Image courtesy Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
The Ghasha mega project carries a multi-billion-dollar price tag and is expected to play a vital role in meeting the UAE’s gas self-sufficiency objective. Approved by the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), the integrated gas strategy aims to unlock and maximize value from Abu Dhabi’s substantial natural gas reserves. It is also noteworthy for plans to utilize digitalization and artificial intelligence to safeguard operations.
By David Sear
According to ADNOC, the Ghasha mega-project is the world’s largest offshore sour gas development and will underpin the UAE’s self-sufficiency objectives. Estimated to hold significant recoverable gas reserves, the Ghasha mega-project is expected to produce more than 1.5 billion standard cubic feet (bscfd) of natural gas per day. With this production, it will be instrumental in providing electricity to more than two million homes in the UAE by around the middle of the decade.
Fuelling strategic partnerships
The Ghasha mega-project draws on ADNOC’s long-standing sour gas expertise, including its Shah onshore ultra-sour gas field project, its pioneering work in the creation of artificial islands, and the wide and deep sour gas capabilities of its concession partners.
To expand ADNOC’s sour gas experience, the company has entered into strategic partnerships with global companies that have proven sour gas capabilities. ADNOC indicates that the concession has attracted significant foreign direct investment from four major partners: Italy’s ENI (25%), Germany’s Wintershall Dea (10%), Austria’s OMV (5%), and Russia’s LUKOIL (5%).
Protecting marine habitats
The Ghasha ultra-sour gas concession comprises the Hail, Ghasha, Dalma, Nasr, Satah al Razboot (SARB), Bu Haseer, Shuweihat, and Mubarraz offshore sour gas fields in Abu Dhabi. As infrastructure was required to further develop, drill, and produce from the sour gas fields in the first phase of the Ghasha concession, ADNOC awarded the dredging, land reclamation, and marine construction contract to build multiple artificial islands to the UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC). The ambitious undertaking of building artificial islands for this project allows greater flexibility for an extended reach drilling and fewer wells, when compared to conventional offshore operations. In addition, the use of artificial islands will eliminate the need to dredge over 100 locations for wells and will provide habitats for marine life.
At the forefront of digitization
The Ghasha mega-project will use smart technology across all operations so that ADNOC’s operators, technicians, and site personnel can remotely access key activities across the project. Not only does the digital approach optimize work procedures and strengthen data integration, but it also improves real-time decision-making from sub-surface to drill centers and ground facilities.
The project’s remote facilities will be operated from a central control center in Al Manayif so that technical personnel can respond promptly whenever interventions are required. It will be one of the largest automation control systems in the Middle East, controlling all offshore and onshore operations. It is projected to handle information from more than 100,000 inputs and outputs that cover both analogs and digital.
The project is the first oil and gas project in the world that will be a 100% unmanned operation for offshore facilities. It will use high-tech sensors, drones, rail cameras, and inspection robots. All robots, drones, and other moving vessels will be micro-chipped and monitored from the central control room located onshore.
The project will use artificial intelligence such as predictive maintenance for all critical rotating equipment. It will also see the deployment and maximization of the Digital Twin technology to enhance onshore and offshore operation efficiency.
Sour gas standards
Sulfur exists in natural gas as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and the gas is usually considered sour if the hydrogen sulfide content exceeds 5.7 milligrams of H2S per cubic meter of natural gas. The process for removing hydrogen sulfide from sour gas is commonly referred to as ‘sweetening’ the gas.
Sour gas is undesirable because the sulfur compounds it contains can be extremely harmful, even lethal, to breathe. Sour gas can also be extremely corrosive.
MR0175 is a federally mandated standard in the United States and is globally recognized as ISO 15156. MR0175/ISO 15156 address requirements and recommendations for selection and qualification of materials for H2S service in oil and natural gas production. MR0175 addresses all forms of cracking caused by H2S and applies to equipment using conventional elastic design criteria.
The standard addresses requirements and recommendations for the selection and qualification of carbon and low-alloy steels, corrosion-resistant alloys, and other alloys for service in equipment used in oil and natural gas production and natural gas treatment plants in H2S-containing environments.
About this featured story
This featured story is an article originally published in Valve World India & Middle East journal (January 2023 issue). Interested in reading more articles about technical developments, company presentations, case histories, etc? Then why not take a print subscription or a free digital subscription? DIGITAL MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW FREE.
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