Site visit: LNG terminal, Aqaba, Jordan
A new LNG terminal in Jordan will provide a critical gas supply line
Sabotage attacks to its main gas pipeline from Egypt has forced the Jordanian government to find new, secure ways of getting gas to the country. An LNG Terminal being built near Aqaba could be the answer. Yamurai Zendera reports.
The construction of Jordan’s new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal project, which is located some 18km south of the Red Sea city of Aqaba, is arguably the most important project currently being undertaken in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. That is the assessment of BAM International’s Howard McDonagh, who, as the scheme’s project manager, is better placed than most to make such an assertion.
In many ways, the value of the project has to be seen in the context of the country’s current energy requirement. One of the biggest challenges faced by Jordan is keeping up with the rapidly increasing demand for energy as it continues to grow economically.
Energy demand has increased rapidly over the past four years, in part due to the population growing by 20% due to the Syrian refugee influx.
Furthermore, repeated sabotage attacks in Egypt have all but halted its gas supplies to Jordan, which has forced the country to substitute the relatively cheap gas with much more expensive diesel and heavy fuel. Quite a burden when you consider that Jordan’s limited natural resources means it is a net energy importer.
“Of all the projects in Jordan, the new Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal project is probably the most important at the moment,” said McDonagh.
“There’s a great emphasis to deliver the project on time.”
A joint venture (JV) of BAM International and MAG Engineering was awarded the project by Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) in December 2013 under a JOD46.5m ($65.6m) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal.
The scope of work comprises the design and construction of an LNG jetty with approach trestle, including the required MEP services for handling the gas from a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to a tie-in point with the FAJR (Jordanian Egyptian FAJR Company) transmission pipeline.
It also involves installation of a gas metering/chromatograph system, high-integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) and emergency shutdown (ESD) systems and associated buildings and infrastructure.
The new 1km-long, 24-inch pipeline will tie in with the existing pipeline south of the project and alongside a public coastal road. The main gas pipe arrived in September from Spain in 12 metre lengths ready for welding. Pipeline construction above and below ground is 85% complete and will be over in mid-March.
The gas will be supplied by Shell in LNG carriers from Qatar. On arrival at the LNG terminal, the LNG carrier will berth alongside the FSRU and will discharge its cargo of LNG into the unit.
The LNG will be repressurised into natural gas and delivered via the LNG jetty’s high pressure loading arms into the Terminal pipework infrastructure and through the gas metering system on its way to the FAJR transmission pipeline.
The FSRU, which is being provided by Golar, is currently undergoing sea trials in Singapore. The vessel is due to arrive at the LNG terminal in mid-April in order to allow commissioning and testing of the facility.
“That vessel is expected to arrive with a commissioning cargo of LNG and will then be made ‘cold’ to facilitate the hot commissioning stage of the works. They call this ‘coming hot’,” said McDonagh. “Prior to this stage, our task is to ensure that the LNG Terminal process equipment and systems have been fully commissioned. This includes ensuring the gas metering system.”
The JV has designed and built all the marine structures in order to accommodate the combination of the FSRU and LNG carriers. The marine works include four mooring dolphins, two breasting dolphins and a loading platform. There is also an approach trestle that provides the access to the loading platform from land.
The 106m trestle is supported by seven piled supports constructed of pairs of raker piles with reinforced concrete headstocks, prestressed concrete beams, precast concrete diaphragm walls and precast concrete roadway slabs.
“The southern part of the approach trestle is a road with the northern section being dedicated to the services such as the 24 inch gas pipeline, the fire main, compressed airline, nitrogen line and power, lighting and I&C cabling. The road can handle the 10 ton mobile crane that is required to drive out onto the loading platform to do any maintenance on the loading arms or other heavy lift activities,” said McDonagh.
“The landside part of the trestle is a ramp that comes down over piled headstocks onto land and then ends in an abutment. It’s effectively a bridge.”
The pipeline transitions from the north side of the road to the south side by dropping down into the abutment structure, passing underneath the road and then returning up and over the south side of the abutment, enabling it to run parallel to the main road until it hits the process area.
