08 October 2012

Shaybah - Rub al Khali

At the weekend the family went to Shaybah which is located 800 kilometers southeast of Dhahran, by a Saudi Aramco flight. In 1998 Saudi Aramco completed an accelerated program to produce 500,000 barrels of oil per day of Arabian Extra Light crude oil from the remote Shaybah field in the Rub' al-Khali desert which has since been expanded to handle 750,000 barrels of oil per day. Its remote location, local summer temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Celsius and sand dunes higher than 300 meters presented serious challenges including moving 30 million cubic meters of sand and constructing, four gas-oil separation plants (GOSPs), a 640-kilometer pipeline to transport the crude oil to Abqaiq, a Boeing-737 capable airport, residential and industrial facilities and a 400 kilometer road through the desert. In 2011, Shaybah Producing Facilities won the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Environmental Excellence Stewardship Award for the category of “Best Industrial Establishment Complying with Environmental Standards & Regulations.” Among the initiatives that led to the award was implementation of zero flaring technology, wastewater recycling, emissions recovery and wildlife protection. The award reflects Saudi Aramco’s diligence in adhering to the best environmental standards, applying state-of-the-art technologies, and spreading environmental awareness to the community. The community uses recycled water to water areas and has a number of green sites including a large grass football field. This field was a haven for birds with over 200 House Sparrows, ten Eurasian Hoopoes, seven Yellow Wagtails and a Steppe Grey Shrike present. You can see from the last photo how large the dunes are as my family can be seen in the picture for scale.