Introduction

Libya which is situated at the northern part of the African continent is one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas. Its richness in producing this important natural resource makes, brought a group of nations which produce oil, gas and other natural resources into the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OPEC. OPEC is the organization which controls and markets Africa’s largest proven oil reserves. OPEC does not only control but also provides the marketing resources for these nations to international markets in the continent and outside the Africa’s continent, (Biltayib, 2006).

Oil exploration in Libya started as earlier as 1959 in well B1 concession 12, Amal field, which is the largest oil reserve in Libya. Amal field is located in the eastern part of the Sirte basin. The first oil explorations was technically difficult, due to the old technology which was not advanced enough and the surface could not range to contain transport generally thus seismic exploration technique was used in the explorations of oil reserve in the Sirte basin. Since this first inception of oil in Libya and the grant of active concession in 1955, has made production in Libya the most chief resources towards the development of its economy.

Currently in the field of Amal, more than 81 wells have been drilled and among them, 76 are active producers of oil and natural gas. These natural resources have technically boosted the economic agenda in the country and its regional development, competition in the oil business and finally making it belong to the class of OPEC countries which govern the petroleum products prices across international markets and across its borders. Although Libya has enjoyed a developed economy boost, it has hit its stagnant waters due to the civil wars which broke out making the country’s economy to hit a stand still. However the dammed war has surpassed most wells and reserves are almost to their optimum functional capabilities, (Edwik, 2007).

Amal oil field

It was first explored in 1955 during the under developed technological era, when seismic exploration techniques were still used in exploring oil in the desert surfaces in Libya.  Amal field comprises almost the largest oil reserves in the Libyan oil reserves. It has more than 80 wells of which 76 are active producers of oil and natural gas. Amal field which is located in the Sirte basin in approximately 100,000 acres of land, it extends from north to south of the Libyan coastal region. Close to 80 percent of Libya’s proven oil reserves are located in the eastern Sirte basin, which also accounts for most of the country’s oil output. Amal oil field provides the main oil producing reserve in Libya, Which makes Libya the biggest oil producing country in African continent as it surpasses other OPEC nations like Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria. However oil is not the only rich resource being produced by the Amal field, but gas also comprises among the many components which are extracted from the Sirte basin in Libya, (Hallett, 2002).

Natural gas and crude oil which is produced as the main exportation by Libyan country has helped develop its economy and national markets as well. Therefore, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), the reserves in the Amal field and other fields, yield up to a total of more than 47.2 billion barrels as per the  analysis carried out by the United States Energy Sector in the year 2012. This ranking made it the largest in Africa, and amongst the ten largest globally. The oil produced by the Amal field of the highest quality which is a low sulfur content and sweet in API gravity consideration in defining crude oil quality. This makes the crude light and sweet with its low sulfur components. Below is a study showcasing the statistics carried by the oil and gas journal in regard to the amount of oil reserves produced and developed by other countries in the African continent per a barrel?

Exploration and Production

Before the offset of the civil unrest in the Libyan nation, Libya had bed producing a lot of crude oil per estimated at 1.65 million barrels per day (bbl/d). Its crude oil is characterized by its lightness of being under saturated due to API gravity and its low sulfur content hence it’s sweet. These qualities make it of a rare quality.  Amal field being the largest basin in Libya which contains more than 80% of the country‘s oil productions, had increased from the past by over almost 200, 000-400, 000 barrels over the last 10 or so years. Approximately, from 1.4 million in 2000 to 1.8 million barrels per day in 2010, although the capacity produced by the Libyan country oil reserves, did not surpass the range in which it produced oil in 1960s, it produced enough oil which exceeded the OPEC set standards of its members in producing oil. Apart from the resources of oil and its products, Libya also has a rich deposit of producing non liquid products like natural gases which it produces in terms of a thousand barrels per day like natural gas, it manages to produce more than 140, 000 barrels per day of non-liquid/crude liquids, this also adds value to more explorations in the Sirte basin which composes of all the Amal wells in the nation’s reserves.  Below is a chart graph showing the consistent production of oil over the last 10 years by the Libyan nation, (Ariweriokuma, 2008).

