Saudi Aramco re-explores Empty Quarter with new seismic technology

EQUThe Empty Quarter lies in the southeastern interior of the Arabian Peninsula and is the largest contiguous sand dessert in the world. (Image source: Yosoynuts/Flickr)Saudi Aramco is using new technologies to re-explore some areas of the Arabian dessert Empty Quarter, seeking to expanding oil and gas reserves prior to its initial public offering (IPO) which is scheduled to take place in late 2018

Aramco said in a statement that a team of about 900 people is using advanced seismic technology to explore 15,400 sq km area around Turayqa field in Saudi Arabia, which was discovered in 2013, as an onshore conventional gas field. However, no oil was found from the field.

A joint venture (JV) comprising of Saudi Aramco and other international companies explored the oil field, but it failed to find traces of oil and gas.

In a statement to Reuters, Aramco said, “Data processing is ongoing. The area partially covers areas relinquished by some of the joint ventures.”

The source has reported that in 2003 and 2004, Aramco set up four associations aiming to exploring the vast Arabian dessert, but they stopped searching after failing to discover commercial volume of gas in the Empty Quarter.

With the use of the new seismic technology, Aramco hopes for a more successful exploration. In the Turayqa field, the company uses more than 50,000 frequencies to monitor the result, while the conventional crews have 9,000 frequencies available to check the result, according to the source.

Seismic technology gives a three-dimensional image of the rock’s structure, which is going down several km under the earth. The aim is to understand the physical characteristics of the rock such as its density and fluid saturation, which are helpful in tracing oil and gas in the area.

Aramco has not made it clear if the new exploration activities would affect the company’s estimate of its oil and condensate reserves.

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