The appearance of sand above the high water level marked a milestone in Zadco's history in its transition from wellhead platform tower based facilities and jack-up rig drilling to island based facilities and land rig based drilling. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai : Zakum Development Company (Zadco) said its officials are working at full speed on the expansion of drilling and production to produce 750,000 barrels per day of crude oil by 2015.

"In support of these efforts the UZ750 project management team has led multiple workshops and kick-off meetings involving the Zadco core functional departments that support the project, shareholders and key contractors," the company said in a statement.

All Zadco employees were excited to see one of the first UZ750 project landmarks emerge from the waves in the southern part of the Upper Zakum field. The appearance of sand above the high water level at the end of last August marked a milestone in the history of the company in the transition from wellhead platform tower based facilities and jack-up rig drilling to island based facilities and land rig based drilling.

Zadco, on behalf of its shareholders, has a strategic target to increase the production rate from Upper Zakum from 550,000 to 750,000 barrels of oil per day by 2015, sustainable for 25 years.

New towers

Initially the development plan to achieve these targets was based on an additional 25 wellhead platform towers, together with new flow lines.

Major facilities upgrades on existing satellites and the central processing platform were also planned. Inherent in these development plans was the need to more than double the jack-up drilling rig fleet in order to achieve the necessary production build-up rate.

Zadco said it has embarked on an assessment of possible alternative concepts and the findings provided a compelling case for change from the conventional development plan to one that consolidates drilling centres and processing facilities on artificial islands, and utilizing new technologies in extended reach drilling (ERD) and maximum reservoir contact (MRC) to effectively develop the entire field.

"The mandate to achieve sustainable production of 750,000 bpd based on full field development, including areas of lower reservoir quality, is a challenging task," a spokesperson.

The concept of artificial island based drilling and production facilities was evaluated relative to expansion of the current, traditional steel piled structures.

The concept was found to offer significant advantages in overcoming bottlenecks in the existing processing facilities and intra-field pipeline network, as well as providing a foundation for land rig based drilling.