The Ghazeer project in Oman is special in several ways. As well as coming in well ahead of schedule and within budget, and having an impeccable safety record, sustainability was an important theme. We take a look behind the scenes at some of the project’s environmentally-friendly initiatives and the business-minded motivation behind them
HOW WE WORK
WORDS PETER HALLIDAY
IMAGES GILLIAN BLEASE
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2020
“These days, everyone’s talking about sustainability,” says Mohammed Shaheen, Construction Director on the Ghazeer project. “As a project leader, this is a welcome development because, usually, things that are good for the environment are also good for business.
“Anything you can do to be more efficient and less wasteful will typically be good for the environment. And finding imaginative ways to save time and money has always been the Petrofac way. So, you could say I’ve spent my entire career implementing environmentally-friendly initiatives.”
With a project like Ghazeer, located some 300 kilometres from the nearest city, one of the biggest opportunities is to minimise transportation. By reducing the number of trucks travelling to and from the site, big savings can be secured, which translates directly into environmental dividends. And by working smarter, several other benefits can be achieved.
Here are four ways the Ghazeer team together with Petrofac’s construction subcontractor CCC managed to do well by doing good.
In the completions phase of a project, a plant is prepared for commissioning and start-up. As part of the process, a series of critical tests are run, which often involve the flaring of hydrocarbons directly into the atmosphere.
With Ghazeer a Green Completions concept was deployed.
During the well testing operations, hydrocarbons were not flared into the atmosphere. Instead, they were routed to the live production facility and, from there, fed into Oman’s gas supply infrastructure.
bp estimates that, as a result of adopting this approach, some 201,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were eliminated – the equivalent to removing 44,000 cars from the road for an entire year.
Also, for future projects, this has the potential to become a routine procedure whenever a live production facility is located nearby.
Normally, for a project of this type, the work camp would be powered by a battalion of diesel generators. These would, of course, emit a considerable volume of carbon dioxide. And a large quantity of diesel would also need to be transported, by road, to the remote site to keep them fed.
For the Ghazeer project, it was agreed that the electrical power could, instead, be drawn from the Phase 1 facility. With its own gas turbine driven generators and electricity grid, there would be more than enough energy on tap, via overhead lines, to power the Petrofac work camp. This eliminated the need for eight generators to be operational.
As well as providing much cleaner energy, this arrangement would avoid the need for millions of litres of diesel to be driven all the way to the site in tankers.
The environmental benefits were considerable. Without the need to run eight generators 24x7, the initiative saved an estimated 10,000 litres of diesel every single day, equating to a total 17,350 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions. And, with fewer diesel tankers driving to and from the site, there were also safety benefits.
In the future, the approach can also be replicated on other sites where it is possible to tap-in to an alternative power source.
For a project of this size and type, a large volume of waste concrete is always generated. Typically, it is then hauled to a waste facility. And, in the case of the Ghazeer project, the nearest such facility was more than 250 km away.
To avoid the associated costs, complexities and emissions, the project team came up with an ingenious way of crushing the waste concrete onsite and mixing it with surplus soil. It was then used to construct safety berms around the project perimeter, and to even out the terrain across the site.
This initiative eliminated the need for an estimated 944 lorry journeys, each one of which would have entailed a 500 km round-trip. It therefore saved an estimated 92,512 litres of diesel, equating to 246 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The same approach could be followed with ease at many other projects, entailing a very low cost and a huge positive environmental impact.
This being the desert, water is in short supply. Yet a considerable volume of water is required, not just for the everyday life of the workforce, but also for construction and irrigation purposes. So, it all has to be brought onsite by road in tankers.
With this project, the team wanted to re-use as much water as possible, and took the decision to equip their work camp with five membrane bioreactor (MBR) sewage treatment units. These could then produce a steady flow of treated waste water, which would be of good enough quality for many routine tasks like dust suppression and tree planting.
The sewage treatment plants successfully recycled the equivalent of 500 cubic metres of water every day – adding up to a grand total of 440,000 cubic metres over the course of the project.
This eliminated the need for a further 150 tanker trips, which would have added-up to 2.3 million kilometres of driving, consumed 390,000 litres of diesel, and emitted 1,026 tonnes of greenhouse gasses. And, by avoiding yet more onsite traffic, there were commensurate safety benefits.
Once again, the approach could be deployed at more projects in the future.