10 years of partnership
The Rumaila Operating Organisation is now 10 years old. Find out more below about the field’s history, the new partnership, and Rumaila in 2020.
A long history of producing oil
Rumaila’s history as a producing oilfield dates back to 1953 when oil was discovered by the Iraq Petroleum Company. For over 60 years, this super-giant oilfield has provided Iraq with a significant source of both income and energy.
1954 to 2009
Commercial oil production began in December 1954, and grew steadily in the following decades, peaking at 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd) in May 1979, with a daily average that year of 1.5 million bpd.
However, years of conflict and under-investment thereafter saw production rates fall steadily, dropping by around 5% every year by the early part of the 21st century. Average daily production at that point rarely reached beyond 1 million bpd. However, the dedication, determination and skill of the Iraqi Basra Oil Company (previously known as SOC) workforce ensured that the oilfield remained operational during the most difficult moments, often using equipment that was over 50 years old.
The Ministry of Oil developed a 20-year Technical Service Contract to increase production and modernize every aspect of the operation.
2010: A new partnership
Realizing the need for change, in 2009 the Ministry of Oil developed a 20-year Technical Service Contract that involved BOC and bp, PetroChina and the State Oil Marketing Organization to increase production and modernize every aspect of the operation.
Safety was made the no1 priority and an initial increased production target was set and reached ahead of time in December 2010, raising the average daily production level from 1.06 to 1.2 million bpd. This reversed the previously declining production trends and proved the potential of the field for future increased production. It was a huge achievement given the poor state of much of the field’s infrastructure at that time
Rumaila in 2020
Substantial investment has been made to modernise the operation: cutting edge technology has been introduced, local staff trained, facilities refurbished, and new wells drilled. This resulted in the field consistently producing above 1.3 million bpd each year and in 2014 the Technical Service Contract was extended to 25 years (to 2035). In 2018 and 2019, Rumaila continued to progress despite cuts forced by national austerity, with daily production rising to more than 1.45 million bpd.
Most recently, it has weathered the storm brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic. Despite the disruption to staff availability, severely impacted supply chains, and international restriction of travel, production remained stable and reached 1.47 million bpd.