In February 2010 Petrofac was awarded the FEED and design study for a gas field located in the province of Mary Welayaty, approximately 75 km South-East of the provincial capital Mary in Turkmenistan. The project involved the initial design and feasibility studies for facilities to produce 20 BCMA of sales gas. Here we provide a detailed overview of Petrofac’s largest EPC project to date.
Navigating challenges to support success
Due to the aggressive schedule of the project (33 months start to finish), and logistics challenges, the successful completion of the project relies heavily on the early procurement of items to ensure timely arrival and to prevent any construction and erection delays.
Turkmenistan is a land-locked country, so a comprehensive logistics assessment by a specialised logistics team was undertaken to assist in the safe and timely delivery of all shipments. The large bulk of the materials has resulted in all modes of transportation (shipping by sea and river, air-freight, as well as vehicle transportation on land) are being utilised.
The local language in Turkmenistan is Turkmen, with Russian commonly known and an acceptable language for official purposes. Due to this, all project documentation is presented in dual language, with a dedicated team in place for translation to ensure that document approvals are expedited in a timely fashion.
Another challenge was plot plan optimisation due to the fact that the plant is located in the desert. The shifting winds create sand dunes which range from two to 20 metres in height and may be several kilometres in length. Chains of such structures are common, as are steep elevations and smooth, concrete-like clay deposits formed by the rapid evaporation of flood waters in the same area over a number of years. This was also compounded by the fact that Petrofac’s plant ties in with adjacent facilities; therefore the design of the plot plan had to ensure the accessibility of tie-in locations to the other two companies working on the development.
Maximising local content
In keeping with Petrofac’s aim to enable and develop the communities of the countries in which it operates, South Yoloten has a high level of local involvement, with more than 70% of the team being local. To ensure this is sustained, Petrofac has been involved in developing and delivering training materials for those personnel who will be involved in the project. The training content was developed by engineers working for Petrofac as well as vendors supplying the equipment to ensure the material is all encompassing of all required information for the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the plant. Petrofac also deployed engineers and vendors to deliver classroom based training to those personnel undertaking the programmes.
Focus on safe operations
Due to the large size of the plant and the high sour gas content (4.5% H²S), and consistent with Petrofac’s focus on maintaining the safety of all personnel involved in its projects, HSSE has been a high priority through all the stages of the project, from the initial design of the plant to the construction practices utilised. Personnel have also been trained through emergency and evacuation drills to ensure that all involved are knowledgeable about the practices involved in the event of an emergency.
Recently, Petrofac teams in Turkmenistan put their evacuation protocols into practice by undertaking a major crisis management exercise. The exercise simulated conditions for an incident involving mass casualties, air evacuation and medical personnel. Petrofac demonstrated its readiness and capability for a rapid response in the event of a major emergency situation.
The South Yoloten gas field is a greenfield site with no existing facilities. Plants similar to Petrofac’s, are currently being built by HEC and CNPC with tie-ins to Petrofac’s plant. The plants developed by the other two companies have a capacity of 10 BCMA each, while the plant being developed by Petrofac also has a capacity of 10 BCMA. This brings the total production capacity to 30 BCMA. Sales gas will be co-mingled, metered and exported via a common export pipeline.