14 May 2023 - 15:30
  • News ID: 472482
Gas gathering picks up pace

Iran plans to gather 8.2 mcm/d of flare gas as of next calendar year (starting on 21 March 2023), which would increase 18.2 mcm/d during next year. Therefore, Iran would have gathered 50% of its flare gas by March 2024. In the calendar year to March 2025, Iran would be gathering 17 mcm/d of flare gas and during the following year, gas gathering would be at 7 mcm/d. Therefore, Iran would have gathered all its flare gas by 2025. Over 150 bcm of flare gas is turned into air pollutants at oil wells every year across the world. According to the World Bank (WB), that is equal to one-third of Europe’s total gas consumption. According to WB data, until 2018, Iran was the third largest producer of flare gas, behind Russia and Iraq. Flaring in Iran was down from 17 bcm in 2018 to 13.78 bcm in 2019.

Iran is currently recovering about 1 bcm/d of sour gas, of which 850 mcm/d is sweetened for consumption. Houshang Falahatian, deputy minister of petroleum for planning, said comparing flare gas data with sour gas recovery and sweet gas injection into national network indicates that the figure announced for flaring was not correct.

“It is not necessarily possible to bring flaring down to zero because refining and petrochemical processes are such that flares function as safety valve. If no flare gas is exited, an explosion will follow. Therefore, some processes are naturally with flare gas,” he said.

Of course, it is noteworthy that some processes with regular flare gas need to be managed. Associated petroleum gas (APG) and gas refinery gas constitute the two categories of flare gas. As far as APG is concerned, good steps have been taken over the past 1 ½ years, leading to a reduction of about 1.5 mcm/d of flare gas by March 2022.

NISOC flare gas gathering

National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) has expressed its full readiness to implement the development project of 16 Khami reservoirs with a view to supplying feedstock to petrochemical plants. Development of these reservoirs with an initial estimated production of 1.3 mcf/d would partly resolve the problem of feeding petrochemical plants for long years. With the implementation of this project and construction of five or six NGL units, 1.2 bcf/d of dry gas and 200 kb/d of condensate would be produced.

More than 80% of flare gas produced in fields run by NISOC has been gathered. The 13th administration is making efforts to gather the remaining flare gas to fulfil its international environmental obligations, not to mention economic benefits.

Win-win deal

The 13th administration has finalized 28 agreements worth more than $1 billion for flare gas gathering mainly with private companies. Furthermore, it has committed itself to closing the case of most flare gas gathering projects before bowing out.

This issue is such serious that Minister of Petroleum Javad Owji has said the ministry was ready to award full development of oil and gas fields to petrochemical plants in the country. In his view, such agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum and petrochemical plants would be a win-win deal because petrochemical plants would develop oil fields in less than three years to guarantee at least 30 years of feedstock supply.

Iran’s Petroleum Ministry has reconsidered its financing policies in order to make further use of such methods as engaging industrial holdings for investment in the upstream sector  like gathering and selling APG with a view to preventing gas flaring. The decision has been warmly welcomed by petrochemical plants as it would guarantee feedstock supply.

Recently, a $500 million agreement was signed with the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for gathering flare gas in East and West Karun. That would help turn off more flares in four provinces.

It is also be noteworthy that gathering APG is very important from a global perspective due to the necessity of reduction of pollutants caused by hydrocarbon resources. Iran's petroleum industry, based on our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), we are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions un-provisionally by 4% and provisionally by 8% by 2030. The Petroleum Ministry has now taken serious steps in gathering associated gas to prevent environmental pollution and fulfill its commitments.

9 NGL projects

Over recent years, some steps have been taken in this regard. Some of them are simultaneous implementation of nine NLG projects with a total gathering capacity of 5.1 bcf/d of flare gas, including the Persian Gulf Bid Boland gas refinery (four NGL projects), Persian Gulf Yadavaran gas refinery (NGL 3200), Hengam gas refinery (Qeshm Island gas flare), Dehloran and NGL 3200 of the Maroun field and the NGL project of Kharg Island.

According to data provided by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s Directorate of Corporate Planning, there was nearly 43 mcm/d of flare gas (more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent a year) to be gathered in 2016.

