Abstract: Future Petroleum Resources in Saudi Arabia
Saleh M. Billo
Saudi Arabia's oil and gas programs offer new solutions for future energy needs. The area accounts for roughly 25% of the known world reserves and 13% of marketed petroleum. Current production exceeds 9 million b/d per year. Production capacity of 25 million b/d is predicted by 1990. The kingdom's energy conservation project also involves capturing 6 Bcfd of associated gas from the daily natural gas flares, the volume equivalent to some 1.5 million b/d of crude oil.
Deterministic models of the geology of actual and potential petroleum occurrences in Saudi Arabia indicate that much oil probably remains to be found. The discovery of additional reserves with a significant long-range impact on the country's future must come from the less obvious structural and stratigraphic traps in the current producing areas, or from unexplored regions of the kingdom.
The large quantity of oil in the area can be attributed to the following.
1. The preserved sedimentational record in the area of interest represents high-energy, nearshore marine deposition alternating with evaporite or estuarine precipitation deposits. This succession of porous reservoir rock and impervious cap rock is capable of retaining an oil column of several thousand feet.
2. The slow downwarping during sedimentation to the northeast has permitted fewer erosional breaks and faulting which would provide avenues for later migration.
3. Tectonic events have produced very large anticlines in the area, some of which are responsible for the world's largest oil fields.
In short, the long-term dependence on petroleum raises the question of resource availability and Saudi Arabia seems to have a good deal more oil to respond to future energy demands.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90968©1977 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, Washington, DC