Chiba project inaugurated in Saudi Arabia’s ‘no longer Empty Quarter’
King Salman made the statement after inaugurating the massive project in eastern Saudi Arabia
After the inauguration of the Chiba project, one of the largest projects in the world, Saudi King Salman al-Saud said that the kingdom‘s Empty Quarter is no longer “empty”, but it is a “fully functioning location.”
The site was built in Saudi Arabia's Rub‘ al Khali (Empy Quarter) desert, the largest contiguous sand desert in the world encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula.
The site now incorporates expanded production facilities for light crude oil, with an increased output of one million barrels currently, and another project of harvesting natural gas, generating 275,000 barrels per day.
This project proves the ability of Saudi Aramco to strengthen its foundation and its commitment, in order to be able and willing to meet the global demand for energy in the short and long term, and also to nurture its share of the global energy market and prove its role as an assured supplier worldwide.
The project engages in the production of additional quantities of very light high value Arabian oil with a production of 250,000 barrels per day, bringing the total production capacity to one million barrels per day, equivalent to double the energy of the gas-oil separator plant when it was commissioned in 1998.
The drilling plan for this project will be in two parts. First, the goal is to actuate the locations of wells in deeper and more distant places for the gas dome to magnify oil recovery. Second, to boost the average contact area between the wells and the reservoir in the Chiba area from 6 to 10 kilometers. This will enhance the production of the deeper, less accessible reservoir.
Strategy for natural gas liquids
Saudi Aramco's strategy aims to reduce the country’s reliance on UK liquid fuels for power generation, providing a cleaner energy to meet the local needs of the feedstock vital for petrochemical products which will significantly help diversify the national economy.
The project will include the extraction of high value natural gas liquids, a new plant to distil natural gas liquids with a processing capacity of 2.4 billion cubic feet, the equivalent of 275,000 barrels per day of liquids containing natural gas, methane, and elements heavier than the gas produced. The plant will also compact and inject light gas into the reservoir.
The project will provide large quantities of ethane, one of the most important types of gas, which helps boost industrial development, in addition to other gas liquids.
The ‘Precious Quarter’
Chiba is in the eastern desert of the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, an area that was completely isolated and devoid of human presence before oil was discovered. It comprises marshes and giant sand dunes which reach a height of 250 meters. The dunes appear stable in the region with the presence of light green coverage consisting of a few green bushes and trees. There are also soft, small sand dunes.
Oil was discovered in the Chiba region during the exploration well drilling (Chiba 1) in 1968. It is a very light Arab quality, with a density of 42 degrees, according to the American Petroleum Institute scale.
The Chiba region has a reservoir of an estimated 14.3 billion barrels of oil and about 25 trillion standard cubic feet of gas.