14 August 2023 - 20:24
  • News ID: 476967
SPGC value chain completed

South Pars refineries have processed over 2,030 bcm of natural gas during the past 26 years. South Pars Gas Complex (SPGC) has been supplying more than 75% of Iran’s gas needs, thereby playing an instrumental role in national economy. Ahmad Bahoush, CEO of SPGC, tells “Iran Petroleum” the gas complex plans to sell flare gas.

The following is the full text of the interview he gave to “Iran Petroleum”:

Where does SPGC stand in the Middle East and the world?

SPGC currently runs 13 gas refineries fed by 22 phases of the South Pars gas field. It houses a power plant, corridors, centralized storage facilities and other installations.Given the volume of activity under way there, SPGC is unique in the Middle East and the world. Currently, all steering activities and transfer of gas from platform to refineries and refinery construction are handled by Iranian companies. Recently, the fully-domestic 13th refinery was launched. At the beginning, foreign companies were active here, but today, even refinery building is done by Iranians.SPGC is the largest gas production plant in the Middle East, not to mention its unique processing and diversity of products. SPGC is honored to supply more than 75% of national gas demand.

How much gas was processed at SPGC last calendar year?

Last calendar year, more than 221,171 mcm of gas was processed at SPGC. LPG production was 42% higher year-on-year, while we also produced more than 527,000 tonnes of high-quality granulated sulfur. Last calendar year was special for National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) from several aspects. We experienced an unprecedented cold spell in the country, which drove up gas consumption. However, we managed to enhance our production capacity 7% year-on-year. I would like to note that despite increased gas consumption last winter, our refineries were running without any interruption.

SPGC has for the first time managed to produce mercaptan. Where is it used?

Mercaptan is added to gas for safety in order to detect possible gas leaks. We used to import mercaptan. But now it is being produced by the first refinery of SPGC and delivered to provincial gas companies to be added to refined gas. In addition to putting an end to the annual 600 tonnes of mercaptan imports, we have saved on significant hard currency.

How much mercaptan has thus far been produced at SPGC?

We’ve produced over 1,683 tonnes, more than 553 tonnes of which was produced since previous years. The mercaptan production unit of the first refinery of SPGC is the sole supplier in the Middle East. Mercaptan has been produced with Iranian technology. This unit is producing 1.8 tonnes of mercaptan daily, but given daily increasing demand for this substance and future gas supply plans, numerous projects are under way to export it.

What are your plans for refinery overhaul to maximize throughput next winter?

Preparation and necessary planning for the start of overhaul in the current calendar year started last November. In April we started our overhaul. This year, our overhaul is totally different from previous years as everything is done online. Currently, due to gas imbalance in the country, we have arranged for the refineries to experience very short halt. Meantime, overhaul of two or three refineries would be carried out simultaneously in order to keep other refineries running too. Therefore, it is clear from the very beginning which refineries would stop working during overhaul. The bulk of overhaul concerns gas trains and we have tried to minimize days of halt. In some refineries, overhaul may take 3 to 5 days and the remaining trains would be online. However, sometimes we overhaul refineries train by train so that the refinery would keep running.

What would be the achievement of this shift in approach?

With changes in approach and reducing the duration of overhaul in the current calendar year, we would be increasing SPGC output by more than 7 bcm.

Are overhaul contractors Iranian?

The contractors and equipment are entirely Iranian. Overhaul is performed under the supervision of SPGC specialists.

What share of SPGC equipment is supplied domestically?

More than 90% of our equipment is locally manufactured. Last calendar year, SPGC claimed the top spot in first-time manufacturing in national ranking. SPGC is self-reliant and no longer depends on foreign commodities. More than 90% of refinery equipment has been manufactured domestically owing to increased knowledge, technical inspections and regular engagement of knowledge-based companies and domestic manufacturers.

What has been done with regard to refinery renovation and upgrade?

The engineering team constantly upgrades electrical, mechanical and processing units. We also upgrade the refinery equipment and parts. I would like to note that we are currently in good conditions. The equipment used in renovating the refinery is entirely Iranian and all operations are handled by Iranian contractors. We have tried to upgrade refineries with available equipment.

What’s SPGC role in feeding petrochemical plants?

SPGC is instrumental in the petrochemical industry of Assaluyeh. If one day we lose SPGC we would have no petrochemical plant any more. SPGC is feeding all downstream facilities, mainly petrochemicals. SPGC also feeds condensate to the Persian Gulf Star refinery (common name for Bandar Abbas Gas Condensate Refinery) by pipeline.By delivering 10,000 tonnes a day of ethane to the surrounding petrochemical plants, SPGC is the largest feedstock supplier of downstream facilities. Last calendar year, following overhaul, more than 2,194,290 tonnes of ethane was produced at SPGC refineries in addition to 3.283 million tonnes of propane and 2.286 million tonnes of butane.

How much feedstock does SPGC supply to the Persian Gulf Star refinery?

We’re delivering 450 tb/d of condensate to the Persian Gulf Star refinery as feedstock. Last calendar year, more than 110 million barrels of condensate was supplied from all South Pars refineries to the said refinery. In addition to feeding the Persian Gulf Star refinery, SPGC is playing a strategic role in national self-reliance for fuel production, particularly gasoil and gasoline.

How much power is generated at Besat Power Plant of South Pars?

The power plant’s capacity is 1,500 MW, which is partly operational. Last calendar year (ended on 20 March 2023), more than 3,247,179 MW of electricity was produced at the Besat Power Plant, resulting in stable power supply at the refineries of Site 1 and Site 2 of SPGC. In the light of growing electricity consumption in summer, this power plant can help supply power to Assaluyeh.

What measures have been taken for mitigating pollution in Assaluyeh?

The 13th administration and the Ministry of Petroleum are firmly determined to cut environmental pollution in Assaluyeh. To that effect, cases of pollution have been identified at SPGC during technical inspections and replacing decrepit equipment is envisaged. Installing new equipment would largely contribute to cutting gasflaring. Contracts have been signed for this purpose and necessary commodities are being supplied for the refineries of Site 1 and Site 2. Meantime, reforming systems of SPGC’s 12 refineries that are instrumental in mitigating air pollution and flaring has been outsourced. It is noteworthy that SPGC embarked on reclaiming mangroves in Nayband in 2011 and won a prize. So far, nearly 30 ha of land has been covered with mangroves. Last calendar year(ended on 20 March 2023), more than 2,200 mangroves were planted with a view to expanding greenery at SPGC refineries and surrounding areas.

What have you done for zero flaring and cutting flare gas?

Simultaneously with mitigating environmental pollution, flare gas sales is auctioned off, which has been warmly welcomed by the private sector. Rather than sending gas to flare, we will deliver it to the buyer. The buyer processes the gas and then chooses to sell it to downstream industries or give to SPGC. In addition to precluding losses in this sector, that would help make up for gas imbalance in the country.

How much gas do you think would be recycled back to production?

More than two-thirds of flare gas would be recycled.

Iran Petroleum

News ID 476967

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