State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company confirmed that work is on track to build a new pipeline for transporting molten sulphur from expanding operations in its Shah sour gas fields.
Subsidiary Adnoc Sour Gas, previously known as Al Hosn Gas, said the pipeline - which will carry the liquid sulphur for granulation at a plant located 11 kilometres away - will be completed in 2019.
Adnoc Sour Gas, which accounts for 10 per cent of gas production in the UAE, is a 60:40 venture between Adnoc and Occidental Petroleum. The company, which currently produces 1 billion standard cubic feet per day of gas, has been looking to expand production at the Shah facilities as well as become one of the leading exporters of sulphur. Adnoc is one of the world’s largest producers of sulphur due to its significant reserves of sour gas, which after processing, yields the yellowish chemical as a byproduct.
Abu Dhabi's sulphur production currently stands at 6 million tonnes a year and its global market share nearly doubled to 11 per cent in 2016 from 6 per cent in 2014.
Sulphur carried via the new pipeline will be transported by rail to a handling terminal at Adnoc’s downstream hub in the western region of Ruwais.
Germany’s MMEC Mannesmann is executing the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) as well as commissioning of the pipeline. Adnoc estimates nearly 60 per cent of the value of the EPC contract to be re-directed to the UAE economy under its in-country value programme.
Granulated sulphur, a key ingredient in fertiliser production, is found in Abu Dhabi sour gas fields in the form of hydrogen sulphide, requiring refining before use. Apart from gas, the Shah gas field produces 4,400 tonnes per day of natural gas liquids, 33,000 barrels per day of condensate as well as 10,000 tonnes per day of pure granulated sulphur. Expansion of the field will make Adnoc one of the world’s largest producers of sulphur.
With more unconventional gas projects targeted as part of its recently-approved Dh400 billion spending plan, Adnoc expects the amount of sulphur available for export to increase.
The UAE has long targeted becoming the world’s biggest exporter of sulphur, a niche product for hydrocarbon producers.
In December, Adnoc signed a long-term agreement to supply sulphur to phosphate producer OCP Morocco, the world’s largest sulphur importer.
In January, the Abu Dhabi company awarded front-end engineering and design contracts for its offshore ultra-sour gas fields of Hail, Ghasha and Dalma as it looked to ramp-up gas production to meet growing domestic demand.