Saudi Aramco to award shale gas treatment FEED
The world largest company by the size of crude oil reserves, Saudi Aramco, is planning to award the front end engineering and design (FEED) contracts for the gas central processing facilities to support the development of the shale gas exploration – production in three regions of Saudi Arabia.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia was the fourth largest producer of natural gas in the world, but despite this strong position it does not meet all its needs on the domestic market covered by crude oil at high costs.
So far this close link between the gas production and the crude oil production was not an issue but some game changers could impact heavily this historical situation with major consequences in the Kingdom.
Among these game changers the development on fast track of the shale oil in USA comes on the top, followed by the restoration of the trading relationships with the neighbor Iran and the increasing production in Iraq could exercise some pressure on the production of crude oil in Saudi Arabia to maintain an acceptable market price of the crude oil barrel for the producing countries.
In such a context, Saudi Arabia needs to develop its production on non-associated gas in order to supply its power generation facilities running currently with crude oil and to provide the feedstock to its newly built petrochemical industry designed around mixed crackers accepting ethane as well as naphtha.
Saudi Aramco to build three central processing facilities
If we consider that the USA may become self sufficient in crude oil by 2017, this term is given as the target for Saudi Arabia to develop three shale gas fields:
– Empty Quarter
– Jafurah in the north
– South Ghawar in the Eastern Province
– Offsites and utilities
These Saudi Aramco projects are so much critical for Saudi Arabia that design work out-of-Kingdom will be accepted from the bidders.
In order to meet the deadline of 2017, Saudi Aramc is planning to award the FEED contract on mid 2014 so that the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts could be sanctioned on early 2015 for these Empty Quarter, Jafurah and South Ghawar gas central processing facilities and offsites – utilities packages.