Sustainable production

Managing our resources wisely for the generations to come and capturing more of their value is at the core of our long-term commitment to building a sustainable energy economy and delivering the foundation for a prosperous tomorrow.

Enabling energy sustainability is about optimizing all of the practices and technologies used in the discovery, recovery, processing, distribution and end-use of our energy resources. It means actively promoting and supporting a shift to an energy efficiency culture both within our company and Kingdom-wide.

Our energy efficiency efforts are guided by our Energy Management Program, which is rooted in four core principles:

  • reduce energy consumption at our facilities by 2% per year
  • design new facilities to be energy efficient
  • increase overall energy efficiency
  • influence and promote energy efficiency at the national level

One measure of success is energy intensity — the energy required to produce one barrel of oil equivalent expressed in terms of thousands of Btu. In 2015, our energy intensity was 108,000 Btu per barrel of oil equivalent at year-end — an improvement in efficiency of nearly 8% compared to 2014 and 23% compared to 2011.

We continue to make progress toward reducing the environmental impact of our operations through a number of means, in particular, the search for technological solutions to lower greenhouse gas emissions through carbon capture and sequestration, and research into advanced engines and fuel formulations. In a major milestone, we recently launched a pilot program to capture CO2 and inject it underground to enhance oil recovery.

We also work to improve wastewater management and preserve groundwater resources, conserve and enhance biodiversity, and minimize waste disposal.   

Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

Along with nine other global oil and gas companies, we support the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a CEO led, technology driven, voluntary oil and gas industry initiative that strives to catalyze practical action on climate change by collaborating on technology development and sharing best practices.

The key areas where the participating companies will focus their collaboration include:

  • Increasing the share of gas in the global energy mix, eliminating routine flaring and reducing methane emissions;
  • Investing in R&D and innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, progressing carbon capture and storage and increasing the share of renewables;
  • Raising the efficiency performance of their own operations and of road vehicles. 

In late 2015, the group, which together supplies nearly 10% of the world’s energy, issued a collaborative declaration agreeing to strengthen actions and investments to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CO2 Capture

Every day, we have the capability to capture and process 45 million standard cubic feet of CO2 at a plant in Hawiyah. The CO2 is then piped 85 km to the ‘Uthmaniyah oil field and injected into the oil reservoir, sequestering the gas while also helping to maintain pressure in the reservoir and recover more oil.

This pilot project, the first of its kind in the Middle East in both scale and operation, marks a major milestone in our long-standing commitment to protect the environment while sustainably and reliably delivering energy to the world.

Over the next few years, we will evaluate the demonstration project for potential future application at other facilities and oil fields in the Kingdom, and shared with others in the Middle East and worldwide — a testament to our aspirations to help solve global energy challenges, facilitate knowledge transfer and spur innovation.

Key objectives of the project are to boost oil recovery by 7% to 9% and permanently sequester roughly 40% of the injected CO2. A number of unique technologies are being used for the first time in the industry, including vertical compression technology for the CO2 compressor, 4-D seismic data and electromagnetic surveys for reservoir observation and novel chemical tracers to monitor CO2 saturation.

Water conservation

Born of necessity as an energy company in a desert nation, we have long been pioneers in water conservation. Our water conservation roadmap governs our water usage through actions such as the use of flow meters, wider applications for wastewater, assessment of conservation opportunities, implementation of best practices, and the promotion of water conservation awareness among employees, their families, and local communities.

As part of our water conservation plan, we conducted a study on injecting secondary treated sewage effluent to support enhanced oil recovery operations. In addition to saving groundwater, treated sewage effluent also reduces scale and limits incompatibility effects in reservoir formations.

We also use treated wastewater for irrigation, with roughly 46% of our irrigation needs for landscaping in our communities met by recycled sanitary wastewater.  

At our North Park office complex in Dhahran, we have initiated a pilot program for reusing “gray water” — recycled water from wash basins — for landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing and replenishing groundwater basins.