x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 December 2017

Kuwait first in Middle East to use chemical oil extraction

The project in the north of the country "aims to enhance and develop Kuwait's oil reserves"

The Al-Zoor power plant in the coast of the port city of Khairan, 100 kilometres south of Kuwait City. The country has become the first in the region to use chemical oil extraction. Yasser Al Zayyat / AFP
The Al-Zoor power plant in the coast of the port city of Khairan, 100 kilometres south of Kuwait City. The country has become the first in the region to use chemical oil extraction. Yasser Al Zayyat / AFP

Kuwait has begun injecting chemicals into complex oil reservoirs to extract heavier grade oil, in the first operation of its kind in the Middle East, the state-owned Kuwait Oil Co said on Sunday.

The project in the north of the country "aims to enhance and develop Kuwait's oil reserves" as part of ambitious long-term goals for the sector, the company.

"Chemical injection of surfactants is often used for heavy oil extraction or for low-permeability reservoirs," said Sadad Al Husseini, a former executive vice president at Saudi Aramco.

"It is a costly enhanced oil recovery and extraction process and sometimes used where conventional production enhancement such as fracking and acid stimulation are not sufficient to yield commercial results," said Mr Husseini, now an energy analyst.

China is a global leader in the extraction technique.

Kuwait's oil production comes mainly from a few mature sites, dominated by the Burgan field in the south. The Opec member plans to develop other fields.

An official said in February it aimed to increase oil output capacity to 4.75 million barrels per day by 2040.

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