15 July 2019 - 16:14
  • News Code: 291035
SP14 Offshore Sector to Come Online

TEHRAN (Shana) -- The offshore section of Phase 14 of the giant offshore South Pars gas field is expected to come on stream late this year. Currently, the two platforms of SP14 are producing 28 mcm/d of gas. The third platform of this phase was loaded out in Bandar Abbas recently and moved to its location at 14B.

Mohammad Mehdi Tavasolipour, manager of SP14 project, said the chain of the offshore sector of this project would be completed before winter. That would bring gas recovery from SP14 to 56 mcm/d. The first gas train of this project is also coming online this year.

The Platform 14B load-out was done at ISOCICO yard in Bandar Abbas. The platform was then installed in its Persian Gulf location.

Iran Petroleum has talked to Tavasolipour about the SP14 project.

Which stage is SP14 in now?

The first gas recovery from Platform 14A (14mcm/d) was done in April 2018, while the second platform (14C) was launched in November 2018 to bring gas recovery from this phase to 28 mcm/d. Platform 14B was loaded out in Bandar Abbas in June and moved 105 kilometers farther. Installation and launch of a platform takes between 30 and 45 days. Therefore, gas recovery from this platform would be possible at the rate of 14 mcm/d in September.

Platform 14D, a satellite platform and the last platform at SP14, is in the final phase of construction. It will be installed in October. It shows that before the arrival of winter, 14 mcm/d of gas would be recovered from this platform and the chain for the recovery of 56 mcm/d of rich gas, mainly in its offshore sector, will be completed.

Since the onshore refinery of this phase is not complete yet, the gas recovered from these platforms was delivered to the refinery of SP12 via a pipeline connecting SP12 and SP14. By using the untapped capacity of this phase, processing and sweetening operations will be carried out.

Why is the onshore sector lagging behind the offshore sector?

In addition to sanctions and financing shortages, the government structure as well as the multiplicity of contractors in the onshore sector have caused challenges to the expected agility. That has largely affected the project startup. However, under a plan we finalized with the onshore sector contractors, the onshore sector would be completed and operational before the start of 2021. The refinery of SP14, like other South Pars refineries, has four sweetening trains. But the requirement for the startup of these trains would be power supply to the refinery and startup of other utility units (water, steam, air and nitrogen). The power supply system of the refinery is to be launched soon, followed by utility units which are all necessary for the process of startup. Then, the first gas train of this phase would become operational by next March in order to let SP14 gas sweetening start. According to schedule, after the startup of the first train of sweetening, three other trains of sweetening would become operational within three-month intervals.

As US sanctions become tougher, there is concern that the quality of implementation of South Pars projects would be affected. To what extent are such concerns solid-based?

We have no flexibility in the execution of standards. The job is very sensitive and the least error would impose financial and physical costs on us. The Ministry of Petroleum is by no means willing to endanger human life, pollute the environment and finally reduce the useful life of refineries and offshore platforms by neglecting the implementation of standards due to sanctions.

Iran’s petroleum industry has long been under sanctions. However, we have always tried to minimize diversion to the design and features of projects. I reiterate that National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) would show no flexibility in such issues. Under certain conditions we may have to show flexibility in financial issues or the time needed for the startup of projects, but we are not flexible with technical aspects. It should be taken into account that contractors would be not be allowed to show flexibility due to onshore and offshore operations under gas pressure above 120 Bar and high H2S content. Concerns over conditions would not lead us to use substandard equipment in our projects.

I think that Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum has taken reasonable and strategic decisions under specific periods of time based on risks. During periods when the sanctions were eased on Iran’s petroleum industry, domestic manufacturing and transfer of technology were focused upon, whose results we are witnessing now. I remember quite well that about 20 years ago when Iran’s petroleum industry was not subject to such tough sanctions, and foreign contractors were involved in the petroleum industry, we would not have been able to build, install and launch platforms without foreign companies. By that time, it was very sophisticated for us to install and launch platforms. In those days, even with foreign companies we installed and launched a platform within 64 days. When domestic companies started doing so it initially took three months. Then it was cut to 62 days and at the moment we can do it in 26 days. All that is done while observing regulations safety and without getting help from foreign companies.

To what extent can we rely on the equipment used in SP14 in light of tough sanctions?

As mentioned before, when foreign companies were operating in Iran we were after technical knowhow and we are now able to manufacture key equipment used in the petroleum industry. Although due to sanctions some equipment used in this phase may be technologically different with equipment used everywhere in the world, it does not mean ignorance of standards. Furthermore, paying attention to domestic manufacturing and insistence on the application of standards in the projects has helped us implement South Pars projects without dependence on foreign companies. Of course it does not mean we no longer need to acquire technical savvy.

The startup of the onshore sector of this phase coincided with the toughening of sanctions against the petroleum industry. Do you think it would affect the startup of the project?

Financially speaking, we will witness an increase in the costs. Technically speaking, following instructions attached to the contract, certain equipment has to be installed and launched in the presence of manufacturers. But due to the sanctions, some companies are not ready to dispatch technicians and supervisors to Iran, which would certainly affect the startup of projects. Given the experience of the previous round of sanctions, we can benefit from the potential of domestic manufacturers in similar industries. So far, such experience has been helpful and resulted in valuable success on many occasions.

The contract for SP14 development was struck in June 2010 between NIOC and eight contractors during the tenure of the 10th administration. This phase resembles other SP phases in design. In order to recover 56 mcm/d of sour gas, 44 wells have to be drilled. Gas recovery will be made from four platforms – including two main platforms and two satellite platforms. Gas is transferred from sea to the onshore sector to be processed and sent to consumers. This phase was initially planned to become operational in 35 months, but due to the multiplicity of contractors the project did not come online on schedule and it was delayed by six years.

After the administration of Hassan Rouhani took office, the Ministry of Petroleum gave priority to the startup of South Pars phases as this gas field is shared by Iran and Qatar. Due to financial restrictions, the phases which had a higher degree of progress were prioritized for the allocation of financing and implementation. The result was the implementation of SP12, SP15, SP16, SP17, SP18, SP19, SP20 and SP21 in the 11th administration. Later on, SP13, SP22-24 came online. As Mohammad Meshkinfam, CEO of Pars Oil and Gas Company, has said, 60 mcm/d would be added to the South Pars gas production capacity this year. Therefore, gas production capacity in the South Pars gas field would reach 600 mcm/d by next March.

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News Code 291035

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