First oil was produced from Al Shaheen in 1994 from a well that was drilled during the appraisal and exploration stage that ended in 1995. Al Shaheen facilities were inaugurated at the end of 1998 after the completion of the 1996 Field Development Plan (FDP). The 2001 FDP included new production platforms, production and water injection wells and facilities for gas compression and a gas export pipeline to QP's North Field Alpha Platform. The 2005 USD 6.5 billion FDP included a further 15 platforms, 169 production and water injection wells plus a grid of disposal wells to handle produced water. 300 wells have been drilled in total to date.
The Al Shaheen field maintains a large number of further development opportunities and discussions on the next FDP are ongoing with QP.
Maersk Oil entered another EPSA for an extension area of 139 km2 north of Block 5 and applicable for the reservoirs in Block 5.
Maersk Oil added value
The Al Shaheen discovery, made in the 1970s, was well known to oil majors but thought to be impossible to develop commercially as the low-permeable reservoirs were extremely thin - down to several metres in some areas, and stretched wide. A traditional development approach was out of the question due to the number of vertical wells and infrastructure that would have been needed.
The basis for developing these commercially and technological challenging reservoirs has been the application of the drilling, stimulation and completion techniques that Maersk Oil developed intensively during the 1980s and 1990s to unlock the tough chalk reservoirs of the Danish North Sea.
Maersk Oil entered into an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Qatar Petroleum (QP) for Block 5 including the Al Shaheen discovery offshore Qatar in 1992. Al Shaheen had been deemed uneconomic by others as its reservoirs were extremely thin and stretched across vast distances. Despite that, Maersk Oil produced first oil two years later and now produces over a third of the OPEC member's total oil output. The total operated production is 300,000 barrels of oil per day and the total acreage is 2,224 km2.