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The ever increasing international demand for gas to boost output for feedstock for power generation and petrochemical industry development is underlined by the fact that over $70bn of gas production contracts are to be awarded over the next five years throughout the Middle East alone. Thus with gas being the primary energy source in the region, attention is increasingly turning to unconventionals with pilot projects in shale gas planned, tight gas development gaining pace and sour gas field evaluation increasing throughout the region. In all cases optimum action in developing such reserves involves an integrated approach using multiple technology solutions to ensure quality project design, cost efficiency and process performance throughout the drive to deliver usable gas.

Of particular interest is the recent announcement that the Bab sour gas field in the UAE expects to start production in 2020, which when functioning will add 520 million scuf of usable gas to the UAE’s supply. However the Bab reservoir is not only extremely technically challenging but is even more sour than the Shah Field and given its location close to cities there is no margin for error. With Shah expected to start up in Q4 2014, the lessons learned in its development will be employed in the various other sour UAE projects under consideration including Shuwaihat and Hail. 

Shah Project

Ongoing projects elsewhere in the region include the Mabrouk Deep Gas discovery and the Khazzan Gas Project in Oman, and the Manifa Project with production of 90 million scuf sour gas per day in KSA will require the expansion of the Khursaniyah gas processing facility. Also Saudi Aramco are to build a new gas plant at the Al Fadhili Field with a processing capability of 1 billion scuf/day.

Phase 12 of South Pars in Iran is projected to yield 81 million mcm of sour gas and enhanced gas processing facilities will be needed at the Khor Al Zubar plant as a result of the development of the Majoon field in South Iraq. Similar requirements will be needed when the Siba field, also located in South Iraq is functioning.

The $1.5bn Jurassic Gas project in Northern Kuwait is slowly developing and is now progressing given the country’s power generation needs currently being covered by imported gas. Also recent important finds at the Al Radeef and Barzan fields in Qatar have added to the capabilities of Qatar’s major gas producing status; the latter field being developed by RasGas at an estimated cost of $10.3bn will be one of the technically challenging projects in the region.

However sour gas exploration and production is not limited to the Middle East given the considerable concentrations of sour hydrocarbons located in Central and SE Asia, NW Australia, Central USA and North Africa.

These various sour field developments will mean that the associated sulphur production in the Middle East alone is expected to increase by some 44% by 2017. Moreover the technologies involved in sour field management and production are always progressing and the latest developments across the whole management spectrum will be demonstrated by papers being presented in the SOGAT 2014 Conference on acid gas removal, carbon capture concepts which is particularly relevant given the recent agreement between MASDAR and ADNOC to develop CO2 usage in EOR and associated greenhouse gases benefits, new SRU control techniques and SRU plant start ups, sour gas to sulphuric acid developments, amine unit challenges, HSE and emergency response technology and novel aspects in sulphur management, plus many other practical case studies of process issues and their solutions.

Also as with previous years, Workshops on topical issues will be presented in the first two days of SOGAT 2014 and such subjects as real life experiences with sulphur plant operations and lessons learned, amine treatment for H2S and CO2 removal, contaminant filtration and separation, sulphur forming, handling and conveying facilities, sour gas treatment and process optimization, and gas compression will be presented and debated so as to give attendees an in-depth insight into better understanding the technical requirements. 

The SOGAT Exhibition will see a number of the world’s leading vendors and suppliers returning to support the event together with new exhibitors participating for the first time.

Thus SOGAT 2014, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary, will focus on all the latest new aspects of sour oil and gas processing at a time when the number of international projects is on the increase and for the first time the conference will feature an official closing ceremony that will include a keynote closing address, awards for best paper presented and recognition for the support of the SOGAT event over the years among other features.


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