Universities to help Soroush oil recovery

SHANA – Soroush, which started production in 2001 in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell in 2001, is known as Iran’s largest offshore oil field. Due to natural decline in production, this field needs to be upgraded with modern technology in order to be developed. The main reservoir of this field is Bourgen located in the west of the Persian Gulf.

Soroush is located in Bushehr Province, more precisely 83 kilometers southwest of Kharg Island. Discovered in 1962, the field became operational at a rate of 14,000 b/d after the drilling of the first well. The field was harmed severely during the 1980-1988 imposed war. The field halted production during the conflict. Arrangements for the renovation of this field started in 2000 and development of the field began two years later.

Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum introduced Soroush for foreign investment during a conference held a couple of years ago to roll out a new type of oil contract. Iran hopes to lift output from old fields by using big oil companies’ capital and cutting edge technology.

During 15 years of production, Soroush has produced only less than 3% of its reserves, or about 360 million barrels of oil.

Soroush last underwent development under a buyback deal with Shell in 2000. Under this deal, 10 horizontal wells were drilled in the field. In total, there are 32 wells in Soroush, producing oil with an API gravity of 14 to 21. The API gravity of the oil currently being produced is 18.

Soroush remains the largest field owned by the Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC); however, it is among the oldest oil reservoirs in Iran. As a mature and brown field, it needs modern technologies to supply more oil.

The heavy crude oil extracted from Soroush is blended from that of nearby Norouz field to be shipped to the Persian Gulf floating terminal before being sold by the Directorate of International Affairs of National Iranian Oil Company.

A major advantage with the Soroush platform is its simultaneous supply and export of oil and gas. Furthermore, it is among rare platforms where no flaring projects have been implemented. Before Shell, American and Italian companies were developing the field.

The head of reservoir engineering at IOOC has said that Soroush needed the involvement of international oil companies.

Sahand University Assistance

Enhanced recovery from Soroush started recently in the wake of an agreement signed between IOOC and Sahand University of Technology. The agreement was signed by CEO of IOOC and chancellor of Sahand University of Technology.

NIOC officials say Soroush has recovery rate of 5% under normal conditions, which is much lower than that of similar fields. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods would raise the recovery rate to 10 to 15%.

Under the 10-year agreement, universities will be required to carry out EOR studies in a bid to devise short-term and long-term plans for boosting production from Soroush.

NIOC is currently focusing on maximum efficient recovery from oil and gas fields across the country and enhancing oil recovery from Soroush.

The head of Research and Technology (R&D) at IOOC recently said that various scenarios for enhanced recovery from Soroush were under review in light of partnership between IOOC and universities.

Noting that Soroush enjoyed high potential for enhanced recovery, he said the heavy crude field had a meager 5% recovery rate.

He cited various enhanced recovery methods like miscible gas injection, immiscible gas injection and chemical injection.

“To that end, good cooperation has taken shape between IOOC and Sahand University of Technology. We are in the process of drawing up a comprehensive action plan for implementing enhanced recovery project in this field, the head of Research and Technology (R&D) at IOOC said.

Whereas Soroush recovery could rise to as high as 15%, we intend to use the experience of enhancing recovery in Soroush-style oil fields, whose heavy oil is highly viscose”, said the head of Research and Technology (R&D) at IOOC. The experience is also to be used to boost the recovery of this offshore oil field.”