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Invitation to Visit Total stand A232 at ADIPEC 2015

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4 November 2015 - Invitation to Visit Total stand A232 at ADIPEC 2015Dear all,

Total E&P UAE is pleased to invite you to visit us at our stand in ADIPEC 2015 at Atrium A232. The theme of this year’s conference is: Innovation & Sustainability in a New Energy World and theme of Total stand is “Partnership, People and Innovation”.

At Total’s stand we will be presenting our know-how, technology and innovation to showcase our expertise as an international energy company and demonstrate our long term commitment to the UAE as pioneers in innovation, technology and capacity building.

Total’s Activity Presentation Units include EOR  (Enhanced Oil Recovery), ABK–VEDC Academy  (Total Abu Al Bukhoosh – VEDC Academy), CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), TMME (TOTAL Marketing Middle East), SOLAR (SUN POWER) and AFTP-GEP.

Dedicated technical presentations are scheduled in our stand auditorium on all 4 days and we invite you to attend them. We also encourage you to share this e-mailer with your professional contacts and invite them to our stand. Please visit this +Link to follow the presentation schedule and +Pre-register your interest to attend.

If you have not registered already, +Click here and to register yourself as a visitor to facilitate easy entrance to the venue.

We look forward to meeting you at the exhibition.

Follow us on Twitter: @Total

  #ADIPEC2015

Abu Dhabi stresses $20b oil plan

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Abu Dhabi stresses $20b oil plan
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 07, 2008

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Government has reiterated its plans to invest as much as $20 billion (Dh74 billion) by 2010 to increase its crude output capacity by 30 per cent to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

“Revenues from oil and gas and [oil] products constitute 35 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s gross domestic product, 80 per cent of the government’s revenues and 90 per cent of the total exports,” according to the Abu Dhabi Economic and Social Report 2008.

The emirate’s current oil production capacity is 2.7 million bpd, the report said.

Abu Dhabi’s production accounts for nearly 94 per cent of the UAE’s crude output. The UAE’s oil output currently is about 2.66 million bpd.

The country’s proven oil reserves of 97.8 billion barrels make up 7.9 per cent of the world’s total reserves.

The official selling price (OSP) of Abu Dhabi crude oil grades from January to June this year averaged $108.32 per barrel, a whopping 73.6 per cent rise on the year and in line with soaring global oil prices. The average price of Adnoc’s crude grades for January-June 2007 was $62.39.

According to the Abu National Oil Company, the official selling price of its crude grades – Murban, Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif and Upper Zakum – averaged $135.68 for July 2008 on the back of a record performance that peaked on July 11 when prices on the international market touched of $147.27 a barrel.

Since then, prices have fallen sharply to below $120 a barrel, as an economic downturn in the US, the world’s biggest oil importer, has slowed consumer demand.

Estimates by McKinsey & Company show that Abu Dhabi is likely to accumulate an investible surplus of $800 billion by 2020 due to massive inflows of oil revenues. They say that of the $2 trillion investible surplus flowing to the six Gulf countries, $800 billion will come to Abu Dhabi. This is based on an estimated average price of $50 per barrel between 2005 and 2020.

Windfall

Should the price momentum of the first-half of the year sustain in the second half, the UAE’s export revenues are poised to race past the $100 billion mark in 2008.

According to the UAE Central Bank, the country’s oil exports in 2007 were valued at Dh261.42 billion, up 22.5 per cent on year. The average price of the UAE’s crude in 2007 was $71.70 per barrel, 12.9 per cent higher than the 2006 price of $63.53.

The UAE’s oil will last 92 years at current production levels, estimates show. Estimates of International Energy Agency show the UAE’s sustainable crude production capacity could rise 9.12 per cent to 3.11 million bpd by 2013.

Dolphin Energy awards $418 million Taweelah Fujairah gas pipeline to Russian contractor

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Dolphin Energy awards $418 million Taweelah Fujairah gas pipeline to Russian contractor
Staff Report GULF NEWS Published: July 22, 2008, 13:01

Abu Dhabi:Dolphin Energy Limited awarded the construction contract for its new Taweelah to Fujairah Gas Pipeline (TFP) across the UAE to Stroytransgaz PJSC of Russia. Site work will begin in the third quarter 2008.

