TBY talks to Raoul Restucci, Managing Director of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), on the investments required to bring further value to the sector.

Raoul Restucci
Raoul Restucci started his career in Shell International in 1980, following his graduation from Nottingham University in the UK with a degree in mining engineering. After working in The Hague in production technology, he held several positions in Brunei in the areas of well-site operations, production engineering and economics, before moving to Qatar Petroleum as head of economics and planning, followed by Production Technology and later as Petroleum Engineering Manager at Al Furat Petroleum Company in Syria. Following this, Restucci served Shell in several other senior positions and was a member of PDO’s Board of Directors representing Shell. He assumed the role of Managing Director in October 2010.

PDO has set an output goal of 600,000bpd. What progress has been made toward this goal, and will this remain a key strategy?

Our target to achieve a long-term production plateau of 600,000bpd was for 2019, but we are on course to achieve this well before that date. In response to the low oil price environment, we have pursued a strategy of staying the course on our key projects, pursuing the early monetization of exploration prospects wherever possible, and expediting well hook-ups through lean processes by cutting bureaucracy and eradicating unnecessary and wasteful work practices. Key success factors have been our world-class well, reservoir, and facilities management. This is reflected in our ability to maintain the stability of our fields and facilities and manage both scheduled and unscheduled deferment. Our strategy is creating value for Oman and we intend to stick to it.

What role will the 1GW solar-to-oil plant that is set to commence operations in the Amal oil field in 2017 play in PDO's operations?

Work on the Miraah solar project, which we are developing with our partners GlassPoint Solar, is progressing ahead of schedule and below budget, with the first steam set for 2017. This project, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is essential to PDO's plans for sustainable production. It will provide a significant portion of the steam demand at Amal for thermal enhanced oil recovery in ultra-heavy and viscous reservoirs. It will target 250 million barrels and have considerable incremental scope across our concession area. The use of solar for oil extraction is a long-term strategic solution to develop PDO's viscous/heavy oil portfolio and reduce the consumption of valuable natural gas, which is normally used to produce steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Solar steam, when fully mature, can reduce gas-fired steam generation by up to 80%. This gas can be diverted for other important industrial, commercial, and residential needs, and help address the national and regional shortfall. It has the potential to make Oman a world center of excellence for solar EOR, providing job and training opportunities for Omanis.

PDO plans to invest USD10 billion in hydrocarbon projects throughout the country. What are the most significant projects that are part of this investment plan?

The mega Rabab Harweel integrated project (RHIP) is twice as big as the existing Harweel (2AB) scheme and will see miscible gas injected into each of the seven Harweel oil reservoirs. The RHIP includes the installation of sour gas processing facilities and export pipelines. It also includes a new power plant to generate 110MW and a waste heat recovery system for steam generation to meet the heat load of the facilities. Production from the Rabab Harweel EOR project is expected to begin in 2019. The complex paves the way to develop 240 million barrels of oil and 100 million barrels of condensate, with the export of 1 trillion cubic feet of non-associated sale gas. We are also making good progress on a second megaproject at Yibal Khuff. The first oil is projected for 1Q2020 and aimed at recovering approximately 70 million barrels and 39.4 billion cubic meters of gas.

What are the implications of the MoU that PDO signed with the Nama Group regarding the power infrastructure of Oman?

It will establish a framework for a more efficient and coordinated national electricity grid by integrating the existing networks. At present, there are four separate electricity supply networks: the Main Integrated System in the north, the Dhofar System in the south, the Duqm System in the east, and PDO's in central Oman. This agreement means the four will eventually be interconnected via a 400-kilovolt power transmission system, which will enable them to share power reserves, coordinate electricity generation and planning, and access areas with high renewable energy potential.