14 October 2023 - 14:53
  • News ID: 631604
Resalat poised for 50% output hike

The Resalat oil field was damaged twice under Iraqi oil strikes during the 1980-1988 war. It is now set for two-phase development that would see its production increase from 5 tb/d to 38 tb/d. Pouya Ma’arefi, Resalat developer at Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), tells “Iran Petroleum” the oil field would see its output increase 50% by next March. Phase 1 is expected to treble the Resalat output while Phase 2 eyes a sevenfold increase in its output. Ma’arefi also said water injection and gas lift would help preserve Resalat’s output levels.

The following is the text of the interview “Iran Petroleum” had with Ma’arefi:

Where is the Resalat oil field located and when did it start oil production?

The Resalat oil field is one of the Persian Gulf oil fields in Hormuzgan Province. Located 85 km from Lavan Island, it started production in 1970 under the name Rakhsh. Its installations are known as R1, which includes a drilling platform, a processing platform, and a supporting platform. Oil production from this field continued nonstop until the imposed war broke out, during which the field was damaged severely. Its offshore installations were targeted twice in July and August 1987. In the course of the first strike, a number of R1 platform wells caught fire and during the second strike, the production platform was set afire, leading to full destruction of the drilling platform and the drilling rig installed there. Furthermore, due to a rupture in the subsea oil pipeline of Well No. 6 and lack of access to wellhead control systems, installed 240 feet under water, oil and gas leaked into the sea. The well was finally secured in October that year by IOOC technicians who plugged the leak.

How many days was oil supply halted?

Due to relatively high damage inflicted on the Resalat field installations, oil supply from the field was halted for nearly two years. During the same time, the damaged structure of the residential section of the platform was reconstructed and reinstalled to allow for renewed production. Later on we managed to increment oil production from the field, but we needed new design and plan as the field had been severely damaged.

When did the field development begin?

Given the fact that the Resalat oil field is an independent reservoir in Iran and the priority of recovery from joint oil fields, it was not among priority projects. Although feasibility studies had been carried out for developing the field long before, it formally started in 2020. Through development of the Resalat oil field in two phases, we will see the number of wells and installations increase. That requires installing a power plant of higher capacity. That is why construction of a gas desalination unit has started to fuel new power plants. It has also to be added that construction of the jacket of the wellhead platform of the Resalat field started last March at Khorramshahr Yard. In fact, through this project, for the first time since the existing installations were damaged during the imposed war, renovation and strengthening of structures as well as drilling and building wellhead platforms have been underway in line with the field development.

What is supposed to be done in Phase 1?

At this phase, all defective pumps are replaced while new wells would be drilled as need be. I would like to note that in Phase 1, we have a wide spectrum of operations. We will be repairing and strengthening oil platforms in two different sections. Basic reparation of Platform R1 is highly complicated as it lies underwater because in addition to technically precise inspections, vessels, frogmen and necessary equipment need to be deployed underwater. The second part involves strengthening top drives and platform installations. The installations of the platform at the Resalat field had been damaged too much due to long fire and missile strikes. Structurally speaking, when you start strengthening a defective structure, you need first to plan for its replacement while sealing has to be taken into consideration so that the structures would not be detached during reparation. That would require specific calculations while its inspection has a sophisticated process, especially in offshore structures where waves and wind increasingly impact these structures. Studies on strengthening structures and top drives were time-consuming as we intended to implement the project in the most effective manner.

Did you have any foreign consultants in the preliminary studies?

Yes, we have hired a foreign consultant. I should note that the technical expertise of our manpower, both in IOOC and in Iranian contractor companies, is no secret, but due to the high volume of damage, we wanted to utilize the latest design and analysis. In 2021, the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) partnered with a foreign consultant to carry out the necessary analysis and inspection. Currently, the Strengthening, Modification, and Repair (SMR) model has been drawn up for offshore installations and we are buying the necessary parts. The drilling platform was 60% damaged during the war. This is one of the most challenging platforms we have now, which requires heavy offshore operations. This is an eight-jacket platform supporting 1,600 tonnes of weight. It also houses a residential section.

What does Phase 1 involve?

Phase 1 involves the development of the Resalat field with a view to increasing the output to 11 tb/d through drilling, repairing, and strengthening existing installations, building a wellhead platform, reforming processes, and drilling 4 new wells and re-drilling two wells in this field.

Where does the project stand now?

The project was physically completed 14% recently. Arrangements were then made for a roll-up platform and installing the first and second trains of the jacket of the 1,200-tonne WHP-1 at Khorramshahr Yard. This platform would be installed in October to allow for the drilling of two wells, each with a production capacity of 2.5 tb/d. At this stage, we will also move to build a top drive for WHP-1, which would involve building and installing the top drive, and installing and operating the pipeline and power cable linking the old platform R1 and WHP-1.

When can we witness an oil production hike from this field?

According to planning, we hope to see a 50% hike by next March subject to receiving the necessary safety certifications. With the full implementation of Phase 1, oil production from this field would triple.

What activities does Phase 2 involve?

In Phase 2, two wellhead platforms – WHP-2 and WHP-3 – would be built for the satellite platforms of Platform R1. Replacing the top drive of the drilling platform and building new processing, compression and residential platforms are all on the agenda. In this phase, we will implement both pipeline and gas lift sections. Currently, oil production lift is carried out by pump. In Phase 2, gas injection would help boost pressure. Furthermore, drilling about 21 wells would go ahead as planned. With the implementation of Phase 2, Resalat’s production will grow sevenfold.

When will Phase 2 start?

Due to the size of activities envisaged for this phase and the prioritization of safety of wells and installations, we may be able to start structural activities based on previous inspections. Given the conditions of the drilling platform, we have defined an inter-phase project under which we would make older wells safer while trying to win over National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for credit allocation to the drilling platform and construction of a residential platform, apart from Phase 2.

In which parts of the project can we benefit from foreign companies’ assistance?

I may definitely say that our own specialists enjoy high expertise for developing the Resalat field both in terms of installations and drilling. However, due to financial restrictions and the necessity of using cutting-edge technology, we may use foreign companies’ capital and technical knowhow for field development. Nonetheless, if for any reason whatsoever, foreign companies are not engaged, we can proceed with developing this independent Iranian oil field. It has also to be added that more than 80% of equipment for this phase has been supplied by local manufacturers.

What are your plans to prevent oil production fall?

Currently, we’re using downhole pumps to boost pressure at the wells of the Resalat oil field; however, we intend to conduct water injection and gas lift simultaneously in the second phase in a bid to prevent output fall.

News ID 631604

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