Survey shows increase in gas processing, pipeline construction

Nov. 7, 2011

Oil & Gas Journal's semiannual Worldwide Construction Update shows an increase in natural gas processing and pipeline construction activity compared with the previous edition of the update (OGJ, Apr. 4, 2011, p. 44). Following are details from the latest survey, which is available on OGJ Online (see note below).


In October, North West Redwater Partnership (NWRP) let a contract to Fluor Corp. to provide front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for a 50,000-b/d bitumen refinery project in Alberta. Project cost is $5 billion (Can.); completion is slated for 2014 (OGJ Online, Oct. 6, 2011).

NWRP's bitumen refinery is the only project in the world to combine gasification technology with an integrated carbon dioxide management plan for economic carbon capture and storage through enhanced oil recovery.

The refinery, which will be north of Edmonton, Alta., will use oil sands bitumen to produce diesel, diluent, naphtha, and other related products. NWRP is a joint venture of North West Upgrading Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Laffan Refinery Co. Ltd. let a lumpsum, front-end engineering and design contract of an undisclosed sum to Technip SA for the Laffan refinery's Phase 2 expansion. The planned expansion will double the refinery's current throughput capacity to 292,000 b/sd. The facility will be fully operational by first-quarter 2016. Qatargas, which operates the Laffan refinery, said FEED contract work is slated to be completed by first-quarter 2012. The engineering, procurement, and construction contract is expected to be awarded by third-quarter 2012.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's Oil Minister Mohammad al-Busairy said the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) has approved construction of the 615,000 b/d Al-Zour refinery (OGJ Online, July 1, 2011). Development of the Al-Zour refinery is expected to comprise two phases. During Phase 1, the facility will process 300,000 b/d of crude oil for the domestic market. Under Phase 2, it will process a further 315,000 b/d of oil.

OGJ subscribers can download free of charge the 2011 Worldwide Construction Update tables at Click on OGJ Subscriber Surveys, then Worldwide Construction. This link also includes previous editions of the update. Historical spreadsheets of data presented here are available for purchase from PennEnergy Research. Visit, and click the "Research" tab.

Construction is under way on the 300,000-b/d refinery to be operated by state-owned Indian Oil Corp. at Paradip, Orissa, on India's eastern coast. IOC expects the project to be completed by first-quarter 2013. Last year, IOC said it expected commissioning to take place in March 2012 (OGJ, Nov. 29, 2010, Newsletter).

State Co. for Oil Projects (SCOP), part of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, has awarded Axens IFP Group Technologies basic design and license contracts for construction of a refinery in Nassiriya, the supply company announced (OGJ Online, Oct. 5, 2011). Axens will supply the following process technologies:

• H-OilRC technology for the hydroconversion of 52,000 b/sd of vacuum residue. The plant will convert vacuum resid to low-sulfur distillates and produce a low-sulfur residue. H-Oil technology is employed for heavy oil residue conversion (H-OilRC) and for difficult distillate conversion (H-OilDC) applications.

• Prime-D, gas oil desulfurization hydrotreater. The 105,000-b/sd unit will produce ultralow-sulfur diesel with less than 10 ppm of sulfur.

• Prime-K, kerosene desulfurization hydrotreater with a processing capacity of 24,000 b/sd.

• Butane isomerization unit with a process capacity of 11,900 b/sd.

The refinery will have a capacity of 300,000 b/sd of domestic crude oil and deliver high-quality products mainly for the domestic market.

In September, NV Nederlandse Gasunie and Royal Vopak formally opened the Gate LNG terminal in Maasvlakte near Rotterdam. The 1.1 bcfd terminal has three 180,000-cu m storage tanks, two jetties, and regasification systems. The Bu Samra LNG tanker arrived at Gate terminal on Sept. 1. Photo from Gate Terminal.


Shell has preliminary plans to build a large ethylene plant in the Appalachian region of the US based on ethane from natural gas produced from the Marcellus shale (OGJ Online, June 6, 2011).

The company hasn't identified a site for the plant, which would include production of derivatives yet to be determined. "The leading option is polyethylene," Shell said in a press release. The release described the plans as indefinite and didn't report capacity. But it described the prospective ethane cracker as "world-scale."

ExxonMobil Corp. will delay the start-up of its 1 million tonne/year ethylene cracker on Jurong Island in Singapore into 2012 instead of yearend due to longer-than-expected safety checks needed for its petrochemical projects, a company official said.

In May, Petronas reported plans to construct a $20 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex at Pengerang in southern Johor state that would raise the country's total refining capacity to 935,300 b/d.

The development, to be called Refinery & Petrochemicals Integrated Development, or Rapid, is expected to be commissioned by yearend 2016. The Rapid project, which is still at the detailed feasibility study stage, will comprise a 300,000-b/d refinery, a 3 million tpy naphtha cracker, and a petrochemical and polymer complex.


In June, Argentina opened its second LNG import terminal (OGJ Online, June 16, 2011). GNL Escobar is a joint development of YPF SA, ENARSA, and Excelerate Energy on the Parana River, about 30 miles outside Buenos Aires City, and employs Excelerate Energy's GasPort design.

The terminal has a baseload throughput capacity of 500 MMcfd, with peak throughput capacity at 600 MMcfd, and has direct access to the Buenos Aires region and Argentina's gas grid.

Also in June, Dunkerque LNG, a subsidiary of Electricite de France SA (EDF), awarded Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to develop a regasification terminal in Dunkerque in northern France (OGJ Online, June 14, 2011).