The new gas pipeline will be 48 inches in diameter. It is to be laid over an environmentally approved cross-country route, through more than 240 kilometres of desert and mountainside one of the longest and largest overland pipelines in the UAE.

The TFP will link Dolphin Energy’s gas receiving facilities at Taweelah, on the coast of Abu Dhabi, with the ADWEA Power and Water Desalination Plant at Qidfa in Fujairah. It is designed to carry significant quantities of Dolphin gas from Qatar via Taweelah directly to the UAE east coast.

The value of the TFP construction contract is $418 million. Eight international construction companies initially bid for the work, and technical tenders were accepted from five, which proceeded to the commercial bid stage. They were Al Jaber Energy Services, UAE; Consolidated Contractors International (CCC), Greece; Dodsal, India; Stroytransgaz PJSC of Russia and Saipem/Snamprogetti of Italy.

UAE to shut 150,000-200,000 bpd oil output Oct-Nov

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UAE to shut 150,000-200,000 bpd oil output Oct-Nov
(Reuters) 21 July 2008

DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates will reduce oil output by 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day for 40 days in October and November for maintenance, an official at state oil company ADNOC said on Monday.

The scheduled shutdown will cut oil output from the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter by up to 7.5 percent. The OPEC-member pumped around 2.6 million bpd in June, a Reuters survey showed.

‘It’s for 40 days, around 150,000 to 200,000 bpd,’ the official at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The work will cut output just as consumer oil demand rises ahead of peak demand in the northern hemisphere for heating during winter. UAE crude is favoured by Japanese refiners making heating oil.

Refiners in Japan say the UAE has offered them more oil in September to compensate for lower volumes during the maintenance.

The offshore Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif fields will be partially shut down, the official added. Lower Zakum typically pumps at around 280,000 bpd, while Umm Shaif produces around 200,000 bpd.

JAPAN GAS IMPORTS

Work at a gas facility on Das Island will force the shutdown, the source said. ADNOC unit ADGAS plans to shut one of three processing facilities on Das that produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) — gas chilled to its liquid form for export.

Das receives natural gas produced at the offshore oilfields, and the only way the UAE could continue producing oil at full tilt during maintenance would be to burn the gas.

But the UAE has a strict no-flaring policy so will limit oil output to reduce the associated gas flow, the official said.

The Das facility exports around 5.5 million tonnes per year (tpy) of LNG, and around 85 percent of shipments go to Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) in Japan.

TEPCO has been forced to increase consumption of fossil fuels for power generation to offset the loss of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, which has been shut indefinitely since a major earthquake on July 16, 2007.

ADGAS officials were unavailable for comment on Monday. It was unclear how much LNG and natural gas liquids output would be affected by the shutdown.

The Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif fields are operated by ADMA-OPCO. State-owned ADNOC owns 60 percent of ADMA-OPCO, while the rest is held by BP, Total and the Japanese Oil Development Co.

The maintenance in 2008 will be lighter than in 2007, when work at offshore fields cut UAE output by 600,000 bpd.

News of the maintenance had little impact on the spot oil market, but it could support prices in the next few weeks.

‘It will add some pressure on the spot market, but it seems there has been no big effect until now,’ a trader said.

September-loading Murban, Abu Dhabi’s flagship crude, started trading last week at small premiums to the ADNOC official selling price.

ADNOC’s shutdown of about 600,000 bpd of crude in November last year sent premiums for Murban soaring to $1.20-1.30 a barrel above the official price as refiners snapped up the few remaining cargoes.

ADNCO then hiked its Murban official price to a near record-high premium to regional benchmark oil.

France’s Total suspends its investment in Iran

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France’s Total suspends its investment in Iran

Tamsin Carlisle for THE NATIONAL Last Updated: July 10. 2008

Total, the French energy company, has suspended investment in Iran over concerns about rising political risk, but is still targeting long-term involvement in the country’s oil and gas sector.

“We cannot invest in Iran for the moment, but Iran remains a priority country, and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is a long-term partner for us,” Lisa Wyler, a company spokesman, said yesterday.

