Uncertainty surrounds $500m Divided Zone gas project

13 February 2013

Tenders for offshore Dorra field nowhere near being issued, say contractors

The proposed $500m development of the offshore Dorra field, a non-associated gas field located off the coast of the Divided Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, has been shelved pending further studies at the site.

The long-awaited scheme has been the subject of much speculation regarding how the gas will be shared between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which all claim partial sovereignty of the field.

However, sources in Saudi Arabia say the matter is no longer an issue and they do not know the reason behind the continued delay in the issuing of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract tenders.

Offshore oil and gas operations in the Divided Zone are controlled by Al-Khafji Joint Operations (KJO), a joint venture of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.   

“KJO has gone very quiet on Dorra and no one seems to know the reason for the delay,” says an oil industry executive working in Saudi Arabia. “There have been rumours of additional studies being awarded, but no one is seriously expecting EPC contract tenders to be released soon.”  

MEED reported in October that the KJO rotates its management team every three years between Saudi and Kuwaiti executives. The new executive team is from Saudi Aramco and sources believe it may have called for another study to ensure the field can be developed with the maximum yield of gas available.

“There is no doubt that the focus [for Saudi Aramco] is now firmly on upstream gas operations,” says a contracting source based in the Eastern Province. “The Dorra project has been in development for so long, the new team might have decided they wanted a new study to confirm it is a viable scheme.”

The scope of Dorra is likely to include five or six offshore platforms with interconnecting flowlines, gas-gathering equipment, 200 kilometres of 30-inch pipe and 100km of subsea cables, as well as extensive onshore gas-processing facilities. Original plans also included two oil platforms, but this work will now be carried out as part of any phase 2 development.

The front-end engineering and design (feed) for the Dorra field has been undertaken by Australia’s WorleyParsons.

The field contains an estimated 60 trillion cubic feet of gas and when completed is expected to provide 600 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas.

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