Qatar Petroleum (QP) has hired consultants to study the feasibility of adding smokeless flaring facilities to the Dukhan oil field.

The pre-front end engineering and design (feed) study could lead to the award of contracts for smokeless flaring this year.

“There is a pre-feed study being done by a consultant now. I expect some tenders to be announced this year,” says a source at an engineering and construction contractor in Qatar.

Smokeless flaring reduces the amount of harmful emissions being emitted by the flaring of natural gas coming out of oil fields as a by-product of crude production.

QP is trying to improve its environmental credentials, and has already awarded a smokeless flaring project on Dukhan. In mid-2008, local contracting company Black Cat completed the first smokeless flaring project on the oil field situated off Qatar’s western coastline, by modifying the $110m Fahahil stripping plant.

With Danish consultancy Ramboll, Black Cat upgraded an existing gas flaring system, installing a nozzle system that injects compressed air into the flaring process, thereby eliminating the smoke from the emissions.

According to the source, there is scope for up to four or five new smokeless flaring projects for Dukhan.