The announcement, a day after Iran test-fired a series of missiles following weeks of mounting tensions with the US and Israel over its nuclear ambitions, casts fresh doubt on the Islamic Republic’s ability to develop a supply of gas for export from its vast South Pars offshore gasfield.

Total has a memorandum of understanding with NIOC to develop phase 11 of South Pars, a giant Gulf project being developed in 25 stages. But in comments to the Financial Times newspaper in the UK, Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of Total, said it was too risky for the company to invest in Iran in the current political environment.

Total, which helped develop an earlier phase of South Pars, had previously said it saw short-term difficulties in reaching a deal for phase 11. Iran had been urging the company to commit to an agreement by the middle of the year.

In May, faced with similar pressure to sign contracts, Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company, and Repsol, the Spanish energy concern, pulled the plug on plans to develop phase 13 of South Pars, which had been slated to supply proposed Iranian gas liquefaction facilities. Iran said it would postpone that development and would instead accelerate some other stages of the project.

All three European countries had also received advice from their respective governments to curtail investment in Iran in order to support UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear programme.

The US believes Iran’s insistence on pursuing uranium enrichment indicates that the Gulf state has covert plans to develop nuclear weapons. It has recently stepped up its rhetoric, urging its European allies to back efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, said the UK would have “no choice but to intensify sanctions” against Iran if the county continued to defy UN resolutions calling for it to suspend nuclear enrichment. “Britain will urge Europe, and Europe will agree to take further sanctions against Iran,” he said on Monday.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful, but has rejected UN-mediated offers of Western nuclear technology if it shutters its enrichment programme.

The Gulf state, long seen as a potential gas exporter to Asian and European markets, holds the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia. However, its net gas exports are negligible.

Meanwhile, Qatar has developed the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export business based on gas production from its offshore North Dome gas field, contiguous with South Pars. Together, the Qatari and Iranian fields form the world’s biggest single hydrocarbon deposit. Gholamhossein Nozari, the Iranian oil minister, said Total’s decision would not derail Iran’s gas development plans. “This is our message: we will proceed with development with or without them,” he said.

Still, analysts doubt that Iran could build functional LNG facilities without access to proprietary technology held by a handful of Western oil companies.

Total was the last such company to consider investing in South Pars.

Other European energy companies still operating in Iran include Italy’s Eni and Norway’s StatoilHydro.

Statoil, which is well advanced in the development of South Pars phases six, seven and eight, to supply gas for reinjection into ageing Iranian oil fields, said yesterday it would complete its contracts.

Eni said it did not plan new investments in Iran.

That has left Iran heavily dependent on non-Western energy partners – including the Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom, and the Malaysian state-owned Petronas Gas – to help it develop South Pars and other big energy projects. But these companies are technologically outclassed by their Western rivals, analysts said.

Politics may not be the only factor that has led the West to pull out of Iran’s energy sector. The “buyback” contracts favoured by Iran for energy development provide scant financial incentives for foreign partners.

tcarlisle@thenational.ae

Conoco, ADNOC sign long-awaited Abu Dhabi gas deal

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Conoco, ADNOC sign long-awaited Abu Dhabi gas deal
(Reuters)8 July 2008

DUBAI – ConocoPhillips and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) signed a long-expected deal on Tuesday to develop sour gas reserves in the United Arab Emirates for a cost that could exceed $10 billion.

The partners did not release the expected project cost after signing the deal, saying only they would ‘jointly share’ any investments in developing sour gas reservoirs within the onshore Shah field.

An ADNOC spokesman declined to comment on the investment costs related to the project.

Costs of the project have escalated, as they have worldwide in the energy sector as producers strain to bring new capacity online to meet rising demand.

‘Completion of final joint venture agreements … is expected by year-end,’ ADNOC and Conoco said in a statement.

The sour gas deal is one of the largest upstream projects in the past year open to international companies competing for limited access to the Middle East’s oil and gas fields.

Saudi Arabia, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, keeps its oilfields closed to international firms.

ConocoPhillips beat competitors — including Exxon Mobile, Occidental Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell — for the project to process 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day at Shah and produce 570 million cubic feet of network gas.

Developing sour gas at the Shah field would cost at least $10 billion, an industry source told Reuters in February.

