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Oil chief says gas supply crucial

Boosting Abu Dhabi's gas supply is crucial if the emirate is to implement its masterplan for economic development in the next two decades, says ADNOC chief.

Boosting Abu Dhabi's gas supply is crucial if the emirate is to implement its masterplan for economic development in the next two decades, says a senior executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). In a rare overview of ADNOC's gas programme, Ismail al Ramahi, the manager of the company's gas processing division, said Abu Dhabi was pursuing four major strategies for boosting gas supplies and was making progress on all fronts. "We went back to the drawing board to develop ideas to get more gas to [the UAE] and Abu Dhabi," he said yesterday in a keynote address to the Gas Arabia Summit in the capital. "The innovative projects will put Abu Dhabi on the map in the field of gas."

ADNOC is developing a major project to integrate gas production from the onshore and offshore fields from which it also pumps most of its oil. It aims to bring as much as 1 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of offshore gas ashore, where it could be used to fuel the expanding power and industrial sectors. Currently, much of the gas produced from the emirate's Gulf oilfields is converted at facilities on Das Island into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export by tanker.

Mr al Ramahi said Abu Dhabi produced 6 billion cfd of gas, which is mostly used for domestic power generation and industry, and for re-injection into oilfields to push out more crude. ADNOC's 4.7 million to 5.8 million tonnes of annual LNG exports, which are the Emirates's only gas exports, leave more than 5 billion cfd of gas for domestic consumption. Even so, the UAE, with the world's sixth-largest reserves, is a net importer, as it receives about 2 billion cfd of Qatari gas via undersea pipeline built by Abu Dhabi's Dolphin Energy.

Mr al Ramahi said the first stage of ADNOC's integrated gas project would be completed by the end of next month, with the second stage slated to start up in 2013. Yesterday, GE Oil and Gas, a unit of the US technology and services conglomerate GE, said it had won a US$200 million (Dh734m) contract from South Korea's Hyundai Engineering and Construction for gas turbines and services to support the integrated gas project.

To increase Abu Dhabi's gas supply by a further 540 million cfd, ADNOC and the US oil firm ConocoPhillips last year launched a $10 billion joint venture to develop the Shah sour-gas deposit in the emirate's south-western region. Mr al Ramahi forecast first gas production from the project in late 2013 or early 2014. "We are progressing smoothly," he said. Several other projects involving ADNOC relate to the use of gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen to squeeze crude from mature oilfields. Abu Dhabi's fourth tactic for boosting gas supply was to negotiate long-term gas imports from Qatar. In December, Dolphin Energy said it was in talks with Qatar Petroleum to increase its gas supply by up to 15 per cent.

@Email:tcarlisle@thenational.ae

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