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Abu Dhabi's top oil and gas construction projects of 2019

Construction Week rounds up the UAE capital's most notable ongoing upstream and downstream projects of this year

Abu Dhabi's oil and gas sector is continuing to grow [representational image].
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Abu Dhabi's oil and gas sector is continuing to grow [representational image].

Home of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc)the world’s 12th largest oil producer, Abu Dhabi’s active oil and gas projects are multibillion-dollar schemes that have a significant socio-economic impact in the UAE and beyond. The good news for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors is that Abu Dhabi's oil and gas sector is continuing to grow.

For instance, oil giant Adnoc has embarked on a $45bn (AED165bn) downstream investment programme aimed at producing greater volumes of high-value refined and petrochemicals products, with a focus on the upgrade of Ruwais Industrial Complex. The programme is one of its numerous initiatives as part of its 2030 Strategy for smart long-term growth.

This article by Construction Week rounds up 10 of the largest oil and gas projects currently under way in the UAE capital. While this list is dominated by upstream developments that likely make up much of the order books of regional EPC contractors, notable downstream schemes are also included on the back of their immense impact on the local economy both at present and in the long term. As such, this article focuses on the entire gamut of oil and gas projects in Abu Dhabi – from developments related to drilling and exploration, to those supporting refining and processing work.

Various fullstream projects are under way in Abu Dhabi [© Adnoc].

Abu Dhabi’s top 10 oil and gas ongoing projects as of March 2019 are:

• Bu Hasa Onshore Integrated Field Development
• Borouge 3-Polypropylene plant (PP5)
• North East Bab Development (Phase 3)
• Onshore Block 3 Exploration
• Ruwais Refinery Expansion
• Ghasha Concession Artificial Islands
• Adnoc Integrated Gas Development Expansion Phase 2
• Umm Lulu Full Field Development Project Package 2 (Process Facilities)
• Nasr Full Field Development (Phase 2)
• Shah Sour Gas Field (Package 6) – Liquid Sulphur Pipeline

Please note that this list is not a ranking and has been produced based on publicly available information.

Bu Hasa Onshore Integrated Field Development

The $1.5bn (AED5.5bn) Bu Hasa Onshore Integrated Field Development is being overseen by Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, with EPC works being delivered by Spanish firm Tecnicas Reunidas.

As reported by Construction Week in November 2018, Tecnicas Reunidas appointed Arabtec subsidiary Target Engineering as mechanical and electrical works contractor under a $141.8m (AED521m) deal. According to construction listings website ProTenders, the project aims to increase crude production capacity at the Bu Hasa oil field from 550,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 650,000 bpd.

Bu Hasa oil field lies 200km south of Abu Dhabi and has been in production since 1965, ProTenders adds.

Borouge 3-Polypropylene plant (PP5)

Construction began on Abu Dhabi Polymers Company’s (Borouge) $550m (AED2bn) Borouge 3-Polypropalane plant (PP5), along with associated facilities at Ruwais, in July 2015. Maire Tecnimont Group, which has also carried out the Borogue 2 and Borouge 3 expansion projects, was awarded the plant's EPC contract in 2018.

PP5 is the company’s fifth unit and is aimed at growing Borouge’s total polymers production capacity by 11% to reach five million tonnes per year.

Upon completion in 2021, the plant will have a production capacity of 480,000 tonnes per year and will be integrated with the existing Borouge 3 complex.

North East Bab Development (Phase 3)

Located 40km south east of Abu Dhabi in Al Dabb'yia, the North East Bab Development (Phase 3) project has achieved construction progress of more than 70%, according to ProTenders.

Under development by Adnoc and Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco), Phase 3 of North East Bab Development aims at increasing the field’s current production of crude oil from 1.4 million bpd to 1.8 million bpd.

Valued at $3bn (AED11bn), the project is set to complete in 2020 and includes two schemes – the onshore development of the Rumaitha and Shamayel fields, and the offshore development of Al-Dabbiya.

Jacobs Engineering Group, GS Engineering and Construction, and Dodsal Group are among the major stakeholders involved with the project, according to ProTenders.

Adnoc is the world's 12th largest oil producer [image of Adnoc HQ]. 

Onshore Block 3 Exploration

Developed by Adnoc, Onshore Block 3 Exploration is a multimillion-dollar project licenced to Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), a US-based exploration and production (E&P) company.

The exploration project is being implemented in a 5,782km2 area in Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi. As per the terms of the 35-year concession agreement between Oxy and Adnoc, the former will hold a 100% stake is the exploration phase.