Conoco and ADNOC would set up a joint venture firm to manage and operate the Shah project, with Abu Dhabi owning 60 percent and Conoco 40 percent, they said on Tuesday.

Record oil revenues from a sevenfold rise in oil prices since 2002 have fuelled economic expansion and rapidly rising demand for gas from both the power sector and the Gulf Arab state’s growing heavy industry.

The UAE holds the world’s fifth-largest gas reserves at nearly 214 trillion cubic feet, much of it sour.

The gas has a content of around 30 percent of potentially deadly hydrogen sulphide, making it tougher and more expensive to produce than conventional gas reserves.

ADNOC unit Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd said in May it would invest about $25 billion in gas-processing plants and pipelines as it develops more fields to meet surging demand.

Adnoc and ConocoPhillips to develop Shah gas field

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Adnoc and ConocoPhillips to develop Shah gas field
(By a staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 9 July 2008

ABU DHABI – In a major development, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and leading US oil exploration company ConocoPhillips have signed an Interim Agreement to developing on-shore Shah gas field in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Both companies also agreed to setup a company, to manage and operate the oil fields, upon completion of the project.

Adnoc will have majority 60 per cent interest in the company, while rest of 40 per cent will be held by ConocoPhillips.

According to the details, Adnoc and ConocoPhillips will jointly share the cost of the Shah gas field development project.

It is expected that final joint venture agreements will be completed between the two parties by year-end.

This large-scale project involves the development of sour gas reservoirs within the Shah field, located on-shore approximately 180 km south-west of the city of Abu Dhabi.

Industry analysts put the value of the project at $10 billion, which will pump gas at a time when fast expanding economy needs the most.

The project will involve several gas gathering systems, construction of processing trains to process one billion cubic feet per day gas at Shah to produce 570 million cubic feet per day of network gas, in addition to new gas and liquid pipelines and the construction of sulfur exporting facilities at Ruwais in the emirate.

Great attention was given during the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) stages to select state of the art HSE systems as a result of extensive risk assessment and recovery studies.

ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world.

Adnoc to finalise Abu Dhabi gas deal

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Adnoc to finalise Abu Dhabi gas deal
Tamsin Carlisle for THE NATIONAL July 07. 2008 7:48PM UAE

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and ConocoPhillips, the US oil and gas company, will finalise a long-awaited deal to develop Abu Dhabi’s first major sour gas project at a signing ceremony later today in the capital.

According to industry sources, the companies are likely to announce a 30-year partnership to develop the US$10 billion (Dh36.7bn) onshore gas project, which last year was the biggest Middle Eastern energy development open to bids by international oil companies.

The goal of the technically challenging Shah project is to produce up to one billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas to help boost Adnoc’s current output of about 4.5 billion cfd of gas to a targeted six billion cfd. The gas, which could start flowing in 2011, is urgently needed to fuel power and industrial developments in the emirate.

To achieve this, ConocoPhillips and Adnoc would tap deadly sour gas deposits, containing a high concentration of toxic hydrogen sulphide, from thousands of metres below ground. The partnership, in which Adnoc is likely to hold a 60 per cent controlling stake and ConocoPhillips a 40 per cent interest, would call on the US company’s international experience with such developments to render the gas safe.

The deal has been many months in the making. Adnoc surprised the industry in January, when it picked ConocoPhillips as the front-runner for the Shah project, which was expected to go to one of Adnoc’s existing partners – a select congregation that includes the Anglo-Dutch energy group, Royal Dutch Shell, and the US oil companies, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum, all of which submitted bids.

ConocoPhillips may have had to agree to some exceedingly tough terms from Adnoc to gain a foothold in the Middle East and access to the region’s coveted oil and gas reserves analysts said. For instance, it may have agreed to produce Shah’s gas free of charge, in exchange for a substantial share of the liquids that are extracted from the gas and sulphur when the hydrogen sulphide is removed.

The strategy would be extremely risky for the international partner, especially with a forecast of volatile commodity prices. “They would be relying on prices for liquids and sulphur remaining high,” said Ross Cassidy, an analyst with the British energy industry research firm, Wood Mackenzie.

“Adnoc would continue to get a cheap source of gas, which I think has been their objective all along,” he added.

