The Middle East is about to embark on a new phase of oil and
gas exploration and development as existing reserves become
exhausted and domestic demand for energy, especially in Saudi
The move marks a potential new era of demand for oilfield
minerals: in particular, proppants used in
hydraulic fracturing, such as
frac sand, and sintered bauxite and kaolin; but also for
drilling fluid minerals such as barite (barytes), bentonite,
calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, and haematite.
Trends in oilfield mineral demand in the Middle East is the
focus for the next IM Roundtable, Oilfield Minerals Outlook:
Middle East, 21-23 January 2013, Dubai.
Fracking from the Middle East to Asia
The evolution of hydraulic fracturing in the Middle East and
its influence on proppants is the subject of the presentation
by Pickard Trepess, regional sales manager Europe, Africa and
the Middle East for Sintex International, part of the
Mineraçáo Curimbaba group of Brazil.
Fracturing has been evident in the Middle East and the
central Asian region for a long time. According to Trepess most
operations have been performed using acid, where the formation
is carbonate or dolomite, but there are many reservoirs that
respond better to propped fracturing.
In his presentation, Trepess will summarise the experience
from Algeria to north-east India, and the development over
time, the local constraints, and the reasons for
Trepess observes that many countries are now looking very
seriously at shale gas exploitation as economies move away from
oil, which can instead be exported onto the world market.
Countries that are active in propped fracturing include
Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, and
Significant plans to increase activity in India, Oman, Saudi
Arabia, and Algeria are underway.
In the future it is expected that Iraq and Pakistan will be
performing large operations, and that there will be enhanced
activity in Kuwait and in other parts of the western regions
such as in Jordan, Cyprus and Turkey.
Certainly these comments echo the recently announced
strategies of the leading Middle East oilfield service
companies and oil and gas explorers.
Halliburton is focused on positioning ourselves for
the unconventional and HP/HT [high pressure/high temperature]
business of the future, said Mike Hugentobler,
Halliburton VP Middle East and Eurasia in November 2012.
Dr Bernard Duroc-Danner, CEO of Weatherford, said: We
need to look harder at unconventionals. There is a lot of
experience coming out of the US oil patch. We will know a lot
more in ten years on how to exploit these unconventionals, the
frontiers, and the difficult shale areas.
Khalid al-Falih, CEO of world leading oil and gas producer,
Saudi Aramco, called for increasing conventional and
unconventional gas supplies by almost 250% over the next 20
years. Aramco is to invest $35bn in oil and gas exploration and
development over the next five years.
Aramco is also taking a leaf out of the US shale gas book.
Up to 50 Aramco staff are being trained in the US by the likes
of Baker Hughes and Schlumberger in order to gain experience
found in the US shale gas plays to utilise in Saudi Arabia.
Proppant evolution in India
Hallmark Minerals (I) Pvt Ltd of India has been pioneering
the manufacture of ceramic proppants in the country.
AK Dasgupta, managing director, of Hallmark Minerals, will
be presenting: The future of ceramic proppants production
in India in Dubai.
Dasgupta maintains that ceramic proppant demand in India is
expected to increase many times in the near future
owing to modification of state policy to enhance oil
exploration as well as liberalisation for private and global
producers for shale gas based on unconventional drilling
On 6 December 2012, US independent explorer ConocoPhillips
announced that it was nearing a deal with Indias state
owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to explore and
develop shale-gas resources in the country.
ONGC plans to explore the Damodar, Cambay, Krishna Godavari,
and Cauvery basins for shale gas.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates
that India has a total of 64 trillion cubic feet of potential
recoverable resources, and has the 15th largest technically
recoverable shale-gas resources.
Key trends and developments in oilfield mineral supply
and demand for the Middle East will be examined and discussed
at Oilfield Minerals Outlook: Middle East, 21-23
January 2013, Dubai - www.indmin.com/oilfieldmineralsme.