The results above were compiled by the United States energy sector, which monitors the international markets in its working towards the development of the oil and its corresponding markets over the last decade with the OPEC nations. With its headquarters in the USA, the above results provides inner look into the Libyan national resource which has developed its economy to be what it’s now.

Although a lot of its oil produced is exported to other nations, Libya produces a rare quality product that marks its international marketing value. Amal being the largest field which produces fine and quality oil in the nation, has developed an  internal depot for transporting oil into the Sea Portland other inland center for marketing and coordinating the oil resources.

The above pie chart shows export ranges of the oil produced by the Libyan country most of which from the Amal field in the Sirte basin, thus Italy is the largest consumer of the local oil produced by the nation. Therefore in just developing the economy, oil exportation also has managed to develop international relationships with its largest consumers which were a bit damaged by the unrest in the civil unrest caused by the former leader of the Libyan leader Qadhafi. The regime of the dictator almost plunged the development and production of the natural resources, (Wallace, 2004).

Production and decline of oil resources

a)    Declining of Reservoir Pressure in Amal Oil Field

Over the past few years several wells have been drilled in the Amal Field. The Wells were resumed to production and ESP system was introduced that helped to save lifting gas for the new wells. The service equipment’s were serviced and some of them were renewed. The gas and oil networks were also renewed but not enough attention was paid to subsurface operations. 

b)    Water cut Decreasing

The new compressors will help to have a higher discharge pressure which will give a chance to reach deeper injection points. Indeed artificial energy of any kind is limited resource and this should only be used to lift the oil. But in case of Amal energy is being lost by lifting the extra water that comes with the oil. To save this power loss, water plants should be separated from the oil plants. The fresh water injections to treat salts in the wells have also been stopped just to ensure that energy is no wasted in lifting water along with the oil.

c)     Effect of sand accumulation, Paraffin, salt bridge which restricted in Tubing

If one compares the well test records, one will find that the productivity of all 39 wells has dropped by 40-75%. These wells had high salinity with almost no water production. Several factors are sometimes involved in reducing the production of a well and any one factor can significantly decrease the production. Wax is yet another factor that cab severely reduce the production of a well. In most cases wax even destroys the drilling equipment thus making it impossible for engineers to find a way out.

(Daoudi, 1981).

The saline water and sand-filled wells have drastically changed the permeability of wells which has resulted in decreased production in Amal oil field in Libya.

d)    Effect of Perforations

Ever since the inception of oil field at Amal, 222 wells have been done. 84 of the wells have actively produced oil and natural gas while others have not done very well and were ultimately abandoned. The natural resources produced by these wells have immensely boosted the economic growth of the country. Many developments have been done owing to the wealth produced by these wells.

e)     Frozen of Gas Injection in winter time

To optimize the oil and gas production, Amal has been employing artificial lift technology thus advancing on the gas lift. To further optimize the capacity water re-injection technology is being employed.

f)       No plan to maintain Reservoir pressure since 1959 up to 2005

Over the last few decades several development projects have taken place at Amal. The most important development was the digging of new wells. An ESP system was introduced to Amal Field to save lifting gas that kept the pressure fairly high. But despite all the efforts the production at Amal has declined.

Summary

For the last few decades Libya has been the biggest oil producer in the African Continent. The crude oil that Libya produces has helped the country in boosting its economy. The country has several oil reservoirs which makes crude oil an important source of income for Libya. Gas is yet another natural resource which drives Libya’s economy. Large scale production of crude oil has enabled Libya become a member of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Amal is one of the oil fields in Libya. It is situated to the east of Sirte basin and was discovered in the year 1959. Amal is the leading oil producing reserve in Libya and produces 80% of the country’s oil. There are 81 wells at Amal out of which 76 produce oil and gas actively.

In this article we discussed about the problems caused by partial plugging of the pores at the pay zones. This results in the loss of interconnection to the perforations. Sand causes severe problems once it fills the perforations. Wax in the wells was yet another problem that we discussed in the essay. Wax can have catastrophic effects on the drilling equipment and can destroy expensive machines over time.

These problems can be overcome by employing certain precautionary measures. The most important method to overcome the problems is a proper sand control system. Engineers should deploy sand controlling mechanisms in the wells to make the drilling process smooth and hassle free. The introduction of Macaroni tube to treat the salts and wax is also a valid approach that can make drilling process better and error free.  

Related essays