserves Estimate to 143 Billion Barrels, Overtakes Iran". Bloomberg. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  9. ^ "IBBC MEMBERS PROFILE - BP". We Build Iraq. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Christopher Helman (2010-01-21). "The World's Biggest Oil Reserves. Chances are your energy needs are going to flow from one of these 10 fields in the future". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  11. ^ Wolfe-Hunnicut, Brandon Roy (2011). The End of the Concessionary Regime: Oil and American Power in Iraq, 1958-1972. Ph.D dissertation: Stanford University. p. 70.
  12. ^ Shwadran, Benjamin "Middle East Oil: Issues and Problems", Schenkman Publishing, 1977.
  13. ^ a b Thomas C. Hayes, CONFRONTATION IN THE GULF; The Oilfield Lying Below the Iraq-Kuwait Dispute, The New York Times, September 3, 1990
  14. ^ a b J. Murdico, Suzanne (15 December 2003). Page 13, The Gulf War : War and Conflict in the Middle East. The Rosen Publishing Group (2004). p. 68. ISBN 9780823945511.
  15. ^ Kent, Sarah; Williams, Selina (Sep 21, 2016). "Oil Companies Hunker Down in Iraq". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  16. ^ a b c BP in oil field where ‘cancer is rife’,By Jess Kelly, Owen Pinnell & Esme Stallard, 30 September, BBC
  17. ^ Michael C Daly (2010-02-16). "BP in Rumaila". Archived from the original on 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  18. ^ a b "BP and CNPC to Develop Iraq's Super-Giant Rumaila Field" (Press release). BP. 2009-11-03. Archived from the original on 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  19. ^ Stanley Reed (2010-06-30). "Iraq's Oil-Field Auction Falls Short". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  20. ^ "The $40 Billion Opportunity In Iraq". Business Insider. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  21. ^ DiPaola, Anthony; Gismatullin, Eduard (2009-07-28). "BP Says Return on Iraq's Rumaila to Compare With World Fields". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  22. ^ "BP, CNPC sign contract to develop Iraq's Rumaila field". RIA Novosti. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  23. ^ Ahmed Rasheed (2009-10-09). "Iraq signs deal with BP, CNPC for Rumaila field". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  24. ^ "Top Ten Highest Producing Oil Fields". Oil Patch Asia. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  25. ^ Reuters Middle East (December 13, 2012). "BP proposes cutting Iraq's Rumaila oilfield output target-sources". Reuters.
  26. ^ "Production at Iraq's Rumaila oilfield reaches 1.5 MLN BPD - BP". Reuters. 29 April 2019.
  27. ^ Hassan Hafidh (2010-03-30). "BP Awards 3 Drilling Deals for Iraq's Rumaila Field". Rigzone. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  28. ^ Thomas C. Hayes (September 3, 1990). "CONFRONTATION IN THE GULF; The Oilfield Lying Below the Iraq-Kuwait Dispute". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Chazan, Guy (December 16, 2012). "Iraq – back in the flow". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  30. ^[bare URL PDF]
  31. ^ " - UK: Iraq torches seven oil wells - Mar. 21, 2003".
  32. ^ "Kuwait Oil Company". May 19, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19.
  33. ^ Foundation, Thomson Reuters. "File photo of the Weatherford booth during the Basra International trade fair for oil and gas in Basra".
  34. ^ "Basra in southern Iraq has been transformed - thanks to oil". the Guardian. October 11, 2010.
  35. ^ Iraqi minister admits gas flaring cancer link, 17 October, BBC

External links[edit]