Qatar has proven recoverable oil reserves of 15.2 billion barrels. The onshore Dukhan field, located along the west coast of the peninsula, is the country largest producing oilfield. Qatar also has six offshore fields, Bul Hanine, Maydan Mahzam, Id al-Shargi North Dome, al-Shaheen, al-Rayyan, and al-Khalij. Qatari crude oil has gravities in the 24º-41º API range. The countrys two primary export streams are Dukhan (41º API) and Marine (36º API) blend. Despite the countrys significant oil production and reserves, oil accounts for less than 15 percent of domestic energy consumption.
In March 1998, Qatar signed an onshore oil exploration agreement with Chevron (now ChevronTexaco), which is still in effect. It is a five-year PSA and exploration agreement, covering a 4,209 square-mile area known as Block-2. Block-2 covers virtually the entire Qatari peninsula except for the Dukhan field. Seismic surveys were conducted in 1998, and drilling commenced in 1999. ChevronTexaco also holds offshore Block-1 jointly with Hungarys MOL.
One of Qatars newer oil fields is al-Rayyan, operated by Anadarko Petroleum, which bought the stakes in the project previously owned by BP, BG, Wintershall, and Gulfstream Petroleum in a series of transactions in 2001 and 2002. The field came on stream in November 1996, producing 20,000 bbl/d of heavy oil from four wells. It lies in offshore Block 12 at the southern edge of the North Field near Ras Laffan. The PSA for the field was signed on July 16, 1997. The field currently is producing about 70,000 bbl/d. Anadarko acquired exploration acreage in May 2004, in Block 4 adjacent to Block 12. The company plans to conduct exploratory drilling in Block 4 over a five-year period.
Qatars latest offshore oil field to come onstream is al-Khalij. Production began in March 1997, after five years of exploration and appraisal work, at an initial rate of 6,000 bbl/d. Al-Khalij is located in Block-6, along Qatars maritime border with Iran, and to the east of the North Field. Development of the field had been delayed since 1991 as Elf Aquitaine Qatar, the fields operator, sought improved production sharing terms from Qatar Petroleum (formerly QGPC). TotalFinaElf (the result of mergers between the three French oil majors, including Elf Aquitaine) completed a capacity expansion in mid-2004 that brought the fields total production capacity to 80,000 bbl/d. Al-Khalij produces a medium/sweet (28º API) oil with about 1 percent sulphur. The oil is piped to Halul Island for processing and transportation. TotalFinaElf holds a 100% interest in the 25-year PSA, with an option for a five-year extension, having acquired ENIs 45% equity stake in May 2002.
Maydan Mahzam became operational in 1965, and its production is currently around 60,000 bbl/d, down significantly from its peak. However, Qatar Petroleum is currently undertaking a renovation intended to extend the life of the field. The field was producing around 70,000 bbl/d in late 2004.
Bul Hanine came on line in 1973, producing well over 100,000 bbl/d, but production began falling off in the early 1990s. Current production is around 100,000 bbl/d. Development plans to boost production include drilling 86 new wells. Bul Hanine holds approximately 700 million barrels of recoverable reserves.
Al-Shaheen, operated by Maersk Oil Qatar of Denmark, has become one of Qatars most productive oil fields, with production capacity of around 130,000 bbl/d, though production in recent months has been around 110,000 bbl/d. Located in Block-5 about 43 miles off Qatars northeastern coast, al-Shaheen produces a heavy (29 º-33º API) oil with about 2 percent sulphur content. The field is thought to be linked to a section of the North Field. Current production is around 200,000 bbl/d. More than 70 new wells are being drilled. Maersk also concluded an agreement with Qatar Petroleum in April 2004 for the development of the Block 5 Extension Area, adjacent to the al-Shaheen field, which producing around 20,000 bbl/d. Maersk signed a $5 billion deal with Qatar in December 2005 for capacity expansions at the al-Shaheen field. The project, which Maersk expects to gradually boost production to 525,000 bbl/d by late 2009, involves the drilling of 160 new wells.
Id al-Shargi North Dome (ISND), first discovered by Shell in 1960 and now operated by Occidental Petroleum, lies 59 miles east of Qatars northern tip. In 1994, the field was producing 12,000 bbl/d when Occidental signed a 25-year PSA with Qatar Petroleum, agreeing to invest $700 million in field development, reservoir repairs, gas and water injection systems, and further exploration. Output from ISND currently is about 100,000 bbl/d. In September 1997, Occidental signed another PSA with Qatar Petroleum (then known as QGPC) to develop the Id al-Shargi South Dome (ISSD) oil field. ISSD is located 15 miles from ISND, and Occidental will operate ISSD as a satellite of ISND, keeping overall per-unit operating costs lower. The field came onstream in November 1999 at 11,000 bbl/d, and it currently is producing around 17,000 bbl/d. Occidentals ownership interest in ISSD is 44 percent. ISSD is estimated to contain recoverable reserves of 200 million-300 million barrels. Qatar Petroleum and Cosmo Oil concluded a contract in October 2003 for the development of two small offshore oil deposits, Al-Karkara and A-North. Production from seven wells, four in Al-Karkara and three in A-North, began in 2005, and currently is about 10,000 bbl/d.