SOGAT preview: March 2013

The sour oil and gas technology leaders head to Abu Dhabi

The site of the Shah Gas Field development being undertaken by Al Hosn Gas in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi desert.
The site of the Shah Gas Field development being undertaken by Al Hosn Gas in the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi desert.

Profiled: The sour oil and gas technology leaders heading to Abu Dhabi for SOGAT 2013

The countdown to the region’s most important sour oil and gas technology conference has begun. March 26 will see the week-long SOGAT 2013 conference, hosted once again by ADNOC, get underway. The region’s thought leaders will descend on Abu Dhabi to indulge in the world’s most comprehensive dedicated sour gas management event.

The conference and workshop format has been specifically designed by the members of the International Advisory Committee, and will commence with seven concurrent separate workshops featuring Filtration & Separation, Sour Oil & Gas Process Optimisation, AGI, H2S Safety, Sulphur Forming & Handling, Maximising Crude Oil Recovery during Sour Well Testing & Intervention and Catalyst Management Optimisation for Sulphur Recovery with each workshop providing an in-depth review of the latest findings.

30 technical presentations from around the world will be made during the 9th International SOGAT conference and together with the SOGAT exhibition featuring 42 exhibitors from some 20 countries.

“SOGAT 2013 will serve to give the expected 300 international participants a complete appraisal of the latest in all aspects of sour oil and gas processing,” revealed Dr. Nick Coles, founder and conference organiser of the SOGAT conference.

“Highlights of the conference programme this year include current developments at the Shah Field , the start up of Habshan’s 5 SRU, new aspects of PDO’s ongoing sour field program, and we will hear about solutions to particular problems at Saudi Aramco and Qatar Petroleum,” he added.

Conference delegates will also benefit from presentations on CO2-EOR safety and high pressure compressor concerns, materials management aspects in sour field management both onshore and offshore and several presentations on new and developing techniques to handle all elements of acid and sour gas treatment.

The workshop sessions will commence on Sunday 24 March, running through Monday 25. The 9th International Sour Oil and Gas Advanced Technology conference begins on March 26 through to March 29. All session will be held at the Beach Rotana Hotel, in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

The development of sour gas fields in the UAE, in particular has become a priority given the requirements for more gas fired power stations, gas injection to boost oil production and the continuing development of the petrochemical sector.

It is expected that the Shah Field will produce first gas in Q4 2014 and the importance of future fields such as Bab, Hail and Shuwaihat, plus others is underlined by the current activity with one leading company working on pre-FEED for the Bab Sour Gas Field.

The Bab Field contains significantly more CO2 than the Shah Gas Development and is anticipated to have a higher quality of condensate and given the added complexities; ADNOC is in discussion with several IOCs who have proven expertise of efficiently managing such a complex project both from engineering, HSE and financial stand points.

The interest in SOGAT 2013, given these current developments, is more significant than in previous years as exemplified by the 34 different organisations supporting this prestigious event for which the Conference Keynote Speaker representing the ADNOC Group, will be Fareed Abdulla, Senior Vice President (Bab/Gas) from ADCO.

The organisers are to mount an additional exhibition visitor campaign, thus providing visitors with a one stop opportunity to view the latest international expertise and technologies available for this specialised and critical area

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Sour’s Hour?
Middle Eastern sour oil and gas reserves are in hotter demand than ever. Oil & Gas Middle East surveyed the industry’s top experts in all things sour and sulphur.

The blistering pace with which sour oil and gas projects around the world are being green-lit is a stark reminder that the days of easy resources are diminishing rapidly, and for most countries, already long gone.

Much has been written about the GCC, Iraq and Iran collectively holding 40% and 60% of the global gas and oil reserves respectively, making the region the world’s biggest source of hydrocarbon energy with gas playing a much greater role in the region’s developing economies.

With the demand for gas for infrastructure and power needs ever increasing the pursuit for development of non-conventional gas deposits persists across the region with sour hydrocarbon field recovery gaining priority in many countries.

Oman is currently developing a gas/condensate field in the south containing 3% H2S and 16% CO2 and another field some 300 km from Muscat also with 3% H2S and 6% CO2.

Qatar continues its dominating presence in LNG and has recently signed a 30 year E&P production sharing agreement in its North Field, the world’s largest gas reservoir.

Thus all the world’s largest LNG trains include integrated gas treating facilities consisting of AGR units for H2S and CO2 removal, molecular sieves for impurity removal and by the establishment of the Common Sulphur Project have delivered a unique system for collection, processing and market distribution of the sulphur by-product.