According to an Adnoc statement in February 2019, existing 3D seismic data covers a large part of the block which, combined with its proximity to the Shah, Asab, Haliba and Sahl fields, "suggests the concession area has very promising potential". 

Oxy will invest $244m (AED893m), and a participation fee, to drill for oil and gas in Onshore Block 3.

Ruwais Refinery Expansion

Abu Dhabi Oil Refinery Company (Takreer), a subsidiary of Adnoc has been undertaking the expansion of Ruwais refinery, the world’s fourth-largest single site refinery at a value of $17bn (AED 62.4bn) , according to data obtained from ProTenders.

Located at 240km west of Abu Dhabi city the refinery is connected to a 1,900km pipeline network that supplies refined oil to ports across Abu Dhabi which is then exported globally. The current refining capacity of Ruwais refinery is 922,000 bpd and its processing capacity is 837,000 bpd. 

Currently, the Ruwais Refinery produces liquefied petroleum gas, premium unleaded gasoline (98 Octane) and special unleaded gasoline (95 Octane) apart from naphtha, Jet-A1, kerosene, gas oil and granulated sulphur. The project is due for completion in June 2023.

In February 2019, UK’s Wood Group secured an $8m (AED29.3m) engineering and design contract for 600,000 bpd crude oil refinery in Ruwais.

Ghasha Concession Artificial Islands

In February 2019, Adnoc awarded a $1.3bn (AED5bn) contract to National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) to build 10 islands for its Ghasha Concession energy megaproject in Abu Dhabi.

Ghasha Concession consists of the Hail, Ghasha, Dalma, Nasr, and Mubarraz offshore sour gas schemes, and is an essential part of Adnoc’s 2030 growth strategy. NMDC will construct 10 islands and two causeways, as well as work on expanding existing island, Al Ghaf, as per the agreement.

According to Adnoc’s statement, the project is expected to take 38 months to complete, and aims to eliminate the need to search for wells in more than 100 locations, and simultaneously provide additional habitats for marine life.

Italy’s Eni, Germany’s Wintershall, and Austria’s OMV respectively own 25%, 10% and 5% in Ghasha Concession.

NMDC will build 10 islands at Ghasha Concession [© Adnoc].

Adnoc Integrated Gas Development Expansion Phase 2

In September 2018, Adnoc LNG awarded an EPC contract for the second phase of its Integrated Gas Development Expansion (IGD-E) project to Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas and Arabtec's Target Engineering for $860m (AED3.16bn).

The second phase of the IGD-E project will take 54 months to complete. It will add 245 million cubic feet per day of associated gas to the 1.4 billion cubic feet daily offshore gas sent from Das Island to Adnoc Gas Processing’s Habshan facilities for use in power generation.

Umm Lulu Full Field Development Project Package 2 (Process Facilities)

Located in the Umm Lulu offshore field in Abu Dhabi, package 2 of the Umm Lulu development project comprises six bridge-linked platforms totalling 66,000 metric tonnes, including gathering, separation, and gas treatment and water disposal facilities, as well as utilities and accommodation modules.

Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) awarded the project's EPC contract to a consortium of companies including National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC), Technip FMC, GE, and Control Contracting and Trading Company.

Fluor won the Umm Lulu project's front-end engineering and design (Feed) contract in 2010. According to data from ProTenders, work on the scheme, valued at $1.7bn (AED6.2bn), started in 2016, and is due to complete in 2019.

Nasr Full Field Development (Phase 2)

Work on the $3.5bn (AED13bn) Phase 2 of Nasr Full Field Development started in January 2013. Located 130km north-west of Abu Dhabi, the Nasr field is being developed to attain an annual average production of 65,000 bpd of crude oil through offshore process facilities, wellheads, pipelines, and facilities on Das Island.

Abu Dhabi’s NPCC and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd Dubai are EPC contractors for the project, which is developed by Adma-Opco. Feed consultancy work for the scheme is being delivered by Fluor, KBR, and Technip Store and Webster International Ink.

Shah Sour Gas Field (Package 6) – Liquid Sulphur Pipeline

Adnoc Sour Gas, a subsidiary of Adnoc, is constructing a pipeline to carry molten sulphur produced from its Shah field to the Ruwais refining and petrochemical complex.

The Shah field spans around 400km2 and contains enormous gas deposits, majorly comprising of sulphur. Package 6 of the scheme is valued at $65m (AED238.8m) and is due for completion in March 2020, according to ProTenders.

German EPC firm MMEC Mannesmann is implementing EPC and commissioning works forr the new pipeline. In line with Adnoc’s In-Country Value programme, approximately 60% of the total value of the EPC contract will return to the UAE’s economy.

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