Amak project

The Amak gas gathering project at the Ahvaz, Ab Teimour, Mansouri, Kupal and Maroun oil reservoirs is one of the major projects of NIOC in gas gathering that has been implemented in two phases.

Prior to implementation of the Amak project, the polluting sour gas associated with the Bangestan layer’s oil added up to 241 mcf/d, whose burning emitted about 9,000 tonnes a day of pollutants.

During the implementation of the first phase of this environmental project, four compressor stations and a sweetening refinery were launched in 2005, to be followed by two more compressor stations in 2007 and another one in 2009.

Following the commissioning of the last compressor station in 2009, a sweetening plant for acid gas was launched in 2021. Now, 28 tb/d is worth $1.68 million while 182 mcf/d of sweet gas, worth $780,000, is delivered to National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC).

Therefore, the gas and condensate recovered from this project would worth more than $2.46 million. In the second phase of the Amak project, 14 mcf/d of acid gas was saved and up to 18 mcf/d of gas was directly pumped to the Razi Petrochemical Plant.

With the implementation of the Amak project, about 86% of associated gas is gathered in NISOC-run areas to be used for domestic purposes or injected into oil reservoirs for maximum efficient recovery. NISOC is also eying more partnership deals with petrochemical plants to save the remaining associated gas from flaring.

Meantime, through attracting investment, a project for gathering 593 mcf/d of associated gas from Aghajari and Gachsaran and another project for gathering 249 mcf/d of associated gas in Karoun and Maroun have been defined. Furthermore, the private sector is gathering 3.5 mcf/d of flare gas from Parsi Cluster, 22 mcf/d from Maroun 6, 12 mcf/d from Maroun 3 and 10 mcf/d from Mansouri.

Assaluyeh pollution down

The permission for the signing of agreement and financing of a project to cut gas flaring by 20% in ten refineries of South Pars has been given for the purpose of stopping the annual flaring of 2.3 bcm in order to let a major environmental project start up in the petroleum industry.

The Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan is aimed at the integrated management of all refineries and facilities of South Pars and refining all pollutants, including oil, gas and petrochemicals. Backed by NIGC and NPC, the project has taken the preliminary steps with regards to management of refining and consumption of polluting gases, management of polluting liquids (including DSO) and management of pollutant solids (particularly sulfur).

NIGC has categorized its plans under three groups: lowering flaring, lowering sulfur oxide emissions and complementary treatment of wastes.

The tasks related to NIGC are mainly focused on reducing flaring and the emission of sulfur oxides. The total sulfur dioxide emitted from the refineries is supposed to be reduced by 488,500 tonnes per year in a total of 12 refineries in South Pars. Operational problems, process optimization and installation of additional systems in the operational units of the refinery and especially its sulfur production unit will be obtained. By doing this, the amount of burning of acid gases will be reduced, which will increase the sulfur produ ction and significantly improve the air quality of the region.

Also, flaring at the twelve refineries in South Pars will be reduced to 2,344 mcm per year, which, in addition to significantly improving the air quality of the region, will prevent gas emissions and prevent the wastage of valuable hydrocarbon resources.

South Pars flaring down 17%

On the other hand, in order to achieve the expected goals, several projects regarding the reduction of flaring and the emission of sulfur oxides in refineries have been implemented and some of them have also been completed. As a result of these measures, the amount of flaring in South Pars refineries last calendar year was reduced to 498 mcm (about 17.6%) and the release of 27,775 tonnes of sulfur compounds in South Pars site 2 refineries was also prevented, which is equivalent to a reduction of about 24% at these refineries.

The amount of flaring at the eight refineries of South Pars in 2018 was about 1,373 mcm, and 739 mcm should be legally recovered and reduced to 634 million cubic meters by the end of 1405 (20 March 2027). Based on the studies and planning carried out in line with the reduction of flare gas burning, this amount is expected to reach 307 mcm per year in the eight refineries by March 2025, which is higher than expected.

Therefore, pursuant to measures taken over the past two years, flaring at the eight refineries was down to 1,250 mcm by March 2022, indicating a 9% decline.

Iran Petroleum

News ID 472482


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