KOC exploration vision is to safely explore for hydrocarbon in the stat of Kuwait to
maximize oil and gas reserves in a cost effective manner. Our mission is to
be one of the leaders in exploring hydrocarbon resources through our well-trained staff and competent Kuwaiti leaders using technology effectively to deliver top quality results which satisfy our customers’ needs on time.


KOC Exploration Group Teams

  1. Exploration Operations Team: Supervise, plan and conduct the geophysical activities required to explore for hydrocarbons onshore and offshore Kuwait.
  2. Exploration Studies Team: Conduct all the studies required to identify prospects with possible potential of oil and gas onshore and offshore.
  3. Prospect Evaluation Team: Conduct all studies required to evaluate the prospects in terms of risk analysis and play fairway at reservoir scale to identify the best optimized well location.
  4. Discoveries Promotion Team: Supervise the production tests and promote discoveries to field development with CDP (Conceptual Development Plan) in order to reduce the Exploration-to-Production cycle.

Exploration in Kuwait

The history of oil exploration in Kuwait dates back to the mid 30th where oil seepage has been discovered in North Bahra area.

In 1938   Burgan well–1 was discovered based on surface geology mapping and gravity survey.

During the following years, eight exploration and appraisal wells were drilled which established “Burgan” as one of the largest producing oil fields in the world marking a new era of Kuwait prosperity.

In 1951, exploration operations were extended into Magwa and Ahmadi ridge area, oil was discovered and production began from the Magwa field in 1953. Exploration activities continued in the following years leading to the discovery of Raudhatain field in north Kuwait and Minagish field in west Kuwait in 1955.

The period between 1960 and 1990 represented a decrease in exploration activities where few exploration drilling and geophysical surveys were conducted; on the other hand this period was characterized by increase in development activities.

Following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, KOC carried out what was at that timeDSCF5224.jpg  2.JPG the largest single seismic exploration survey ever carried out globally. The entire country and its shallow waters offshore were covered by a grid of 2D seismic lines designed to image not only the shallow Cretaceous reservoirs but also to explore into the deep Jurassic and Permian levels. At the same time, KOC invested in the acquisition of the first 3D seismic data over the major known oil fields which provided much greater information about the extent and complexity of the known oil fields.

During this period KOC took the opportunity to perform a number of 4D seismic pilot studies. These pioneering studies were some of the first ever carried out in carbonate reservoirs and the first in the Middle East. 

In 2002 a step change took place in the seismic industry with the introduction of single sensor technology. Since then, KOC has studied this technology in depth and gained experience through testing a selected pilot area in Minagish field with multiple geological objectives. The Single Sensor Technology proved to be capable of producing accurate images and detailed reservoir properties. More than 15 technical papers were published in most of the international conferences which comprised KOC successes with this technology.

Over the last 9 years, KOC successfully acquired and processed several Single Sensor 3D seismic surveys;  namely Minagish, Umm Gudair, Burgan, Raudhatain fields and Liyah, Dhabi, Arifjan and Kra’a Al-Maru areas.

KOC took its major step forward and drilled the Sabriaya Structure (SA-153) targeting the Jurassic reservoirs. The journey of hard work and success began; this was followed by North West Raudhatain Structure (NWRA-01), West and South Minagish, Rahaiya, Raudhatain, Bahra, Kahlula, Umm Niqa and most recently Mutriba.

In 2008 KOC Exploration established its first in-house data processing center with the objective of processing and re-processing 2D/3D seismic data, develop targeted workflows to solve specific geophysical challenges and share it with other service providers as well as quality control of outsourced seismic data processing projects.


Planning the Future 

KOC Exploration shall commence a high-resolution, full-azimuth and long-offset Picture1.jpg3D land survey to achieve its exploration and development multi-objectives where more than 210,000 single-sensor channels will be utilized; highest ever in the industry.

The Exploration Group shall conduct its first of a kind high-resolution airborne gravity and magnetic survey to cover the entire State of Kuwait. The survey will be integrated with the surface seismic to deliver a more accurate imaging of the deep Paleozoic reservoirs as well as mapping of the basement relief. 

A 2D offshore seismic survey is planned to take place during 12/13 and 13/14 with the objective oil and gas exploration for both Cretaceous and Jurassic reservoirs.

A very challenging 3D Transition Zone survey has been planned and shall be completed within the next 3 years. The survey will cover Kuwait Bay and most of inhabitant areas of Kuwait city.

An expansion of the in-house processing center is in the immediate plane; this will cover hardware, software and the number of competent personnel.

Planning and design of several high-resolution land 3D surveys for the Greater Burgan as well as for the exploration area in North-West Kuwait are undergoing.



KOC has set very challenging and ambitious objectives for the Exploration Group asDSCF4092.JPG part of the 2030 strategy.
The search for gas and light oil in the Jurassic and Permian plays is taking us into unconventional reservoirs with increased drilling risk through higher temperatures and pressures and the complexities of fractured carbonates. All of these projects will present us with new and complex technical, logistical and management challenges. We believe KOC can achieve extraordinary efficiencies when all disciplines are fully involved and informed throughout the exploration cycle.

The accurate mapping of the intra reservoirs within Cretaceous formations and their lateral extensions, as well as the identification and mapping of stratigraphic traps are recognized as an interpretation challenges.  The imaging and mapping of the Jurassic fractured reservoirs and the deep prospects represent a challenge for light oil and gas exploration.  Deep, sour and HTHP drilling conditions within the Jurassic section and deeper present very challenging drilling conditions in the industry.  

Currently KOC is evaluating several emerging technologies which might help understanding and solving part or all of these challenges, this includes:   

• High-resolution and wide-azimuth seismic surveys.

• Utilizing the highest channel count in seismic acquisition systems

• Direct Hydrocarbon indicators and reservoir property measurements.

• Fracture detection and mapping.

• Pore pressure prediction.

• Multi-component seismic surveys.

• Full field 4D seismic surveys.



Key objective for Exploration Group is to provide a safe and healthy operating environment for the Group’s employees, contractors and the public, and to respect the interests of the local communities.

Exploration activities which have the ability to impact the public and environment include seismic acquisition and drilling operations. KOC Exploration group recognizes these potential impacts on the communities and environment, and is committed to taking proactive steps to minimize any adverse effects on people and environment due to exploration activities.  

Various strategies with the objective of causing no harm to employees, contractors, customers, the general public or to the environment are in place. Those strategies are in line with various national and KOC Health, Safety and Environmental standards and include training of the staff, safety audits and rig site visits and emergency exercises with full commitment and awareness of every employee.

In line with KOC policy, Exploration Group is moving forward towards certifying the company to the international standards on ISO 14001:2004 for Environmental Management System(EMS) and OHSAS 18001:2007 for occupational Health and Safety management system (OHSMS).This is one of the milestone in KOC’s strategic objective goal of achieving regional HSE Leadership. 

About Kuwait Oil Company

Kuwait Oil Company has the important and privileged responsibility of providing energy to the world. Since 1934, our mission has been to explore, develop and produce Kuwait’s hydrocarbon resources. However, our job doesn’t just stop there. At KOC, we believe we can produce Kuwait’s most important resource in a way that is both economically viable and environmentally sound.

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