Key contracts awarded on $10bn Bab gas development

26 April 2015

Abu Dhabi selects companies for design and management of UAE’s largest pre-execution project

  • Fluor to carry out front-end engineering and design
  • WorleyParsons selected for project management consultancy
  • Adnoc and Shell still to finalise joint venture

Abu Dhabi has selected companies for the design and project management contracts on its $10bn Bab sour gas development, according to sources familiar with the scheme.

The onshore gas scheme is the largest project at the pre-execution phase in the UAE and will be developed by a proposed joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and UK-Dutch oil major Shell.

US-based Fluor has been selected to carry out the front-end engineering and design (feed) study for the project. The work will be handled by the company’s operations in the UK.

Fluor was responsible for the project’s pre-feed studies and was also the feed contractor for Abu Dhabi’s first major sour gas scheme – the recently completed $11bn Shah Gas Development (SGD).

WorleyParsons has been selected for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract to oversee the feed phase of the Bab development, according to sources.

The Australian group was chosen ahead of rival bidders including the UK’s Amec Foster Wheeler, US-based Jacobs and French engineering group Technip.

WorleyParsons will carry out the contract from its operations in Vancouver, a source told MEED.

Shell announced in April 2013 it had agreed to take a 40 per cent stake in a new joint venture to operate the project. However, the joint-venture agreement has yet to be signed.

Adnoc is managing the early tendering stages through its majority-owned joint venture Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco) pending the finalisation of the Shell joint venture.

The Bab sour gas reservoirs, located 150 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi city, will be costly and technically challenging to develop due to high levels of toxic hydrogen sulphide, which must be removed through processing.

The development is expected to have a capacity of about 1 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of sour gas, which will be processed to a smaller amount of sales gas and associated sulphur and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), similar to Abu Dhabi’s under-development Shah gas project.

Shell plans to utilise the sulphur produced at Bab for local industries such as concrete, bitumen replacement and fertiliser production, due to the volatile nature of the global sulphur market.  

Adnoc aims to start production at the Bab sour gas field by 2020, which should allow for the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to be awarded in 2016.

Abu Dhabi’s first major sour gas project, the similar-sized Shah, is operated by Al-Hosn Gas – a joint venture of Adnoc and US-based Occidental Petroleum. The development has the capacity to produce 500 million cf/d of sales gas.

Al-Hosn Gas CEO Saif Ahem al-Ghafli said in March that he expects Shah to reach full capacity during the second quarter of 2015.

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