Salim Al Kalbani, Operations Team Leader, Oman Khazzan Project, one of the first Omanis to join the project talks about the challenges and exhilaration of his journey with BP Oman. An OER interview.
Can you talk about the evolution of the Khazzan project from its design stage to operations?
I joined BP in 2009 and I was one of the first Omanis joining the operations team in BP Oman. I had my first visit to the site and at that time, the Extended Well Testing (EWT) was still not on the ground. Everything was flat and with not a single pipe being on the ground. Construction was starting to be mobilised with a few excavations on the EWT layout. After construction we commissioned EWT with around 10 BP staff and with our contractor working along with us. We only had four wells connected to EWT and driving to the furthest well took an hour and if we saw any car driving through the area, it seemed strange to see a car driving in that area. The Khazzan project is totally different and we reached a peak of 13,500 workers around the block with thousands of cars moving around the block with eight rigs drilling the wells. The gas processing facilities is a huge plant and you need to walk several kilometers to cover it all. There are 200 gas wells which have been planned to be drill for phase 1 only and we already drilled 36 wells.
What were the major challenges faced by the project during the early stages?
We had a lot of challenges like for example, around 13,000 people were working at the field at the peak time and needed water and hence we drilled 12 water source wells 30 kilometers away from the project center. The water was then transported by truck to the people while the early works was in progress and it was very difficult. Now we do have piping facilities to the main water plan.
What in your opinion are the unique features of the Khazzan Gas project?
Khazzan project is a unique project as Omanis have been involved in it from the scratch. BP gave a good chance for Omanis to go abroad on assignments all over BP assets to bring back experience for running this project. The training of the new comers was exceptional.
In a project of this size it’s very difficult to commission the plant ahead of the schedule and under budget, and this was achieved at Khazzan.
What are the major milestones that have been achieved since the operations?
I would list the following as major milestones of the project:-
- Commissioning the plant ahead of the schedule
- Starting the project under the planned budget
- Starting new wells almost on a daily basis
- Forming the operations team under one umbrella and operating the plant in a short time