Kuwait is studying the challenges of developing HPHT Jurassic sour gas fields both from the point of view of rig and rigless operations and is joined by Saudi Arabia in the prospects of intelligent sour field management given their preference for smart field operations.

Saudi Aramco is aiming to produce 2.5 billion cf/d of sulphur rich non-associated gas to be processed at Wasit. Additionally they are looking at the potential of sour gas processing from the Kidan field as well as bringing on the offshore Karan Field with the 450 MMcf/d of sour gas expected to yield 67% sales gas.

Iran is also addressing its sour field issues having just announced that the 12th phase of the South Pars when operational in 2012 will produce 84 million cubic meters of sour gas per day.

The Shah project in the UAE is critical for infrastructure development in Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 plan and when operational will process well fluids containing 23% H2S and 10% CO2 thus making the project a new benchmark for the world’s gas processing and treating industry. Alongside this project are the future expectations of developing the sour Bab and Hail fields.

So it can be seen there is a high level of activity in sour gas field development in the Middle East but it is by no means limited to this region with ongoing projects in Chuangdongbei, Puguang and Longgang in China; Kashagan Field, Kazakhstan; South Yoloten Field, Turkmenistan and several activities in Russia with major sour processing facilities in Orenburg and Astrakhan, plus other sour field projects worldwide.

With these globally important energy projects already underway, Abu Dhabi will once again be playing host to the sour oil and gas production community’s leading minds, with a record turnout for the Sour Oil and Gas Advanced Technology conference (SOGAT) expected.

Saif Ahmed Al Ghafli, chief executive officer of AlHosn Gas, the ADNOC division charged with bringing the massive Shah Field onstream, delivered last year’s keynote address which emphasized the important role local projects are having in expanding the global sour gas field of knowledge.

“Sour gas fields worldwide account for some 40% of natural gas reserves and now the development and production of these reserves are under very serious consideration,” he said.

“Internationally there remain many issues to be overcome and understood. Particularly in terms of the design, use of appropriate materials and robust and carefully planned approach to HSE and cost management,” added the CEO.

Worldwide such reserves including Kashagan, Sezchuan province in China and South Yoloton in Turkmenistan and North America and Australia are all activity and development hotspots for sour gas field projects.

Al Ghafli highlighted eight notable regional projects which are helping pave the way for greater sour gas development.

“Current activities include the offshore phase of the non-associated gas field at Karan in Saudi Arabia, PDO in Oman is working with Shell on the Harweel project and is currently developing a onshore sour gas field project some 300 kilometres from Muscat. In Kuwait, Shell is also assisting KOC with the development of it Jurassic sour gas field,” he said.

The Al Hosn chief said that each of these fields are located in difficult geological formations, and represent complex gas compositions. He also cited the developments at Iran’s South Pars, and the enormous gas sweetening operations in Qatar.

“Here, in the UAE gas demand is on this rise. The Shah Field development will deliver gas at a rate of 200BCF per year. The upstream sour feed gas, along with the volume of processed gas and produced sulfur will present a new global benchmark for the gas processing and sulfur production industry,” he added.

The Al Hosn project at Shah will involve several gas gathering stations, and the construction of processing trains to handle one billion cubic feet per day to produce 500 million cubic feet per day of network gas, 4,400 tonnes per day of natural gas liquids, 35,000 barrels per day of condensates and up to 10,000 tonnes per day of sulphur granulation, he outlined.

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Sulphur so good
Peter Clark, Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd and University of Calgary and chair of the opening SOGAT 2012 conference sessions played tribute to the by-product of gas sweetening, and talked up the crusial role sulphur will play in the coming decades.

“The production of sulphur is a very important process in these projects. We may view this as a complication, but in fact elemental Sulphur underpins our world agriculture supply for around 7 billion people on this planet,” he said.

“When sometimes you may not look at sulphur too kindly, remember the difficulties which arise from its production are well worth the trouble because that sulphur is going to be exported around the world and crucially makes a very important contribution to global food supplies,” he added.

Sour Power
Ad Punt, Vice President for Gas Technology at Royal Dutch Shell put the urgency for sour resource development in the global picture succinctly.

“With regards to oil and gas, we haven’t seen peak yet, but we are certainly working in an environment where the easy oil days are behind us. This is one issue facing energy providers and producers and the world at large.”

