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Sun 2 Aug 2009 11:43 PM

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Saudi/Shell JV says 2 Empty Quarter zones give gas

Drilling outcome at Kidan-6, located near the Shaybah oilfield, said 'promising'.

Saudi/Shell JV says 2 Empty Quarter zones give gas
EMPTY QUARTER: Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco joint venture says gas in two zones in KSAs Empty Quarter has tested at a combined 90 million cubic feet per day. (Getty Images)

A Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco joint venture said on Sunday that gas from two zones under exploration in the kingdom's Empty Quarter flowed at a combined rate of 90 million cubic feet per day.South Rub al-Khali Co (SRAK) said the two zones were located in the Arab reservoir in its fourth exploration well called Kidan-6.

"One zone was flowed at a rate of 50 million cubic feet per day of gas while the other zone was flowed at 40 million cubic feet of gas per day," SRAK said in an emailed statement.

The gas tested "is sour ... (with) 10-25 barrels of condensate liquids (per one million cubic feet of gas)".

The same well showed that another area, called Khuff reservoirs "was not hydrocarbon bearing and the deep section of the well was therefore abandoned", it added.

SRAK began exploring in 2004 for gas, condensate and natural gas liquids in nine blocks in two separate parts of the Empty Quarter.

Ownership of SRAK is split equally between Shell and Aramco. Total sold a 30 percent stake in SRAK after the first three wells found nothing.

Kidan is near the 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) Shaybah oilfield. SRAK has drilled at the field which was an old Aramco discovery.

Kidan contains sour gas, which means it is more dangerous and costly to process. Sour gas has high levels of potentially deadly hydrogen sulphide.

Aramco's Chief Executive Khaled al-Faleh said last month that the drilling outcome was promising at the Kidan field and that Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell are studying its development.

The kingdom is short of gas to meet demand from power plants and industry. Energy consumption has risen in the world's top oil exporter in recent years, especially when record oil export revenues fuelled an economic boom.

SRAK plans to drill wells in Zaynan-2 and Umm Quloob-1, it said in the statement without giving a timeframe.

"These will be the fifth and sixth wells of the seven-well first exploration period," it added.

The seventh well will be drilled next year, it said. (Reuters)

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