After 60 years of production, Rumaila’s reservoirs are changing. The pressure levels in the reservoirs in the north of the field have dropped. Without addressing this issue and undertaking activities such as maintaining wells across the field, Rumaila’s production would fall around 17% every year, a process called the base decline.
However, Rumaila has not only maintained but also increased production levels over the past five years. We are beating the base decline thanks to our various activities and a concerted focus on injecting water.
Largely thanks to the water injection programme, oil production in North Rumaila has more than doubled – an increase of 420,000 barrels per day since 2010.
Following extensive renovations to the Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Plant (QAWTP), pumps stations and associated flowlines over the past three years, Rumaila injected 729,000 barrels per day (bpd) of water in 2016. This was the highest rate since 2002 and up from only 60,000 in March 2013.
Injecting water into the reservoir reintroduces and raises the pressure in the reservoirs. In so doing, we have been able to bring wells that were previously ceased back online, and coupled with the conversion of producing wells into water injector wells, we have been able to substantially increase oil production in the north of the field – from 375,000 to 775,000 bpd.
Water injection is not new to Rumaila. The QAWTP has been providing industrial-grade water (which is unsuitable for drinking) from the Shatt Al Basra canal since 1978. However, the scale of injection required to sustain the field’s long term-sustainability requires much more water. This is why the new state of the art extension, built by leading international water specialist, Veolia, is vital.
When fully operational, the new plant will be capable of treating up to 1.3 million barrels of water per day. Playing a pivotal role in Rumaila’s capability for many years to come.