Landmark Recent Field Discoveries
The history of gas exploration of Saudi Aramco goes back to the early exploration years in Saudi Arabia. In 1957, the first commercial non-associated gas field was discovered in the Permian Khuff Formation at the Dammam Dome structure. In 1971, the first of 5 giant Khuff gas fields comprising the overall greater Ghawar (Khuff) Gas field was discovered and became the foundation for significant non-associated gas reserves and production by Saudi Aramco. With the Khuff Formation becoming the dominant gas reservoir in Saudi Arabia, other exploration plays were also aggressively pursued. In 1994, a non-associated gas program was started to explore for non-associated gas, focusing on several plays including the Khuff, Permo-Carboniferous ‘Unayzah, and Devonian Jauf Formations. This program was initiated to fuel expansion in gas-based power generation, seawater desalination. and petrochemical industries. This non-associated gas program has been remarkably successful, having drilled a total of 28 exploration wells with an overall exploration success rate of 54%, resulting in 15 new gas fields, and having discovered in excess of 44 tcf of additional non-associated gas reserves at year-end 2001.