Fracking begins at BP's largest project of the year

The project was completed in time and budget

BP says it has started production at its $16B project at the Khazzan gas field in Oman that involves the biggest use of US -style fracking technology so far seen in the Middle East.

BP's (LON:BP) has kicked off production from the giant Khazzan field in Oman, the oil major has said. In December 2013, BP (operator with a 60% stake) and Oman Oil Company Exploration and Development (40%) signed an exploration production-sharing agreement (EPSA) for the Khazzan venture in Block 61 in central Oman. The group aims to deliver 800,000 barrels a day of new production by the end of the decade - equivalent to a third of its current output of about 2.4 million barrels a day - with much of this set to come in the form of gas. According to BP, the Khazzan tight gas reserves lie at depths of up to 5km (3 miles) "in narrow bands of extremely hard, dense rock". "In this case, tight gas techniques we perfected in the United States have been brought to Oman and we are very pleased with the results". The exploration and production required specialized drilling equipment, drilling of both vertical and horizontal wells, and well stimulation to free the gas.

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"Khazzan further demonstrates BP's ability to consistently deliver large, complex projects on schedule and within budget while applying the industry-leading skills and technology we've developed globally", Dudley added.

Wood Mackenzie said this phase alone, which costs around US$12 billion, would supply a quarter of Oman's gas by 2019 - a 25 per cent reduction from the original development plan. Production is expected to reach 1 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas per day, the United Kingdom oil major said. The EPSA was amended in 2016, increasing the size of the licence to allow the second phase of development. During the course of the whole project some 300 wells will be drilled to gain access to the estimated 10.5 trillion cu ft of gas reserves. Ojaili described the drilling operations as large and complex, with "significant technical sub-surface challenges". In fact, approximately 38% of the total contract spend to date has been awarded to local oil and gas services companies.

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