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Saudi Arabia to power supply Maaden Phosphate from tight gas

Saudi Aramco to develop tight gas northwest fields

The national oil company (NOC) Saudi Aramco is on the verge to develop the tight gas fields identified in the northwest of the Kingdom to supply the gas-fired power plant required for the giant Maaden Phosphate City project currently under construction.

Since the USA revolutionized the gas markets with the development of the shale gas, all the key players of the energy market such as Saudi Arabia needed to rethink their strategy.

To use crude oil at $100 per barrel to produce electricity or feed ethylene crackers is no longer admitted when the gas price is dropping to $2 per million btu.

Saudi-Aramco_Tight-Gas-Northwest_Field_Maaden-Phosphates_City_mapSince Saudi Aramco is re-injecting a part of the associated gas for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to boost the crude oil production out of the maturing fields, any opportunity to develop non-associated gas should be explored.

This strategy applies to the unconventional gas for which Saudi Arabia is listed among the top five countries with 645 trillion cubic feet (tcf) estimated recoverable reserves of shale and tight gas behind China, USA, Argentina and Mexico.

In proportion, Saudi Arabia holds reserves more than twice unconventional gas than conventional gas.

For the last five years, Saudi Aramco put a major effort to evaluate this unconventional resources knowing that water availability shall be the limiting factor.

Saudi Aramco identified the three most attractive regions where the shale gas and tight gas could be technically developed:

 – Northwest of Saudi Arabia near by Turaif and along the border with Jordan

 – South Ghawar as a side formation of the eponymous world largest crude oil field in the Eastern Province

 – Rub Al-Khali in the south of the Empty Quarter

Since Maaden is investing $7 billion capital expenditure in the Phosphate City project, the Northwest tight gas fields are ideally located to power supply all the facilities to be installed at Waad Al-Shamal.

Saudi Aramco to feed SEC Waad Al-Shamal powergen

The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is planning a 1000 MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant (CCPP) supported by a 50MW solar power plant.

In order to run SEC Waad Al Shamal power plant, Saudi Aramco is planning to supply 200 million cubic feet per day (cf/d) of natural gas.

The corresponding gas central processing facility (CPF) will be designed in skid-mounted modules in order to follow the development of the tight gas field in the Saudi Arabia northern region.

Each module will have a treatment capacity of 50 million cf/d of natural gas.

In addition to the Waad Al-Shamal gas central processing facility the project will include:

Saudi_Aramco_Waad-Al-Shamal__Gas_Central_Plant_Northwest_Tight-Gas – 10 welllheads

 – 10 flowlines

 – Control room

 – Metering station

 – Gas gathering center

 – Gas gathering center to gas CPF

Considering that the Saudi Electricity Company Waad Al-Shamal power plant and the Saudi Aramco Turaif tight gas field development projects should be awarded on early 2015, the Waad Al-Shamal gas central processing facility should start commercial operations by 2017.

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