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Saudi Aramco to increase OSV fleet by 50% in next five years

Informa Markets Fahad M. Al Abdulkareem, VP Industrial Services, Saudi Aramco.png
Saudi Aramco expects its offshore support vessel (OSV) fleet to grow 50% to around 450 craft in the next five years, a senior official has said.

Fahad M. Al Abdulkareem, VP Industrial Services, told the Saudi Maritime Congress at Dhahran Expo this week that in recently announcing an increase in capacity from 12 to 13 million barrels per day, additional OSV and other capacities would be required by the company to meet additional output opportunities in two areas.

“One is the offshore support business, or the marine vessels support business. Aramco today has 300 [offshore support] vessels, a figure that is expected to grow by around 50% within the coming five years,” he said.

“The other side is export terminal support, where we are also expecting to have additional export capacities for the kingdom, which will entail additional shipping business and tanker shipping opportunities.”

Tanker loading in the kingdom is understood to take place at three main facilities: Ras Tanura, Juaymah Crude and LPG Terminals and Yanbu North and South.

News reports said that around 95% of the additional capacity would come from the offshore segment of Aramco’s operations. “The 1 million (bpd) capacity increase from 12 to 13 million bpd is coming from the offshore side,” Al Abdulkareem added.

He said that the offshore side of the company’s business was very rich in hydrocarbon resources. “The [company’s] largest offshore reservoir or field is Safaniya, which has a lot of potential. Several other fields are also in the offshore sector, and also have a lot of potential.”

Based on what are understood to be official estimates, Safaniya has 37 billion barrels of oil, and almost 5,400 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. It is located in shallow waters 265 kilometres (165 miles) north-west of Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran on the east coast of the Kingdom.

In a statement last year, Saudi Aramco said Safaniya Offshore Producing Department (SOfPD) was handling the largest offshore oil fields in the world, among them the Marjan, Berri and Zuluf fields.

“The Department mission is to be recognized as a leader in offshore producing industry by producing, processing and delivering oil and associated gas as per corporate requirements in safe, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective manners while maintaining the capacity to achieve maximum sustainable production capability,” it said.

The Marine Department, a part of Saudi Aramco’s Industrial Services Organization, owns and charters in tonnage to manage the mother company's offshore operations on an ad hoc basis. Companies like the local Zamil Offshore and Tidewater Marine Saudi Arabia assist Saudi Aramco in the provision of OSVs to meet operational requirements.