With CAPEX globally expected to reach around $1.13trn by 2025, the future looks bright for natural gas projects.However up to a third of the world’s natural gas reserves contain high concentrations of sour and contaminated gas, with the Middle East a region where such fields are prevalent. In the UAE, which holds the world’s fifth largest gas reserves, approximately 214trn cubic feet, a large proportion is sour and requires considerable treatment before being suitable for use.
Consequently, recent announcements from ADNOC and its ambitious integrated gas strategy, including its partnerships with Eni, Wintershall and OMV in the Ghasha ultra-sour gas concession and Total in the Ruwais Diyab concession, and their further intentions to develop Bab and Bu Hasa within the $20bn sour gas field development not only indicate the importance of sour hydrocarbon and unconventional field development, but also add to the strategy to make the UAE gas self-sufficient and ultimately a net gas exporter by 2025.
This growth will also include the development of the second phase of ADNOC LNG‘s IGD project to add 245mn cfd of associated gas in addition to ADNOC awarding Occidental Onshore Block 3 for exploration and subsequent processing. Block 3 is adjacent to the Shah, Asab Haliba and Sahl fields and has very promising potential
Sour field developments are also ongoing in KSA, Oman and Kuwait for similar reasons, and these plans and technical experiences will be incorporated in the various presentations in the SOGAT 2019 conference. A new novel technology approach to address ultra sour fields will be presented using a hybrid process with state of the art H2S removal membranes to perform separation of H2S upstream followed by small amine and claus plants. This could be an ideal solution where unique membranes have ability to withstand high H2S environments without altering their performance.
These membranes will separate H2S enriched stream which is ideal for reinjection or potentially used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). The membranes retain maximum hydrocarbons in the high-pressure product gas which very valuable in gas production. Low pressure H2S rich stream is water dry and can be re-injected directly.
It is well known that oil flow is cash flow and Schlumberger will present their findings in bringing sour oil to production more quickly with a new, modular, transportable, upgradeable and connectable system that performed in record times in the Far East and Kurdistan. In both cases, the facilities quickly generated positive cash flow to finance and sustain ongoing and upcoming field development and enhanced reservoir knowledge to optimise future field development.
Other new developments include a presentation from INEOS on a novel technology which can greatly reduce amine plants losses experienced through vaporisation. Operational excellence in the sulphur recovery units is the theme of a presentation from Aspentech showing benefits for the refining and petrochemical sectors with the unified sulphur business process for improved operation and maximisation of technology can be achieved by implementing various novel digital technologies like adaptive process control technology, process simulation and process historian for all the units in the sulphur recovery systems including sour water strippers and amine treatment units .
However amines and the widespread use of chemicals also bring downstream operating challenges which negatively impact plant reliability and availability. There will be a presentation on a new proprietary gas processing technology that provides a reliable, low-maintenance alternative to chemical based technologies, providing safety, sustainability and economic benefits.
ADNOC Gas Processing will also present their views within the conference programme on innovative alternatives to claus with tail gas treatment processing technology for high H2S fields, which is an energy intensive process, with alternative routes for H2S decomposition as well as developing value added products, primarily hydrogen.
This new technology theme will continue in the associated exhibition with CSI Ametek, who will display their new ICOn degassing technology which reduces personnel exposure to H2S in sulphur storage and handling in addition to many other benefits.