29 May, 2012
“We are delighted to have secured the Kauther gas depletion compression project. This award serves to further reinforce our commitment to the Omani market, gives us continuity of business in the Sultanate and again highlights Petrofac’s continued competitiveness in the Middle East.”
These were the words of Maroun Semaan, President, in July 2009 when we were awarded a contract for the Kauther gas-field depletion compression (KDC) project.
Fast forward to 28 May 2012 when the KDC team achieved a notable milestone with the introduction of hydrocarbons into the new plant.
Project Director Elie Lahoud shares Kauther’s latest news:
Following three years of commitment and dedication from the teams involved in the project, we were pleased to mark the introduction of hydrocarbons to the KDC plant. The Petrofac team is working alongside Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) on commissioning the plant.
KDC is the second project at the Kauther site where Petrofac has undertaken an Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) project for PDO on behalf of the Government of Oman. The first Kauther gas plant project was completed in 2007 then, in early 2008, we undertook the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the KDC project and were later awarded the EPC contract.
The original Kauther gas plant was designed to process 20 million standard cubic metres per day of gas (c. 706 million standard cubic feet per day). Comprising a single gas conditioning and dehydration train, the plant exports gas into the Government gas grid and the unstabilised condensate and water are exported as a mixed stream to a slugcatcher and degassing vessels within the existing Saih Rawl facility.
As the Kauther field depletes, the depletion compression facilities will ensure longer term sustainability of the field. These new facilities comprise; two depletion compression trains, an inlet separation system, a condensate handling system, new control system, upgraded utilities and a complete electrical infrastructure to handle the compressors’ variable frequency drives, with the requisite filters to address the generated harmonics.
At the start of the project, we brought together many of the engineering resources that had worked on either the initial gas plant project or the depletion compression FEED. This retained knowledge was beneficial to our overall technical delivery as well as to strengthening our relationship with PDO.
Although the depletion compression project might not be classified as a mega project, due to the plant capacity and the specifics of the process, the project had some of the largest and most complex equipment and material supplied by Petrofac. The depletion compressors had 18MW variable speed drives (VSD). The VSD cooling system is elaborate, as is the massive harmonics filtration system. In addition, the substation building is almost the size of a football pitch and the piping systems are significant in large bore alloys (up to 48") and high wall thickness (up to 40mm).
Foresight in risk management
Our ability to identify potential risks early also helped to mitigate many of the challenges faced on the project. One particular success story is the fabrication and shipping of the high pressure (HP) vessels. The fabrication shop for the vessels in Asia was in close proximity to a jetty for ease of transport. Subsequent fabrication delays meant that the monsoon season and severe storms would arrive prior to the completion of fabrication. This would have delayed the transport of the vessels by several months. Given the importance of the schedule, we decided to ship the partly completed HP vessels (180mm thick) by barge, much earlier than planned, to another port where the final works were completed. The vessels were later shipped safely to Oman where their transportation required each vessel to be pulled by three prime movers with a fourth pushing from the back to traverse the steep terrain before getting to site in time for construction. A significant logistics exercise!
Strength in construction
One of the success factors of any EPC project is having a strong construction operation. We were fortunate to secure the services of our local construction partner, Al Hassan, for the KDC project. It is an Oman based company, with values that are aligned with our own and, very importantly, their team shares our delivery focus. Equally important was the role played by our own construction resources in managing the site HSSE and the construction works. As many of our construction team members were also involved in the initial gas plant project, they brought key local knowledge and continuity to this phase.
Early involvement from the completions team
From the outset, we also had our completions and operations personnel embedded in the site team to provide seamless transition through to the project commissioning phase. This was instrumental in achieving timely introduction of hydrocarbons.
2012 also marks the eighth year of our relationship with PDO’s gas department. We believe the close working relationship with our counterparts at PDO, their equal focus on delivery and safety as well as a one team approach underpin much of what we have collectively achieved through our journey at Kauther.
Utilising local resources
Throughout the project, we have focused on using local resources at all stages of procurement and construction. We have also been able to provide employment opportunities for residents in the vicinity of the project and from the nearby Al-Zahiya village where we have worked closely with the local community.
Our time on the Kauther projects in Oman has been a truly enriching experience for our teams who have come to value and embrace the Omani culture. As we work to conclude our commissioning activities and presence at Kauther, it is our hope that we continue to have a strong presence in this market for the long term.