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Saudi Arabia's Giant Ghawar Oil Field

Saudi's Ghawar, the largest Saudi field, produces an estimated 5 million barrels per day.
Ghawar, 125 miles east of Riyadh, is the largest conventional oil field in the world.

Brought on line in 1951, the supergiant is believed to have at least 70 billion in reserves remaining. By itself it is estimated to contain as much oil as all but five of the rest of the world's nations.

It contains five production areas: Ain Dar, Shedgum, Uthmaniyah, Hawiyah, and Haradh.

Ghawar produces 5 million barrels per day, about half of Saudi's total production. Some estimate that even if production goes into decline it will pump at least 4 million barrels a day well into the future.

As the oil buried beneath the desert has been depleted, producers found it necessary to inject sea water into the limestone reservoir. The generally quoted figure is that 7 million gallons of sea water are pumped in each day to maintain necessary pressure.

The uncertainty surrounding this state-owned field (Saudi Arabia is very cautious about releasing statistics) makes it key to understanding world Peak Oil scenarios. Saudi Arabia is often considered a buffer for oil supplies, and has said on several occasions it would increase production to make up for temporary shortfalls during oil supply disruptions. The Ghawar super giant, as long as its production stays steady, is central to this claim.

Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.


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