Burgan and the other fields in Kuwait

The news that Matt Simmons announced to the World Oil Conference, that the Burgan field is apparently in trouble, is  beginning to reach a wider audience. (Thanks Greyzone).

The recent IEA outlook on the Middle East has this to say of relevance

Kuwait has four major oil producing areas, north Kuwait, west Kuwait, south-east Kuwait and the Neutral Zone.   . . . North Kuwait consists of two major fields, Raudhatain and Sabriyah, and currently produces around 600 kbd. West Kuwait contains several minor fields that make up the two major fields, Minagish and Umm Gudair, and produces around 400 kbd.  South-east Kuwait contains the multi-reservoir Greater Burgan field that is producing around 1.4 mbd Kuwaits's share of production from the Neutral Zone is currently around 300 kbd.
The had obviously been warned about the announcement, since the report goes on to say
Greater Burgan is expected to remain the single most important contributor to production throughout the projection period, but the share of smaller producing fields - such as Raudhatain and Umm Gudair- will rise. Excluding additional output through advanced technologies , Greater Burgan's output is expected to increase steadily to 1.6 mbd in 2015, and then decline sllightly to around 1.5 mbd by 2030.
 They have Burgan now listed at 1.52 mbd in 2010 out of a total production of 2.85 mbd, just under 400 kbd more than the 2.47 mbd of 2004.

And my apologies for the lack of a techie talk this week, or for more comment on the Conference, but alas on returning I found a storm had wiped our connection and it took 'til now, to get it re-established.

Thanks for the great posts.

As a non-expert, I am hoping that one of you will expand on this for us - i.e. how is Burgan produced (water-injection,etc) and therefore is the mild decline projected by the IEA over the next 10 years realistic for a huge field like this, or do you expect a different rate - etc.


I hope someone with good information can respond to this. To expect a field that has clearly peaked to sustain such high production seems totally unreasonable. If the decline is similar to other giant fields, the decline could be very rapid, meaning Kuwait will probably have peaked this year. This is very significant news if true.
From what I've read, though, a significant factor in the current decline of Burgan is the fact that Saddam Hussein torched all the wells in the wake of his retreat in 1991.  This raises a crucial question:  How and to what extent does this fact mean that Burgan will FAIL to serve as a reliable basis of prediction for what will happen to other large fields in the Middle East eventually?
Why would torching increase depletion?  Can oil and gas burn away while thousands of feet underground?
Saddam's troops blew the wellheads on lots (tens to hundreds) of wells in Burgan field.  It allowed them to flow unconstrainted at very high rates for months.  Some of them probably "coned" water in from below the oil reservoir.  This has a damaging effect on the reservoir.  Moreover, lots of reservoir pressure was lost, and lots of barrels (?volume?) ended up on the ground or were burned up.
Re: "coned" water in from below the oil reservoir

Could you explain that further? As regards lots of pressure being lost, that seems straightforward and no doubt accelerated declining flow rates as I talk about here. But it seems hard to believe that a truly significant volume was lost from the sabotage.
It has been estimated that Kuwait lost 2 billion barrels of oil due to the invasion (ASPO amongst other sources).
A picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps I stand corrected vis-a-vis how much lost oil there was from Burgan back in 1991. I will say that as far as depletion goes regarding the peak, above the ground geopolitical factors (that led to this burn-off fire) count equally with geological considerations.
This is indeed a worrying piece of news, but does anyone have any idea why Bloomberg (who the Kuwaitis are supposed to have given this news) does not mention it anywhere in any of it's top stories? I would have thought that this would have been very important for the Bloomberg subscribers.  Or maybe the subscribers get the scoop stories before everyone else? Anyone have a reference to a MSM version of this story?
It was on Bloomberg's subscriber service and that was Simmon's source. Jim Ulrich of Petrie Parkman gave me a printout during the conference as they subscribe to Bloomberg.
Adding to what Stuart said, a Bloomberg terminal is a strange animal.  You can get basically any news out of it, but I don't even know if there is a 'top stories' feature.  If there is, I've never seen anyone use it.  When you pay that much fot access, you get fully customized database scans and access to the full database for things you want to know which are off your normal radar.  One oilfield peaking somewhere in the world is pretty esoteric information.  It's only huge news in this case because of the context.  

In other words, every Bloomberg subscriber in the world wouldn't necessarily have seen it.