Shaybah Oil Field
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Shaybah Oil Field is a major crude oil production oil site in Saudi Arabia, located approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the northern edge of the Rub' Al-Khali ("Empty Quarter") desert. It is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of the border to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which is a straight line drawn in the desert. It is 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of the eastern part of Abu Dhabi's Liwa Oasis.
Shaybah's weather is extreme, with the temperature dropping to 0 degrees Celsius on winter nights, rising to around 50 degrees Celsius in the summer daytime. Annual rainfall is less than 3 cm per year.
Oil was discovered with Shaybah Well No. 1 in 1968, and 50 exploratory wells had been drilled by 1974. However, it wasn't until 1995 that Saudi Aramco management decided to spend $2.5 billion over 3 years to develop the field.
A 386 km road had to be built across the dunes followed by a large landing strip to accommodate cargo jets. A central processing facility includes 3 gas oil separation plants, a gas compression plant, water desalination, housing facilities for 1,000 men, a library, swimming pool, and gymnasium. A 645 km high pressure pipeline connects the field with Abqaiq, and from there it connects into a network to the Ras Tanura and Juaymah export terminals.
The Shaybah oilfield has estimated 'extra light' crude oil reserves of over 14 billion barrels (2.2×109 m3) and 25 trillion cubic feet (710 km3) of natural gas. The field is about 64 km long and 13 km wide, with production from a depth of about 2 km. Water occurs below and gas above the oil zone, so horizontal drilling extending up to 12 km were employed to increase production efficiency up to 12,000 barrels per day. Geosteering and 3D seismic imaging guided the well trajectories. Production came online in July 1998, on schedule and $800 million under budget.
There is a 650-kilometer fibre optic cable linking Shaybah to the main radio system at Abqaiq.
- Anton La Guardia (14 May 2016). "The rentier system is in trouble, in the big oil-producing states and beyond". The Economist. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- Al-Naimi, Ali (2016). Out of the Desert. Great Britain: Portfolio Penguin. pp. 211–223. ISBN 9780241279250.
- Shaybah as seen from space (zoomable) The cluster on the left is the Saudi Aramco town of Shaybah, and on the right is the Shaybah Gas Oil Separation Plant-2. Zoom out for a perspective of the remoteness of Shaybah.