Still, natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane – which are used as petrochemical feedstock and often trade at a premium to crude – are currently fetching near record prices on world markets. Likewise, the price of sulphur, a yellow solid used to make fertilisers and sulphuric acid, has soared more than 10-fold since the beginning of this year to unprecedented heights.

The end game for ConocoPhillips may not be development of the Shah project, but the chance to participate in future energy projects in Abu Dhabi and the Gulf region. Total, the French energy company, is thought to have the best chance of winning a contract for Adnoc’s next sour gas development, the proposed Bab project near Abu Dhabi’s Gulf coast.

But the US company may have set its sights on the emirate’s oil projects.
The 75-year oil concessions that are held by Occidental, ExxonMobil, Shell and other Adnoc partners are due to expire in the next decade, some as early as 2012.
Whether ConocoPhillips would eventually reap an acceptable financial return from joining the UAE concession holders’ club is an open question, although it would certainly be able to book substantial oil and gas reserves. “I do not think Adnoc is going to give anything away as a favour. When these other projects come along, they will be just as competitive,” Mr Cassidy predicted.

However, the US company has already established a beachhead in one Gulf state, Qatar, where it is a partner with the state-owned Qatar Petroleum in a large gas production and liquefaction project. Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Last December, ConocoPhillips and Qatar Petroleum signed another deal to pursue joint energy projects outside Qatar.

Adnoc officials could not be reached yesterday for comment, and ConocoPhillips did not return calls.

tcarlisle@thenational.ae

Diesel price gap in Dubai and Abu Dhabi widens

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Diesel price gap in Dubai and Abu Dhabi widens
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: June 30, 2008, 23:37

Abu Dhabi: The latest price increase in Dubai will widen the diesel price gap in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to almost 123.84 per cent, which could have a worse impact.

Dubai oil retailers – Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), Emirates Petroleum Products Company (Eppco), and Emarat have raised diesel prices to Dh19.25 per gallon effective from yesterday, a 4.05 per cent or Dh0.75 a gallon increase, oil industry sources told Gulf News.

Economists say, the huge diesel price differential in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is going to cost distortions in the market.

“Either Abu Dhabi prices have to go up, or Dubai prices have to come down,” said Dalton Garis, an economist at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi.

“Instead of being on the road and delivering goods and services, trucks are queuing up in Abu Dhabi to get cheaper fuel, which is both a wastage of time and fuel as they have to do an extra trip just to fill up their tanks,” said Garis. “This issue needs to be sorted out, quickly.”

Queues

The huge difference in diesel prices has caused massive queues at the diesel pumps of Adnoc Distribution, the fuel retailing subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), where Dubai-registered vehicles are queuing up for cheaper diesel.

As matters stand, on Monday, the price of light, sweet crude for August delivery rose $3.46 to $143.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), a new all-time high. The price of crude oil traded on the Nymex has more than doubled in a year.

The three Dubai oil retailers buy diesel at international prices and then adjust the local prices, based on the landed cost of the oil product.

On the other hand, Abu Dhabi due to having its own crude oil supplies and refinery has been able to keep fuel prices steady at Dh8.60 a gallon.

Abu Dhabi’s own fuel consumption is negligible compared to the volumes of crude it exports and the cost of subsidising fuels in the emirate is more than covered by the steep increases in global crude prices, which are touching new record-highs, frequently.

Giant Saudi field is key to boosting oil output

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Giant Saudi field is key to boosting oil output
(AP)30 June 2008

KHURAIS OIL FIELD, Saudi Arabia – This massive oil field surrounded by the desolate sands of Saudi Arabia’s vast eastern desert feels like the middle of nowhere.

But what happens over the next year at Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s last undeveloped giant oil fields, could hold the key to what drivers will pay at the pump for years to come.

Under way at Khurais and two other smaller fields nearby is what Saudi Arabia calls the single largest expansion of oil production capacity in history.

With consumers howling over record fuel prices and the United States pushing Saudi Arabia to produce more oil, this patch of sand 100 miles west of the Saudi capital of Riyadh has become one of the most important places in the world economy.

