Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, Muhammad al-Sada, at the opening of the Offshore Middle East Conference and Exhibition in Doha on 21 January, said Qatar has launched a big push on offshore operations. “Currently we have undertaken several large initiatives in the development of our offshore projects such as doubling the rate of production from 45,000 b/d to 90,000 b/d at our Bul Hanine oil field. The project is in its engineering phase,” he said. Since he took over leadership of the ministry in January 2011, he has focused on reversing slumping Qatari crude production: Output fell to an average of 740,000 b/d last year, from 836,000 b/d in 2008. At the center of the program is Qatar’s swing producer, the Maersk-operated al-Shaheen offshore oil field. Lewis Affleck, Managing Director of Maersk Oil Qatar said at the conference that in 2012 al-Shaheen produced 300,000 b/d – 40% of Qatar’s output. In November Maersk agreed a field development plan (FDP 2012) for 51 new wells and debottlenecking. “It will help us to optimize recovery from the field and maintain a longer-term stable production plateau,” Mr Affleck said. Last year Maersk injected 800,000 b/d of water into al-Shaheen and started a water alternating gas (WAG) pilot scheme, with 100mn cfd of gas capacity, he said. Al-Shaheen was discovered in the 1970s but because of its very thin, very tight, stacked, sandstone and carbonate reservoirs that have low porosity and variable permeability that in places are only six feet thick, it was long considered too difficult to develop, Mr Affleck said.

State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is replacing existing production sharing agreements (PSAs) on expiry with joint ventures to boost revenues to the state from oil fields operated by international oil companies (IOCs – MEES, 18 January). Stephane Michel, managing director of Total E&P Qatar said the French major signed in November 2012 a joint venture with QP to operate Al-Khaleej field. (CONTINUED - 679 WORDS)