Fracking begins at BP's largest project of the year

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BP's project in Oman is the biggest fracking site outside the US (Source: BP)

Oil major BP has started production at its huge $16bn (£12bn) gas project in Oman, its largest new project this year.

The Khazzan project is the sixth of seven upstream projects slated for this year, and BP said it will use the expertise it picked up fracking shale gas in the US to unlock the site's tight gas reserves that sit in narrow bands in extremely hard, dense rock up to five kilometres from the surface.

These complex conditions require both vertical and horizontal wells to be drilled and hydraulic fracturing to release the gas.

Read more: Does fracking cause earthquakes? An £8m research project wants to find out

The development is currently made up of 200 wells and is expected to produce 1bn cubic feet of gas per day.

Phase two will involve BP drilling an additional 100 wells, after which daily volumes could rise to 1.5bn cubic feet of gas per day.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley said:

Khazzan further demonstrates BP’s ability to consistently deliver large, complex projects on schedule and within budget while applying the industry-leading skills and technology we’ve developed globally.

In this case, tight gas techniques we perfected in the US have been brought to Oman and we are very pleased with the results.

This was the company's biggest unconventional gas project outside of the US.

Together, BP's seven projects announced for this year are expected to make a significant contribution to the 800,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production from new projects that BP expects to add by 2020.

BP operates the project and holds a 60 per cent interest while the Oman Oil Company for Exploration & Production holds a 40 per cent stake.

Shares in BP rose 0.7 per cent to 469.85p in afternoon trading.

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Tags: BP