Iraq has the world’s third largest proven petroleum reserves and has historically been the second largest oil producing country in the world, after Saudi Arabia, with over 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Iraq’s true resource potential may be greater than expected, as deeper oil-bearing formations located mainly in the Western Desert region could yield additional resources, but have not been fully explored. According to the 2008 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Iraq had 2007 proved natural gas reserves of 3.17 trillion cubic metres, 1.78% of the world total. Oil terminals are situated at Mina al Bakr, Khawr al Amayah, and Al Faw and there are oil pipelines linking the coutry with Turkey and Syria.
There are five ”supergiant” fields in Iraq:
- West Qurna
Southern Iraq is where the vast majority of the Iraqi Oil is located. Within the South, the Halfaya, Nahr Umr, Majnoon, West Qurna, Gharaf, Nasiriya, Rafidain (Abu Amoud), Amara, Noor (Nur), Tuba and Ratawi oil fields constitute the fields that are attracting all the attention.
M.Casey from Target Exploration has given us the following insight into Southern Iraq’s Oil fields:
1. The Southern Area:
This area (between Longs. 47.00-48.00 E. and Lats. 30.00-31.30 N.) which includes Ratawi, Tuba, Nahr Umr, West Qurna and Majnoon oil fields is economically the most attractive production / exploration area.
Producing formations (Zubair, Mishrif, Nahr Umr (Burgan), Yamama, Ratawi, Khasib, Ghar, Hartha, Rumaila, Ahmadi, Shu’aiba, and Sulaiy) are at depth range of 1250-4200 m BKB, The five fields have an average cumulative net pay thickness of 220 m/well, and an average maximum production capacity of 8400 BOPD/well.
Production is predominantly assisted by a good water drive in this area. The Southern area has proven but partially explored deep Najmah potential, several shallow unappraised, poorly developed or undeveloped heavy oil reservoirs (such as Ghar and Mishrif) and three un-drilled seismic anomalies.
2. The Western Area:
This area (between Longs. 45.30-46.30 E. and Lats. 31.00-32.00 N.) includes Rafidain (Abu Amoud), Gharaf and Nasiriya oil fields. It is ranked as economically the second most attractive production /exploration area among the three areas under consideration.
Producing formations (Yamama, Mishrif, Zubair and Nahr Umr) are 2000-4000 m deep. The fields have an average cumulative net pay thickness is 160 m/well, and an estimated average maximum production capacity of 6300 STBOPD/well.
The Western area has deep Najmah and shallow stratigraphic Mishrif rudist reef potentials, however no discernable un-drilled seismic structural closure has so far been found.
3. The Eastern Area:
This area (between Longs. 46.30-47.30 E. and Lats. 31.30-32.00 N.) includes Noor (Nur), Halfaya and Amara oil fields.
Proven producing formations (Mishrif, Nahr Umr, Sa’di, Tanuma and Khasib) are between 2800-4400m BKB; the fields have an average cumulative net pay thickness of 73+ m/well, and an estimated average maximum production capacity of 5900 STBOPD/well. The Eastern area has deep Najmah potential, shallow Mishrif reef potential, in addition to one undrilled seismic anomaly.
Kirkuk is the other region, further to the North, at the limit with the Kurdish Autonomous region, where you will find very important reserves exceeding 6.5 billion barrels.