A satellite-enabled peek at Saudi oil.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Many Wells in Ghawar?

Provided that one can distinguish between oil and gas wells, one thing to do is to find them all and document where they are. Google Earth makes this easy, as you can add a placemark at a precise location and save the collection of placemarks in a file. You can also display them all together to get an overall picture of where wells have been drilled.

Shown below is a composite of all the wells that I have found in Ghawar, the largest Saudi Arabian oil field.

There are limitations in this analysis due to the low resolution coverage in Shedgum to the north and in Haradh to the south. The wells shown in these areas have been identified using an assortment of published maps showing well locations Undercounting in these areas is likely, especially in Shedgum and north Uthmaniyah. The Haradh wells include both the increment II and increment III wells. The latter is based again on a Saudi Aramco well diagram for this project but also confirmed for many of the wells. Note that the wells in lower Haradh and many newer wells in the north are horizontal or MRC wells with reservoir contact equal to as many as 10 vertical wells.

How many wells are there? I count about 3000 wells. In comparison, this reference says that 3400 wells have been drilled in Ghawar, so given the undercounting discussed above, this result is reasonable. This total includes water injector and observation wells, but excludes gas wells.

Simmons discusses the secrecy surrounding the number of Saudi wells on page 102 of his book.

1 comment:

Paul Meyer said...

Really have enjoyed your posts here and in the Oil Drum.

Particularly your analyses of Saudi oil fields. Thanks for all of it.