25 July 2021 - 11:33
  • News Code: 318895
Iran Determined in Zero-Flaring Projects

TEHRAN (Shana) -- The issue of zero-flaring is not only significant for Iran’s petroleum industry, but also for every other nation. Globally speaking, more than 150 bcm of associated gas is flared every year. According to the World Bank data, the figure is equal one-third of Europe’s total gas consumption.

Turning Off Flares

Turning off gas flares at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) goes back to 1970 when National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) was established. Even one reason for the establishment of NIGC was to gather associated gas flared at fields run by the Directorate of South Oil Fields. In the 1970s, since independent gas fields had not come online, associated gas gathered and processed prior to being fed into the 1,100-kilometer-long Iran Gas Trunkline 1 (IGAT-1) for distribution in cities and powering power plants (in Shiraz and Tehran) and export to the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the associated gas gathered at the Ahvaz, Aghajari and Maroun oil fields was processed at the Bid Boland gas refinery prior to being either distributed for domestic consumption or exported via IGAT-1 and gas compressor stations.

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, flare gas gathering projects have received a share in the annual budget. In a bid to prevent the flaring of sour associated gas and environmental pollution, supply feedstock to petrochemical plants, massively produce light gas for household and industrial purposes and make optimal use of flare gas, NIOC gave priority to gas gathering projects in the Bangestan layer of the Ahvaz, Ab Teimour, Mansouri, Kupal and Maroun oil fields. However, the projects were delayed for a variety of reasons including imposed war and budget allocation shortages. Finally in 2014, a law was adopted requiring the government to invest in associated gas gathering projects. Under the 6th Five-Year Economic Development Plan, the government is required to cut its flare gas production 20% annually to cut it down to 10% this calendar year. Therefore, the $3.4 billion Persian Gulf Bid Boland megaproject came on-stream last calendar year in a bid to prevent the environmental damage from flare gas and use flare gas as feedstock for petrochemical plants and also for feeding national gas grid. According to officials, one of the objectives of this project was to create value-added, prevent pollution resulted from gas flaring and serve public health and environment. Therefore, the Bid Boland project is said to be the new airways for that area.

Zero- Flaring Next Calendar Year

In light of the economic value of flare gas and indirect interests from their gathering, various nations have moved to invest in this sector with a view to cutting their gas flaring. Persian Gulf littoral states such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among them. Thanks to their investment in this sector, they have turned off many flares at their oil fields. Iran has also taken some measures in this regard. Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said at the inauguration ceremony of the Persian Gulf Bid Boland gas refinery that gas flaring would end by March 2023.

Gas Gathering in South

National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) is one of the companies active in zero- flaring. It plans to thoroughly end gas flaring, in line with the policies instructed by Petroleum Ministry and NIOC and in line with observing environmental instructions for reducing pollution. Although gas gathering and transfer of gas to consumption origins like petrochemical plants would have high economic value, various companies have been doing so not just for economic benefits but also for safeguarding the health of their staff. To that effect, NISOC is currently implementing several agreements and one memorandum for flare gas gathering. After their completion, which are mainly located in Khuzestan Province, zero- flaring would materialize in the short and long term, and Khuzestan and the rest of the country would benefit from positive economic and environmental results.

600mcf/d Gas Gathering

In coordination with NIOC, NISOC has awarded some gas gathering projects to the Persian Gulf Bid Boland gas refinery. Under this agreement, in addition to gathering flare gas, purchase of necessary equipment and commodities has been assigned to the refining facility. That would largely end flaring in the Aghajari, Ramshir, Pazanan, Rag Sefid and Maroun fields in Khuzestan, Kohguiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad and Bushehr provinces.

According to the agreement signed with the Bid Boland refinery, around 593 mcf/d of gas would be gathered over a period of 42 months, starting from August. That could cost about $1,109 million. In addition to flare gas gathering, about 1.5 million tonnes a year of heavier products would be produced from ethane, which would yield big revenue in hard currency.

