GASCO: Adding value in the UAE

11 October 2004
Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco) occupies a pivotal position in the emirate's energy sector. In charge of processing associated gas and managing the pipeline network onshore, the company is responsible for delivering fuel to utilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, providing feedstock to petrochemical producers in Ruwais, supplying gas for reinjection in onshore oil fields and handling liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exports. Its activities also have an impact on the onshore oil sector. For with Abu Dhabi having adopted a no flaring policy, it is up to Gasco to ensure that the need to process associated gas does not put any brake on oil production.


Already one of the largest gas companies in the GCC, with total processing capacity of just over 5,000 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) and assets approaching $6,000 million, Gasco's business is about to get considerably bigger. Under a five-year investment programme, valued at about $4,000 million, the company is aiming to ramp up gas processing capacity to about 7,000 million cf/d, double LPG production to 12 million tonnes a year and triple ethane output.

Billion-dollar projects have been a feature of Gasco in recent years. In 1996, it brought on stream the first phase of the onshore gas development (OGD-1) programme, which centred on the construction of the Habshan plant. In 2000, the condensate gas plant under phase 1 of the Asab gas development (AGD) was commissioned; it was followed a year later by expansion of the Habshan plant under phase 2 of OGD.

The investment has certainly been needed. In the decade to 2004, demand for Abu Dhabi onshore gas doubled to almost 4,000 million cf/d. The biggest call has come from oil field reinjection, which this year will require 1,950 million cf/d.

A further 1,800 million cf/d is earmarked as feedstock for the power and water sector and industry, with the majority going to Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup).

From the 5,100 million cf/d of feed gas, Gasco will also produce 2,500 tonnes a day (t/d) of ethane to be used by Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), 16,500 t/d of LPG for export and 230,000 barrels a day of condensate, which is processed in the Ruwais condensate splitter operated by Abu Dhabi Refining Company (Takreer).

The make-up of Gasco's business is set to change, however. In late 2006, Dolphin Energy will receive at Taweelah the first deliveries of North field gas from Qatar and start supplying all ADWEA installations and industrial consumers in the eastern region and Al-Ain, while Gasco will retain responsibility for existing customers in the western region.

The impending arrival of Qatari dry gas is very much reflected in Gasco's upcoming investment programme, which concentrates on gas recycling and processing projects, rather than producing additional sales gas volumes to utilities and industrial consumers. 'Our projects and the Dolphin scheme will complement each other,' Gasco's general manager Mohammed Sahoo told MEED's Major Project Opportunities in Abu Dhabi conference in late September. 'There is a technical and commercial taskforce between the two parties to ensure that there is a smooth handover between Gasco and Dolphin Energy.'

Expansion of its existing sites is a priority for Gasco. The company is responsible for three out of the five packages, currently out to tender, on the estimated $3,000 million OGD-3/AGD-2 programme and each involves sizable investment at its three biggest plants.

At the Habshan gas complex, already one of the Gulf's biggest installations with capacity of 3,500 million cf/d, two more trains are to be installed with combined capacity of 1,300 million cf/d. At the existing Asab gas complex, new natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction facilities are to be built. Finally, at the Ruwais fractionation plant

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