exploration & production in
the middle east

More than 80 years after the first major oil discoveries in the Middle East, the region remains one of the world’s most prolific energy sources. 

Chevron made the first two major discoveries here—in Bahrain in 1932 and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1938—and eight decades later, we continue to play an important role in this energy-rich region. Partnership, technology transfer and organizational capability were the pillars of our success 80 years ago, and they continue to shape our present and future. 

building on our past

We are the only global energy company to operate on behalf of Saudi Arabia for this timespan. We have an agreement with the kingdom to operate its 50 percent interest in the hydrocarbon resources of the onshore Partitioned Zone (PZ), an area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. This agreement was first signed in 1949 and continues until 2039. 

Current difficulties in securing work permits and materials have impacted our PZ operations. While efforts to resolve the issue continue, production is stopped and will remain shut down until the situation is resolved.

Meanwhile, we are making progress on proving the technical and commercial feasibility of applying enhanced oil recovery steamflooding technology to produce the heavy oil of the Eocene carbonate reservoirs at the massive Wafra Field, in the PZ. In 2013, the Wafra large-scale steamflood project reached a milestone—known as thermal maturity—that demonstrated that numerous technical challenges with the carbonate formation can be managed successfully. 

We expect Wafra to be the world’s largest steamflood development—and to be the first time that such technology is applied in a conventional steamflood to recover oil on a large scale from carbonate reservoirs. 

Relying on our century of experience in developing steamflood applications in California and Indonesia, we look forward to working with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait to unlock the value of Wafra’s resources.

a new exploration frontier

In 2012, we expanded our presence in the region when we became a participant in the exploration for and development of the oil and gas resources of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). We currently operate and hold an 80 percent contractor interest in two production-sharing contracts covering the Sarta and Qara Dagh blocks. We have conducted drilling and seismic data acquisition programs at the blocks to assess their potential, and results are under evaluation. 

To help meet the basic human needs of families displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, Chevron has contributed about $2 million through Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee in the KRI. In addition, we have spent more than $2.9 million to improve the health and education of families living near our KRI drilling operations and to help them establish small business enterprises.