x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Plant arrives for Dh40bn Abu Dhabi gas project

An $11 billion project to connect gas from offshore fields to land is nearing completion with cargo arriving today at Das Island from South Korea.

Here is the Kore Express barge carrying the second set of modules to Das Island. These are the modules that were shipped from Ulsan, Korea on May 31, 2012 and are now being installed on Das Island as prefabricated modules.

Courtesy ADGAS
Here is the Kore Express barge carrying the second set of modules to Das Island. These are the modules that were shipped from Ulsan, Korea on May 31, 2012 and are now being installed on Das Island as prefabricated modules. Courtesy ADGAS

The Korea Express left its home port last month, winding its way through the ocean as workers on a distant island in Abu Dhabi raced to make room for the vessel's cargo.

On Das Island, the hub for the emirate's offshore oil and gas industry, workers built up the shore with rocks from Ras Al Khaimah and long steel pilings, extending the tiny strip of land by 700 metres to the west.

The industrial barge's load - three huge steel structures that twist and turn like giant pieces of gym equipment - arrived yesterday, just a week after the foundations were finished.

The delivery is part of a US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) project to increase the emirate's natural gas supply that is in its final stages.

Called the Integrated Gas Development, it is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's project to bring more fuel to the emirate required for power generation and to increase oil production at fields where natural gas is a by-product.

On its scheduled completion next August it will connect offshore fields to dry land through Das Island and includes gas processing plants onshore at Ruwais, underwater pipelines and facilities to strip sulphur from the gas, most of which will come from the Umm Shaif field.

The project is on schedule, said Fahim Kazim, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). Adnoc is studying other ways to increase gas capacity and will soon complete its review, he added.

"The potential for the future is coming from the offshore," he said.

"There is a pressing demand for the gas, so I think there is a high pressure for this review to be completed."

Abu Dhabi sits on the world's fifth-biggest conventional gas reserves but has growing needs for fuel to generate enough power for its residents. It is also locked in to long-term gas export contracts.

To meet demand, it imports gas from Qatar by pipeline and is developing the challenging Shah sour gasfield, a $10bn project. The emirate also plans to build a gas import terminal in Fujairah and is building a $20bn nuclear power plant.

Abu Dhabi has "no way" to increase gas exports, said Mr Kazim.

The land reclamation began in 2010 but work was held up because of the weather. During construction, dredgers pulled up sand from 20km west of Das Island.

"We were nervous," said Mr Kazim of the project.

"We can't have the modules shipped without having the land."

Building the foundations, which rise 12 metres above sea level, was challenging because of nearby oil and gas pipelines.

The modules that arrived yesterday will be patched together with others en route from Ulsan, Hyundai Heavy Industries' production site on the east coast of South Korea.

ayee@thenational.ae

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