Punt added to this by outlining the projected huge energy demand growth scenarios, which most large energy companies are expecting.

“Today there are 800 million vehicles on the roads, and we anticipate that that will grow quite quickly to 2 billion in the coming decades as people in developing countries become richer.

Additionally, we face the environmental challenge. Producing more energy whilst reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a global goal. And this comes at a time when a great deal of the world’s unexploited gas reserves are contaminated with CO2 and H2S,” he says.

Since the 1950s, Shell has built or licensed more than 1,200 gas processing plants. Shell’s gas processing technology has had a major local recent success at Saudi Aramco’s Wasit project.

Shah Focus
Al Hosn has awarded contracts worth over $6 billion to date to provide key services for its Shah Sour Gas field development project. Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Italy’s Saipem, Europe’s biggest provider of oilfield services by market value, won an aggregate of about $5 billion in contracts for gas processing, sulphur recovery and other oil and gas services back in 2010.

Saipem won three contracts worth $3.5 billion while Samsung said it secured a separate contract for $1.5 billion.

Saipem’s contracts are for $1.9 billion for gas processing, $1.45 billion for sulphur recovery and $196 million for product pipelines. Samsung will build utility and offsite facilities needed for the project.

A group comprising Tecnicas Reunidas and Punj Lloyd Group also won a joint contract worth $463 million for gas gathering in the project. Fluor Corp. and CH2M Hill Companies unit Veco Corp. have been awarded the project management contracts for the Shah project.

The UAE’s AL Jaber Group was awarded the early works package, estimated at $300 million. Al Jaber is building the infrastructure, including roads as well as units such as gas treatment plants.

Milan based engineering firm Siirtec Nigi has been awarded two contracts by Saipem to design and supply eight packages, each including burner, reaction furnace, steam drum, waste heat boiler, and 20 sulphur condensers.

This equipment represents the core of the sulphur Claus unit. It will be installed at the Shah Gas Field in the UAE. The field units will process around 1 billion standard cubic feet per day (SCFD) of sour gas to produce around 540 million SCFD of gas suitable for consumption.

The total amount of acid gas fed to the equipment contains nominally 10,000 tonnes per day of sulphur. There are four identical trains, each designed to process 25% of the total capacity. Each train consists of two parallel packages as described above.

ADNOC has said it expected to see first production from the field by late 2013 or early 2014. The project is the first the United Arab Emirates has undertaken to exploit a sour gas field.

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DOW Talks
With 70 years of experience in gas treating and over a thousand gas treating references worldwide, Dow Oil & Gas continues to offer reliable solutions for gas sweetening with the one of the broadest selection of gas treating technologies and services in the industry.

Antoine Samaha, global marketing director for Dow Oil, Gas & Mining discusses the sour gas industry from Dow’s perspective.

“Through its AMINE MANAGEMENT Program (AMP), Dow offers customers comprehensive gas sweetening services with offerings tailored for use during the plant design, start-up and operational phases,” says Samaha.

“The AMP is a comprehensive service program that targets the gas treating amine systems to achieve environmental compliance while improving reliability, reducing energy costs and preserving the integrity of assets,” he adds.

The AMP includes simulation services using proprietary Dow software, chemical sample testing and analysis performed in Dow laboratories, and a broad range of Dow solvent technologies.

The company offers solvents for treating natural gas, unconventional gas, refinery gas, and liquid hydrocarbon treating. Dow solvents treat 60% of all LNG from the Middle East.

Dow is the only gas treating solvent supplier that has its own solvent purification system to reduce heat stable amine salts, the UCARSEP™ Process, says Samaha.

This electrodialysis purification system treats a slipstream from the amine system while the system is still running to preserve the amine solution’s functionality while avoiding costly shutdown time.

Samaha argues that in the face of challenging environmental regulations and evolving market demands, refineries will have to deal with complex and growing challenges.

For example, varying crude slate, in conjunction with tightening environmental regulations for sulfur and CO2 emissions, can put substantial pressure on refineries to meet margin expectations.

“Sulfur removal is critical, not only for meeting gas specifications but for minimizing sulfur emissions,” he says.

There is also increased interest in evaluating options to reuse CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The world scale gas plants in the region are potential sources of CO2 at a higher purity and pressure than is available from combustion flue gas.

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Wagon Wheels
Etihad Rail, has received the first shipment of wagons, to be used in Stage One of the rail project linking Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in the Western Region arrived at the start of the year at Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port.

