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Tue 7 Jul 2009 01:39 AM

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Aramco to start gas plant expansion Sept - sources

UPDATE 1: Project delay due to reported difficulties during commissioning process.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to start up the expanded Juaymah gas plant in September, a few months later than last scheduled, sources working on the project said on Monday."Difficulties during the mechanical commissioning caused the delay," one source told Reuters.

The plant was last scheduled to start up in June, after several delays from the initial schedule to start in the first quarter of 2008.

Aramco is boosting capacity at Juaymah by around 50 percent to handle increased volumes of petrochemical feedstock ethane and light oils that form when gas is extracted, called natural gas liquids (NGLs).

The expansion at Juaymah will add 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) of additional capacity to the Juaymah plant, taking capacity there to 815,000 bpd.

The increased ethane and NGL output comes from the expansion of the Hawiyah gas plant and the construction of the Khursaniyah gas plant.

The Hawiyah gas plant expansion will start up by August-September, a source working on the project said.

The plant will process an additional 800 million cubic feet per day (cfd) of non-associated gas, raising the plant's capacity to 2.4 billion cfd.

"Mechanical completion of the plant will be by the end of August," he said.

The Hawiyah gas plant expansion follows a new plant to separate NGLs from gas that came on line late last year.

The Khursaniyah gas plant was due to start in October, delayed nearly two years from the planned start date of December 2007. That plant would process 1 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) Khursaniyah oilfield, which began production last year. (Reuters)

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