A Brighter Future

Shell's commitment to ADIPEC remains as strong as ever

Futuristic car designs with environmentally friendly fuel options is usually on display.
Futuristic car designs with environmentally friendly fuel options is usually on display.

The International Supermajor got off to a shaky start this year with the grounding of the Kulluk drilling unit in Alaska. But its fortunes turned were turned around in April when it was selected to develop the Bab Sour Gas project in Abu Dhabi.

The decision which had been prorogued since 2007, has given Shell a considerable critical boost in the United Arab Emirates. The project itself costs approximately $10 billion and will include the installation of a new gas-processing and treatment plant, including a gathering system and sulphur-recovery facilities, able to process 1 billion standard cubic feet per day.

Located 15 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi city, the Bab field is one of the largest non-associated gas fields in the emirates, but equally one of the most technically sophisticated and dangerous. The field contains nearly 15 per cent hydrogen sulphide and 50 per cent of carbon-dioxide. The field is in relative proximity of the UAE’s capital and there is no room for error.

“This was one of our key new initiatives and I am proud that it’s become a part of the next stage of its evolution,” says Andrew Vaughan, the newly appointed vice president of Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Syria and the Country Chairman of Abu Dhabi.

“The company has a strong track record in delivering complex sour gas projects safely, on time and on budget based on the integration of our vast operation experience and with technologies covering the whole sour gas value chain.”

The complex will yield 520 mmscfd of sales gas for delivery to the domestic distribution network by 2020. ADNOC will hold a 60 per cent interest in the field and Shell will hold the remaining 40 per cent.

In addition to participating in Abu Dhabi’s sour gas field development, Shell will be assisting the Emirate’s Economic Vision 2030, which outlines increasing viability of domestic gas production as the region moves to develop cleaner sources of energy.

Shell’s strong position amongst the super-majors is made possibly thanks to its commitment to innovation. “We are leading the IOCs in research and development, others are catching up in that sense because they have recognised the need as well. But we are still leading by quite a margin. You can also see that in the number of patents, and that’s where the rubber hits the road,” says Gerald Schotman, Shell’s head of R&D and chief technology officer.

Shortly after announcing the Bab field award, Shell was awarded another contract with Mitsubishi to develop Iraq’s gas-flare reduction project. Basrah Gas Company brought on Shell and Mitsubishi to capture associated gas that is currently being flared from three oil fields in southern Iraq – Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair.

Iraq has estimated natural gas reserves totalling 112.6 trillion cubic feet, the 10th largest in the world, however the country’s gas capture and production infrastructure has been marginalised by decades of wars and sanctions. Basrah procures approximately 1 billion cubic feet of associated gas and some 700 million cubic feet are flared, millions of dollars are literally going up in smoke, every day.

Shell has taken great strides to move into natural gas over the last year. The company’s efforts all came to a head this year, when Chief Executive Officer, Peter Voser announced that he would step down at the beginning of 2014 to be replaced by Ben van Beurden. With his passion and experience in the development of Natural Gas, the company has set sail towards developing cleaner fuels.

On the subject of being sea-bound, just last month, Dubai Drydocks delivered the first module, the bogie support structure for Shell’s massive Prelude FLNG project to be assembled in Korea and deployed around Australia.

In addition to driving into the LNG sector, Shell also strengthened its downstream business this month by naming John Abbott as Downstream Director. Abbott will become a member of the Company’s Executive Committee and will take over from Ben van Beurden who, as previously mentioned, becomes Chief Executive Officer with effect from January 1, 2014.

Despite the massive changes that the company has seen over the last year, it’s commitment to ADIPEC remains the same. Peter Voser will be speaking at the Business Conference that will focus on strategic alliances across global gas and oil frontiers, and the company will continue to run a series of workshops as it has in the past.

In numbers:
- $10bln the expected project value of the Bab Sour Gas Field
- 116.2 Iraq could hold this many trillion cft of gas

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Oil & Gas Middle East - September 2020

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