The process area contains the gas metering/chromatograph, HIPPS and ESD systems which provide the required metering and safety shutdown capabilities.
Downstream of the process area the pipeline goes underground and turns south to run alongside the public road to the tie in point with the FAJR transmission pipeline. These works have been extended by 120m due to a relocation of the tie in point to better suit the FAJR operations.
The installation of the buried section of the pipeline has necessitated hand digging along the majority of the route in order to navigate and safeguard the myriad of live existing services that are crammed into the available route.
Marine structural work started with the piling works on 19 July last year and the last of the concreting operation to the structures took place on 3 January this year. The work was completed some two months ahead of schedule.
“This has been a major achievement considering the complexity of the piling, where 90 of the 98 structures piles are raking piles, raking in different directions and the piles being up to 78m in length, requiring splicing over water,” said McDonagh.
The breasting dolphins were constructed as fully in-situ, reinforced main dolphin structures with rebates to accommodate the installation of precast fender panels. Each of the two fender panels is made up of three, 63 ton precast fender units, which after installation were made monolith with the dolphin by in-situ infill pours.
All precasting works were done on site with only the approach trestle prestressed beams being constructed off site.
The loading arms, the gangway tower, fenders and quick release hooks, which will secure the FSRU to the jetty, are due to complete in early February.
In terms of the process equipment, the gas metering / chromotograph has been installed and the HIPPS and safety shutdowns systems are in transit to the project in readiness for installation later this month.
“Part of our scope of work is to install and commission the gas metering and analysis system – which will be used as the fiscal metering system by which both Golar and FAJR are paid,” said McDonagh.
“The chromatograph takes samples of the gas and analyses the chemical composition of the supplied NG to determine the calorific value – its burn value. It also measures accurately how much gas is passing through the line.”
The meter was ‘wet’ tested for accuracy prior to delivery and achieved an accuracy of 10 times better than that required by the client, said McDonagh.
Another aspect of the project is the existing timber jetty, which the JV is to renovate and extend to form the new tug berth. Access to this section of the works is currently restricted as the jetty is being used temporarily by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers in advance of them moving to a neighbouring LPG terminal.
The original plan was to complete the construction of the tug berth and the associated administration building at the same time but the access issues have forced a rethink.
“We agreed with the client that we relocate the administration building, bringing it nearer to our current site and this has enabled us to build it as planned without delay,” said McDonagh.
“We’re looking at the moment at how to accelerate the construction period for the tug jetty once the area is handed over to us. We’re already casting the precast units and all piling and tie rod materials are on site for the tug jetty works. We will have everything ready to go.”
The joint venture partners are currently progressing the terminal, administration and utility buildings works.
Internal and external finishes are also taking place.
The project is at its peak, with 400 people mainly working on mechanical and electrical works and the pipeline. Handover is set for early July. “The last 21 days of the programme cannot take place without the FSRU as that’s when we need the gas supply to do our hot commissioning,” said McDonagh.
Marine civil works
• 2 Breasting dolphins
• 4 Mooring dolphins
• Loading platform
• Approach trestle
• Mooring equipment (fenders, catwalks, lighting)
• Tug berth
Landside civil works
• Removal and disposal of any hazardous materials
• Ground treatment to limit future settlement
• Terminal land facilities (paving, parking, fencing, road signage and markings)
• Internal roadways and connections to the public coastal road
• Terminal building and admin building
• Communication and data and power cable ductwork
• Loading arms
• NG pipeline system
• Gas metering
• Safety systems
• Power distribution systems
Project: Aqaba New Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal
Client: Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC)
Employers’ agent: Dar Al-Handasah – Arcadis – DAMEC JV
Location: Jordan, 18km south of Aqaba
Contract Type/Value: FIDIC Silver Book EPC Turnkey Contract / $65.6m
Commencement date: 21st January 2014
JV Partners: BAM International and MAG Engineering JV
Designers: Civil/Marine – DMC
MEP: Kentz (SNC Lavalin)
Landside civil: Engicon