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Sun 20 Sep 2015 07:27 PM

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Saudi Aramco almost completes Wasit project, awaits offshore gas - sources

Gas from Wasit would help meet domestic demand during the kingdom's peak summer season

Saudi Aramco almost completes Wasit project, awaits offshore gas - sources
Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco has almost finished the construction of its giant Wasit gas project but is processing gas from the Karan gas field and not from the offshore fields designated to feed the gas plant, industry sources said.

In April, industry sources said the national oil company had started testing parts of the plant with gas from Aramco's Master Gas System (MGS), raising hopes that gas from Wasit would help meet domestic demand during the kingdom's peak summer season.

One industry source familiar with the matter said the plant is not expected to start processing non-associated gas, which contains no oil, from offshore sour gas fields Arabiyah and Hasbah before the end of the year due to technical difficulties.

Gas from Arabiyah and Hasbah has a high hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide content which Aramco needs to strip from the sales gas, or methane, by a process that passes through monoethylene glycol (MEG) and diglycolamine (DGA) units.

"If these plants are not scaled to the required capacity to remove all the H2S and C02 content of the Wasit inlet gas, it would mean the sales gas impurities would be higher than what the national gas grid can accept," said Sadad al-Husseini, a former senior executive at Saudi Aramco.

"The solution would be to expand the capacity of these units and process a smaller volume of inlet gas in the interim period," he said.

"This is not a big technical issue but it means the project will not operate at full capacity until the sour gas processing expansion is completed."

"This delay is not critical because the peak gas demand season is now almost over and because gas reserves are huge and Aramco has always been committed to maintaining very strict standards of plant safety and reliability," said Husseini.

Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the report.

The Wasit gas programme is split into several offshore and onshore units. Onshore Aramco has built a central processing facility, natural gas liquids fractionation facilities and a sulphur recovery unit.

The Hasbah field has much higher H2 and CO2 than Arabiyah.

From its seven single-well platforms, it feeds the gas processing facility up to 1.3 billion standard cubic feet per day (scfd) while Arabiyah provides around 1.2 billion scfd.

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