Panoramic view of the newly constructed Qarmat Ali water treatment plant at night

Water: vital for Rumaila’s future

At the heart of Rumaila’s long term development plans is the water injection programme to boost pressure levels in our reservoirs.

Our changing reservoirs

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 17% every year. This process is called base decline and is common to all oilfields (although the rate of decline varies).

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 hard work undertaken.

Largely thanks to the water injection programme, oil production in North Rumaila has more than doubled – an increase of over 400,000 barrels per day since 2010.

Record breaking injection rates

Following extensive renovations to the Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Plant (QAWTP), pumps stations and associated flowlines, Rumaila injected over 720,000 barrels per day (bpd) of water in 2016 and 2017. This was the highest rate since 2002 and up from only 60,000 in March 2013.

Results

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 over 800,000 bpd.

Cluster pump station (CPS) at Rumaila oilfield, Iraq with two palm trees and small patches of grass in foreground
Iraqi member of staff in blue coveralls and PPE inspects part of the equipment at the oilfield’s cluster pump station (CPS)

Past and future

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. The new plant is now 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.

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