For the third year, Saudi Aramco participated in the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC). The goal was to participate in the technical program to listen, learn, and share industry technical insights and best practices in the exploration and production of unconventional oil and gas.
Geologists, geophysicists, and engineers from a broad range of specialties gathered to discuss the unique challenges associated with unconventional oil and gas.
Since signaling a long-term commitment to unconventionals just a few short years ago, the company’s unconventional gas program has shown the potential to complement future in-Kingdom gas supply. This is significant because unconventional gas is a key to meeting the Kingdom’s growing energy needs with cleaner burning natural gas for domestic power generation.
Serving on the URTeC Technical Program Committee, Gretchen Gillis from Aramco’s Houston-based Upstream team co-chaired the session “Emerging Plays II: Which Ones Will Make the Cut?” A series of papers exploring fracture complexity, brittleness and stress was moderated by Gang Han, Petroleum Engineering consultant and resident geomechanics expert during the session “Geomechanics of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Place Where Geology Meets Engineering.”.
Petroleum engineers are increasingly relying on geomechanics to optimize hydraulic fracturing to capture oil and gas from unconventional reservoirs. “Sweet spots” are identified as places where it is ideal to drill for maximum oil and gas recovery.
During the session “Rock Physics and Multiphase Flow,” a paper from the Aramco Research Center-Houston was presented by Daniel Georgi, team lead, Reservoir Engineering Technology, proposing a microwaving technique for testing the tensile strength, or maximum stress, a rock can withstand before failing. The paper, “Measuring Tensile Strength of Unconventional Shales Using Microwaving” attracted interest for its simple and rapid measurement technique. Rock strength is a critical parameter in modeling hydraulic fracturing.
The annual conference is endorsed by the world’s three leading oil and gas professional societies: The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG); and The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG).
Representatives from Aramco’s Houston office were on-site to talk with experienced professionals about career opportunities. The event supports the Unconventional Resources organization.
Saudi Aramco publishes Aramco World six times a year to increase cross-cultural understanding.
The magazine’s goal is to broaden knowledge of the cultures, history and geography of the Arab and Muslim worlds and their connections with the West.
The print edition is distributed without charge, upon request, to a limited number of interested readers worldwide.
Visit Aramco World to read the current issue and back issues of the magazine.
Achieving technological breakthroughs that power Saudi Aramco and the energy industry forward requires partnerships that can unlock innovating minds. One such initiative is the Aramco Fuel Research Center (AFRC) in Paris, dedicated to studies on fuel and engine technology to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
During a visit to the research center last month, Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco acting president and CEO, received updates on the status of ongoing projects, including OOD and GCI projects. Nasser expressed his appreciation to the AFRC team and thanked them for their enthusiasm in working on technologies that help to minimize the carbon footprint of the transport sector.
Current engine research and development, designed to increase efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions of future engines, is primarily based on using existing market fuels.
There is significant potential to develop new fuel/engine systems that are highly efficient, cleaner and cheaper but also use fuels that are easier to manufacture. This will enable a better balance between supply and demand of future fuels and make the transport sector more sustainable.
Examples of such systems are Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI) and Octane on Demand (OOD), both of which use low-octane gasoline, or naphtha.
With a determination to expand its global technological reach, Saudi Aramco has spent the last few years building a network of global research centers and technology offices in collaboration with the world’s leading technology drivers.
The AFRC is one of three managed by Aramco Overseas Company (AOC), opened in February 2013 and was established as part of a 10-year collaborative agreement between AOC and IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), which boasts a significant level of intellectual property and a strong track record of bringing technologies to market.
The technical programs executed by AFRC are closely coordinated with Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center in Dhahran and the Aramco Research Center in Detroit, ensuring global alignment, improving innovation processes, and adding value to the business through links with regional knowledge hubs.
As these centers grow, the latest in energy related technology and best practices can be exported back to the Kingdom to support Saudi Aramco as it evolves into a world- leading integrated energy and chemicals enterprise.
Achieving technological breakthroughs that power Saudi Aramco and the energy industry forward requires partnerships that can unlock innovating minds.
A fire that started at 5.45 am on Sunday at the Radium residential compound in Al Khobar, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, has been extinguished. The compound is a leased residential facility which houses expatriate employees of Saudi Aramco.
The Company regrets to report that the fire resulted in 10 fatalities and 83 injuries who are currently being treated in company and area hospitals.
Saudi Aramco Acting President & CEO Amin H. Nasser stated: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the fatalities and injuries which resulted from the fire. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.” He added: “Our immediate priority is to provide full support to those affected by this tragic incident. Saudi Aramco is fully committed to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and their families.”
Saudi Arabian Civil Defense and Saudi Aramco rescue teams have completed clearing compound buildings and floors and evacuated all their occupants. Evacuated residents have been relocated to Company and other residential facilities.
The cause of the incident is unknown and a comprehensive investigation has been initiated by the concerned authorities to determine the cause of the fire.
Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center, through its work with FUELCOM, has made headway with several technologies that could alter the landscape of personal mobility.
FUELCOM, or the Fuel and Combustion for Advanced Engines program, is a 10-year collaborative research undertaking that launched in 2013 between Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development Center (R&DC) and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Clean Combusion Research Center (KAUST-CCRC).
Research in Fuels and Engines
The program researches hydrocarbon fuel combustion in engines, allowing scientists to develop oil derived fuels that are suitable for the next generation of high efficiency and low emission combustion engines.
One example of their work is the development a promising engine fuel concept that could enable diesel-like levels of efficiency, but with far lower pollutant emissions. This translates into fewer carbon emissions, and more miles per gallon.
This work will set a new course for the auto industry and influence the design of cars that we’ll drive in the future.
“This research pushes the boundaries of what we know about the combustion of oil-based fuels,” said Amer A. Amer of Saudi Aramco’s R&DC. “Saudi Aramco wants to be at the forefront of creating perfect fuels and perfect engines, in synergy.”
“For decades, automotive engine design has been conducted in a vacuum, simply striving for improvements to the combustion engine itself, without altering the fuel that goes inside,” said professor Mani Sarathy from KAUST-CCRC. “By understanding how fuels behave in engines, we have the chance to further improve the engine design. You can now begin to think about altering fuels such that they are better optimized for a particular engine or combustion system.”
Saudi Aramco’s FUELCOM initiative has produced a number of accomplishments in combustion science, including:
- The development of AramcoMech, a state-of-the-art chemical kinetic model capable of describing hydrocarbon fuel oxidation in a variety of combustion systems, in 2013. AramcoMech’s capabilities will soon include describing combustion emissions, including the formation of soot.
- The development of the Aramco KAUST Fuel Design Tool, which complements AramcoMech in that it can be used to develop surrogate fuels that match the physical and chemical properties of real fuels. The tool will soon be made openly available to benefit the broader combustion research community.
- The establishment of the Saudi Arabian Section of the Combustion Institute.