Commenting on the arrival of the cargo, H.E. Dr. Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail said, “Etihad Rail’s wagons were carefully manufactured and designed based on several studies and integrated research efforts conducted in collaboration with Etihad Rail’s different suppliers, leading us to adopt some of the most advanced rail technologies available in the world.

The rail project will change the face of transportation in the UAE, playing a significant role in building a sustainable economy by promoting growth in various business sectors, providing jobs for the local workforce, and contributing to environmental preservation, since one fully loaded train produces 70-80% less CO2 emissions than that of the trucks required to transport the same tonnage.”

Etihad Rail contracted China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) last year to supply 240 covered wagons for the transport of granulated sulphur in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

The wagons were designed with the highest available safety standards to accommodate the core purpose of Stage One, the transport of granulated sulphur.

The wagons’ top-hatch covers for loading maintain the purity of the sulphur at 99.9%. Furthermore, train transport allows for a capacity of up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur per day. It would take 360 trucks to transport the equivalent tonnage.

The recently inaugurated Khalifa Port, constructed by ADPC, will be linked to Etihad Rail’s network during Stage Two of Etihad Rail’s construction process.
Linking Abu Dhabi’s ports with the Etihad Rail network will create a multi-modal transportation system that will contribute to Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

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Trigen in Focus
Maersk Oil and Siemens join forces on clean technology. Maersk Oil moved forward with a unique project that aims to not only enhance oil recovery and unlock stranded gas fields but also generate zero-emission electricity for local populations.

The project could unlock promising opportunities for Maersk Oil in the Middle East and South East Asia.

Maersk Oil has rights to an innovative power generator, whose technology is derived from the space industry, which burns gas with pure oxygen to produce electricity, clean water and CO2.

The CO2 is captured, making the power generation emission-free, and used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).Siemens will be building the turbines specially adapted to the combustion process to significantly increase the efficiency of the electricity produced.

The agreement brings on board a world class manufacturer and recognised innovator in the power sector to accelerate deployment of the technology to global markets.

It will help mature the TriGen technology to a stage where it can be used widely and commercially according to Ali Vezvaei, Siemens Executive Vice President for oil & gas operations in Middle East and North Africa.

“Our goal is to be able to offer a unique product that for the first time joins oil and gas production together with power generation in one integrated project.

This offers not just zero-emission electricity and pure water but also the ability to extract oil and gas that would otherwise be non-producible through EOR/EGR,” he says.

“It is an ideal solution for water-parched Gulf states that have reservoirs that can benefit from CO2 driven EOR. It is also well suited for countries in South East Asia where many stranded contaminated gas fields could be unlocked using the flexible TriGen technology,” he adds.

In the Middle East, Siemens and its partners are investigating whether TriGen’s low cost CO2 can enable EOR projects.

Gulf countries in particular have increasingly focused on clean energy, while many of their oil and gas reservoirs are suited for CO2-EOR and nitrogen or CO2 based EGR.

Here, gas would be burned to produce clean power and water for households. Nitrogen, a by-product from the production of pure oxygen, and CO2 would be supplied to oil fields – nitrogen to maintain the pressure in depleting reservoirs and CO2 as the EOR agent coaxing out oil that would otherwise not be recovered.

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Mission Critical
A few years ago, Honeywell was selected to help the Abu Dhabi Gas Development Company to achieve safe and efficient, production at the Shah Gas Development Project.

To help reduce the risk of safety incidents, Honeywell provided its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) and Safety Manager Technologies, which could be integrated to give personnel a complete view of process and safety information across the site.

Honeywell has also been designing, engineering, and implementing a broad range of technologies and advanced applications to streamline the huge project’s operations.

“The automation system and the wireless systems are very important for success, because of the gas, we are dealing with and the quality of the gas and of course, the safety around the gas. It’s very critical,” says Norm Gilsdorf president of Honeywell Process Solutions.

“The systems help us to measure the environment that the workers are in – and the gas concentrations throughout the plant, the only way to do that was with wireless solutions.

Honeywell’s wireless technologies have been a huge value-add to the Shah Gas project.

“The technology has been driven because of the gas into a new kind of an enterprise and environment where wireless technology now enables you to do something that would have been very difficult to do wired,” he says.

“We created a wireless network right from the beginning, both there and in Houston where some of the engineering was done.

So we used the testing in the configuring of the system as a way to train the customer, we invited him in right at the beginning to participate, watch and learn at the same time.”

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