Halfaya oil field, located 35km south-east of Amara in the Maysan province, is one of the biggest oil fields in Iraq.

The onshore oil field is operated by PetroChina, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

PetroChina holds 37.5% stake in the field, while the other development partners include Total (18.75%), Petronas Carigali (18.75%), and the Iraqi state-owned South Oil Company (25%).

Brought on stream in 2012, the Halfaya oil field is currently undergoing the third and final stage of expansion to boost its production capacity from 370,000 barrels a day (bpd) to 470,000bpd by 2019.

Halfaya oil field discovery and development history

The Halfaya oil field was discovered in 1976 and subsequently appraised by 14 wells. It measures 30km-long and 10km-wide and was estimated to contain 4.1 billion barrels of oil reserves. The Mishrif heavy-oil formation is its main reservoir.

In December 2009, a consortium of PetroChina, Total, and Petronas won the tender organized by Iraq’s state-owned Missan Oil Company to develop the oilfield.

The consortium, led by PetroChina as the operator, signed a 20-year production agreement with South Oil Company in January 2010.

Halfaya oil field phase one and two development details

The first phase of the Halfaya oil field development was launched in September 2010. It involved the drilling of additional production wells and a five million tonne a year (Mtpa) central processing facility, which commenced production in June 2012.

The development partners deployed multilateral horizontal drilling to optimize the production to more than 100,000bpd in 2013.

Construction was commenced for the phase two development project in the same year. The second stage development involved the drilling of 60 wells, installation of another 5Mtpa central processing facility, and a 272km-long oil export pipeline.

The phase two project commenced production in August 2014, increasing the field’s production capacity to 200,000bpd.

The Halfaya export pipeline was completed and put into service in 2015.

Halfaya phase three expansion details

The implementation of the third stage expansion was announced in April 2017. The expansion involves the development of additional clusters of production wells, new oil gathering systems, a 200,000bpd new oil processing facility, and a new gas processing facility having a capacity of 300 million cubic feet a day.

The third crude processing facility was partially commissioned in December 2018, boosting the field’s production capacity to 370,000bpd.

The total number of wells on the field currently exceeds 230, while the total oil production capacity is set to reach 470,000bpd with the full commissioning of the new crude processing facility in the first quarter of 2019.

The new oil processing facility comprises four insulating heat exchanger banks, four 30,000m³ storage tanks, separate flow lines for oil, gas, and water, and a 150MW power generation facility.

Construction on the gas processing facility is expected to be started in April 2019.

Contractors involved

China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC), the engineering subsidiary of CNPC, was contracted to build all three crude processing facilities of the Halfaya field.

MSK Group was contracted for the engineering and construction of field surface facilities including the flowlines and the trunklines for all the three development phases of the oilfield.

Three Chinese companies including Bohai, Daejen, and Anton Oilfield Services are the drilling contractors for the oilfield development.

Anton also provides operation and maintenance services for the processing facilities, in addition to wellhead control panel installation, commissioning, and inspection services.

China Oil HBP Group provided testing separators and multi-ported valve equipment for the processing facilities. It also provided field processing services for the project in 2017.

Petrofac was awarded a $30m project management consultancy (PMC) contract for the phase three expansion of the Halfaya oil field in October 2017.

Baker Hughes, a subsidiary of GE, was awarded a contract to supply a 150MW Frame 6B gas turbine generator for the third central processing facility of the Halfaya oil field in November 2017.

Sureland, a company based in China, provided fire-safety solutions for the Halfaya field development project.

Mott MacDonald and China Petroleum Engineering (CPE) were engaged for the front-end engineering design (FEED) study as well as detailed design and procurement support for the Halfaya field development.

Mott MacDonald also undertook the feasibility study and provided the detailed design for a centralized waste facility at the Halfaya oilfield.