Basra, Iraq, 10 May 2021: The Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO) today announced its 2020 performance results. The field’s oil production rate averaged 1.392 million barrels per day (bpd), despite the impact of COVID-19, a budget reduction and compliance with instructions from BOC to reduce oil production, which reflected OPEC+’s request for Iraq to curtail oil exports.
The year’s strong performance has been attributed to the dedication of the field’s workforce (which is 96% Iraqi) to adapt to and overcome major new challenges. These included a revised and reprioritized production strategy, which benefitted from the strong foundations laid in previous years to modernize facilities, optimize wells and deploy advanced technologies.
Basra Oil Company (BOC) Director General, Mr Khalid Hamza Abbas, said: “Rumaila’s achievements in 2020 deserve great recognition, not least within the context of the global pandemic. My thanks go to every member of staff who did his or her utmost to ensure the field continued to serve the nation at this most difficult time.”
Rumaila’s 2020 achievements included record-breaking levels of water injection, averaging 1.35 million bpd of water – volumes never previously seen at the field. New digital technologies were deployed to maximize efficiencies; 21 new wells were drilled, 115 wells were optimized or renewed, and almost 7,000 well services jobs were conducted to further maintain production, while preventative maintenance and repairs ensured the continued performance of ageing facilities. In addition, new projects were initiated to reduce Rumaila’s operational carbon emissions, particularly utilizing electricity from the gas-fired Rumaila Power Plant, rather than diesel generators, to power some key facilities in the field.
Rumaila also continued to support local communities living near or within the field during the pandemic, with ongoing initiatives to help the Al-Khora Primary Health Care Clinic and the North Rumaila Mobile Health Clinic; ROO also oversaw and delivered the procurement, shipping, installation and training on a computed tomography (CT) scanner for the Basra Al-Sadir Teaching Hospital. Major renovation works also took place at Al Sikak, Al Rumaila and Al Nukhaila schools in order to enhance the quality of local education.
With the onset of the pandemic, global oil demand contracted, resulting in the already low international oil price falling further and causing governments and companies around the world to review their plans. Iraq was no exception and resulted in the ROO’s annual budget reduced by around 30%, with adverse impacts on some development projects and well and production-raising activities. In addition, government-requested curtailments averaged 55,000 bpd over the course of the year, partly in response to Iraq’s compliance with OPEC+’s request to reduce the country’s overall oil exports.
2020 was therefore a year defined by COVID-19. It has always been ROO’s commitment to place the health and safety of staff members above all other considerations. COVID-19 therefore required multiple preventative and responsive activities to limit the transmission of the virus. Field personal protective equipment (PPE) was sourced and distributed, including 300,000 sets of gloves, 20,000 masks, and 1,300 units of hand sanitizing products. Two new clinics were established; additional respiratory and life support equipment were secured; 4,370 diagnostic tests were carried out; contact tracing was instigated after each suspected and confirmed COVID-19 case, and wellbeing initiatives were introduced.
Operationally, the field had to adapt to major disruptions to the way everyday work was delivered. Field staff had to contend with working fewer, yet longer shifts patterns; movement was restricted at Rumaila headquarters which is staffed by a limited number of Iraqi and international colleagues who all adhered to strict quarantining protocols on arrival; hundreds of Iraqi and expatriate staff adapted to working from home. A new IT terminal server enabled staff working remotely in Basra and around the world to securely access emails, files and industry applications, while the number of videoconferencing users increased 960%.
“With the virus making its way to Iraq, we knew we had to do everything we could to keep our people as safe as possible while at work,” said ROO Deputy General Manager, Hussein Abdul Khadim Hussein. “We also had to move quickly, to ensure that the day-to-day operation of the entire field could be maintained, so that Rumaila could continue to deliver for Iraq. The human cost of COVID-19 has been felt by everyone at Rumaila; to everyone affected, we extend our deepest sympathies.”
ROO General Manager, Orkhan Guliyev, said: “The tremendous co-operation and teamwork between BOC, bp and PetroChina, which in previous years had been key to Rumaila surpassing targets, expressed itself in 2020 through a shared sense of resilience. The determination, dedication, patience and endurance of our people enabled us to continue to make progress during what was an extraordinarily challenging year for everyone.”
Rumaila Special Deputy General Manager, Fan Jianping, added: “It has been a difficult operating environment for national and international oil companies across the world. At Rumaila, it has been humbling to see such strength of purpose in overcoming complex challenges. 2020 has further illustrated that our partnership has the focus, fortitude and capability to face tough challenges.”