Petrofac News 1700X397
24 February 2021

A new era of Export Oil Operations in Kuwait

Taking the operations of one of the Middle East’s biggest upstream projects into a new era, our Lower Fars heavy oil development project team has completed the successful integration of Kuwait Oil Company’s new Crude Oil Control Centre, where Petrofac’s expertise has been used to upgrade technology and equipment, improving the effectiveness of operations.

Extracting heavy oil can be more difficult than lighter crude because of its viscosity; however, the potential is huge. The new centre is now set to capitalise, utilising the latest state of art Orion operations and monitoring consoles. It also controls the blends of heavy oil from the Ratqa field in the north of the country with lighter crudes from the south, using a blending package provided by Petrofac.

The teams worked collaboratively to anticipate and solve the many challenges involved in connecting the new control centre with wider local control rooms, spread across southern Kuwait. Around 220 kilometres of new fibre optic cable were laid, with logistics including many major road crossovers and passing through live facilities.

Another major challenge the team overcame was in completing such complex work safely without any interruption to ongoing oil exports. Control equipment upgrades included multiple tank farms, manifolds and export facilities, without any process or operational shutdowns.

The merging of two huge control system legacy networks to form what is now one of the longest single legacy networks currently operational in the world, was a further critical challenge. Microplanning and fallback options were needed at every stage. Many steps were taken early on to identify and mitigate risks, including manual loading trials, meaning that auto operations were successfully resumed as planned without any issues.

Find out more on what’s involved in the complex process of extracting heavy oil, in pictures here.