Maroun Petchem Gas Gathering

Another agreement pertains to the $200 million deal signed between NISOC and the Maroun Petrochemical Company for gas gathering. Under the terms of this agreement, more than 200 mcf/d of associated gas would be gathered at Maroun and Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province.

This project has five subprojects as follows:

1. Supplying four TB-4000 turbines for NGL 700 and NGL 800 plants;

2. Optimizing condensation trains at the Amak gas compressor stations;

3. Optimizing Rolls-Royce turbines, including control and fuel system;

4. Adding two turbocompressors to NGL 700 and NGL 800 plants;

5. Replacing outdated compressors at Ahvaz/Maroun gas compressor stations;

6. Optimizing flares at Karoun Oil and Gas Production Company;

7. Renovating pipe network at Maroun Petrochemical Company; and

8. Replacing 35km of associated gas pipeline stretching from Zilaei to Ahvaz-2.

Private Sector Open to Cooperation

Furthermore, two agreements have been signed between NISOC and two private companies for selling flare gas. Under these agreements, about 50 mcf/d of gas would be gathered to be carried to gas and liquefied gas plants.

NISOC has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bakhtiari Petro-Refinery Co. for gathering about 120 mcf/d of associated gas in the north of Khuzestan Province.

South Pars No Flaring

NIOC has also signed a deal for recovery and consumption of flare gas from the second refinery of the South Pars gas field (SP2 and SP3). A major achievement from this agreement would be to recover 450,000 mcm/d of flare gas, 85% of which would be methane and the rest would be valuable hydrocarbon compounds that could be cycled back into production. Preventing the emission of 500,000 tonnes a year of carbon dioxide, the possibility of generalizing and sharing experience and technology of this project in other South Pars phases, the possibility of gathering and injecting flare gas into oil and gas reservoirs for enhanced recovery and protecting the environment and improving the quality of air in favor of public health are among other achievements of no-flaring project at the second refinery of South Pars. The flare gas recovery and consumption project at the second refinery of South Pars has been agreed upon. Necessary budget allocation has been approved after green light was given by the minister of petroleum. Officials say the flare gas recovery and consumption at the second refinery of South Pars may be extended to other refineries and petrochemical plants and even other petroleum industry operating areas.

Zero- Flaring in East Karoun

NIOC has also signed an agreement for flare gas gathering to generate electricity and renovate oil and gas equipment. By signing another agreement, the fate of completion of the Kharg NGL project was decided upon. Meantime, the Hengam gas processing plant was completed and the Parsi flare gas gathering station was launched as the first associated gas gathering project to have been operated by the private sector. NIOC has also other zero-flaring projects. It hopes to end flaring on the eastern side of Karoun River in the near future in a bid to end pollution. This project would gradually cover across Khuzestan Province.

Final Destination

NIOC has already launched the second phase of the Amak gas gathering project in Khuzestan Province. Next in the line is the gas gathering facility in Hengam Island for the processing of 80 mcf/d of gas. Once operational, this plant would end flaring and save more than $700,000, not to mention environmental services.

NISOC aims to gather 90% of its associated petroleum gas (APG). To that end, 23 small plants would be built with fully Iranian equipment, which would be an effective step in job creation for local residents.

The significant physical progress in other projects like NGL 3100, NGL 3200 and Kharg NGL, Hengam refinery and Bid Boland II shows that gas gathering projects in Khuzestan Province are nearing end.

A memorandum has been signed for the recovery and consumption of flare gas in one of the South Pars refineries between NIOC and two other companies. In case it becomes successful, the experience gained from it would be used in gas gathering in Ahvaz and in equipping other gas refineries at South Pars with this technology.

Under arrangements with Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) and South Pars Gas Complex (SPGC), new refineries would reduce more than 50% of their flaring, which would be a breakthrough. Furthermore, all main flares would be turned off before the 12th administration ends its term.

Mahnaz Mohammad Qoli

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

News Code 318895

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