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Aramco, is spending $10 billion to build the infrastructure to pump 1.2 million barrels of oil per day by next June from the Khurais field and its two smaller neighbors. That alone would be more than the total individual production of OPEC members Qatar, Indonesia and Ecuador.

The project forms the centerpiece of the Saudi plan to increase the total amount of oil it can produce to 12.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2009 — up from a little more than 11 million barrels per day now.

Consuming nations have pushed Saudi Arabia to boost production capacity even further and also want the world’s top oil exporter to begin pumping more crude immediately to bring down record oil prices hovering near $140 a barrel. They say oil production has not kept up with increased demand, especially from China, India and the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia plans to produce 9.7 million barrels of oil per day, or 11 percent of the world’s total, in July. It is the only nation with significant excess capacity that it could put on the market quickly.

But the kingdom has resisted calls to increase production further, saying financial speculators and the falling dollar are to blame for high oil prices, not a shortage of supply.

These disagreements came to a head June 22 at a rare meeting of oil producing and consuming nations hosted by Saudi Arabia. In the end, Saudi Arabia said it could increase oil production capacity to 15 million barrels per day if needed in future years. But it gave no indication that step, or an immediate increase in output, was necessary or planned.

The political tussle over output masks the challenge Saudi Arabia faces in boosting production capacity by developing giant fields like Khurais.

‘That is what people don’t appreciate,’ said Manouchehr Takin, an oil expert at the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies. ‘These are major projects, and people don’t realize they aren’t that easy.’

The Saudis estimate Khurais and the nearby smaller Abu Jifan and Mazalij fields hold a total of 27 billion barrels of oil encased in solid rock 5,000 feet below the baking desert.

Saudi Arabia is no stranger to developing giant oil fields. Its massive Ghawar field, with an estimated 70 billion barrels of remaining reserves, is the world’s largest.

But oil experts say Khurais, which was discovered in 1957, is geologically more difficult to tap.

Aramco is using hundreds of mostly South Asian workers to build a massive processing facility at the field. More than 150 wells will pump crude to the surface, where water and gas will be separated out. The oil then will be funneled to the country’s east-west pipeline for delivery to ships in the Red Sea.

Workers are also building a huge sea-water injection system to pump more than 2 million barrels of water per day from the Gulf into 120 wells. That will maintain the necessary pressure underground to push the oil to the surface.

Disputes over Saudi’s decisions aside, ‘when you talk about the fields and the engineers and so on, I think you have to respect their technical ability,’ Takin said.

With its twisting maze of metal, the half-finished facility rises out of the desert like a massive space station. Workers wear gloves and wrap bandanas across their faces to hide from the searing sun as they work 10-hour shifts in temperatures well above 100 degrees.

Aramco officials say that in addition to geological challenges, they also face difficulty finding enough qualified workers and equipment. The project will use 145,000 tons of steel — almost enough to build two Golden Gate bridges.

‘We are trying to do it in a world market where contractors are in high demand,’ said Muhammed al-Rubeh, head of Aramco’s project department.

When completed, the processing facility also will be protected by two layers of fences, crash barriers, security cameras and government forces, Aramco says. Al-Qaida has called for attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities to disrupt the flow of crude.

Aramco officials insist that despite the tight construction market, the Khurais project will be ready to produce 1.2 million barrels per day by next June.

But equipment and labor shortages have delayed production at another field, Khursaniyah, which was originally scheduled to begin pumping 500,000 barrels per day at the end of 2007. Aramco officials now say Khursaniyah will come online in August.

Also in the works is the development of the Manifa field, which sits offshore in the Gulf and is Saudi Arabia’s only other giant oil field still untapped.

If all goes as scheduled, Aramco forecasts more than 50 billion barrels of fresh reserves from the giant fields by 2011. That amount alone would give Saudi Arabia the ninth largest oil reserves in the world, not even counting its existing reserves.

Outside analysts estimate the kingdom’s total current reserves at about 260 billion barrels. But Saudi Arabia refuses to provide detailed data to allow independent verification.

Amin Nasser, senior vice president for production and exploration at Aramco, acknowledges the company sometimes faces criticism for that secrecy. ‘We have a tradition of letting our actions and accomplishments speak for themselves,’ he said.