Total SA inaugurated a deep conversion upgrade of its 175,000-b/d refinery at Port Arthur, Tex. Photo from Total.

The Dunkerque terminal will have three 190,000-cu m storage tanks and be able to produce 13 billion cu m/year of natural gas, according to the Sener announcement. Construction will take 4 years, with the plant starting up in 2015.

Chevron Australia has awarded a $235 million (Aus.) construction management contract for the Wheatstone LNG project to WorleyParsons. The work will be overseen by personnel in Perth, Houston, and onsite at the Ashburton North plant area as well as selected fabrication yards throughout Asia. It is the first major contract for Wheatstone since Chevron made its final investment decision in September for the two-train, 8.9 million tpy plant.

Natural gas

In the US, Enterprise Products Partners LP started up a fifth NGL fractionator at its Mont Belvieu, Tex., complex, east of Houston. Initial volumes exceed the unit's 75,000 b/d nameplate capacity, EPP said (OGJ Online, Oct. 18, 2011).

The new unit increases total nameplate capacity at EPP's Mont Belvieu site to 380,000 b/d. Under long-term contracts, the unit provides fractionation for increasing NGL production from US shale plays, including Texas' Eagle Ford and those in the Rocky Mountains and Midcontinent.

With petrochemical companies announcing more conversions, expansions, and new construction that will consume additional ethane and gas producers announcing more discoveries of shale plays with NGL-rich reserves, Enterprise has begun building a sixth fractionator at Mont Belvieu, also with 75,000-b/d nameplate capacity.

Upon its completion, total nameplate capacity of Enterprise's Mont Belvieu NGL fractionation complex will increase to more than 450,000 b/d. Enterprise anticipates the sixth fractionator starting up in early 2013, when it will be fully contracted.

Hess Corp., Houston, awarded a contract for detailed design and procurement to Mustang Engineering, a Houston-based Wood Group company, for expansion of Hess's Tioga gas plant in the Bakken oil play in northwestern North Dakota.

The project will expand plant capacity to 250 MMcfd from about 110 MMcfd and install cryogenic capacity for ethane recovery, full fractionation, and NGL sales. Engineering design services will be completed in second-quarter 2012.

Southcross Energy, Dallas, will build a 200-MMcfd gas processing plant in Refugio County, Tex., to process liquids-rich production from the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. The new plant will expand Southcross's processing in the area to 335 MMcfd (OGJ Online, June 14, 2011).

Also to handle rich gas, Southcross is retrofitting and enhancing its Gregory processing plant in San Patricio County to handle 135 MMcfd of rich-gas feed. Southcross's Ron Bancroft said the plant had heretofore been rated at about 150 MMcfd for much leaner gas. The plant lies about 13 miles east of Corpus Christi near the town of Gregory.

Construction of the Woodsboro plant should be completed in second-quarter 2012, the company said. The plant will be about 25 miles northeast of Corpus Christi near the town of Woodsboro.

In October, Zhaikmunai LP, a UK-based independent active in Chinarevskoye field in northwestern Kazakhstan, reported that Trains 1 and 2 of its natural gas treatment plant in the region have begun operations (OGJ Online, Oct. 14, 2011).

The plant treats condensate from Zhaikmunai-operated wells as well as associated gas from the company's oil-treatment unit, producing stabilized condensate, LPG, and dry gas. Each train of the gas treatment plant can process 850 million cu m/year.

In September, Pacific Stratus Energy Corp., a subsidiary of Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., Bogota, has now been effectively processing gas for about 3 months with two plants near Bogota built by Tucker Gas Processing Equipment Inc. The Abanico project is a 1.5 MMscfd plant. The Guaduas project is a 5 MMscfd plant.

In June, AltaGas Ltd., Calgary, received final regulatory approval to begin building its 120-MMcfd Gordondale gas processing plant about 100 km northwest of Grande Prairie, Alta. The plant will be equipped with liquids extraction (OGJ, June 6, 2011, p. 88). The plant is scheduled to come online in late 2012. Project cost is $235 million.

Other gas, sulfur

South African energy and chemicals group Sasol has chosen southwestern Louisiana for the site for its planned gas-to-liquids plant, according to the company. The project is to be the first in the US to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products (OGJ Online, Sept. 13, 2011).

Over 18 months, Sasol will undertake a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish. The study will consider a 2-million tpy plant or a 4 million tpy plant.

Meanwhile, Black & Veatch is working on sulfur projects for PetroChina. Both projects, in engineering phases, are in Guangxi and scheduled for completion in 2013. B&V is also working on sulfur projects in India, Oman, and the US Virgin Islands.


Enbridge Inc. said it will construct a twin to the southern section of its Athabasca Pipeline from Kirby Lake, Alta., to the oil hub at Hardisty, Alta., at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion (OGJ Online, Sept. 16, 2011).

The twin line will initially add 450,000 b/d of capacity between Kirby Lake and Hardisty, with what Enbridge called "low-cost expansion potential to 800,000 b/d." The line is expected to be capable of accepting initial volumes by early 2015, with its full initial capacity available by 2016. The new line will include 345 km of 36-in. pipe largely within the existing Athabasca Pipeline right-of-way.

Lone Star NGL LLC, a joint venture of Energy Transfer Partners LP and Regency Energy Partners LP, will build a 530-mile NGL pipeline from Winkler County in West Texas to the Jackson County processing plant in Jackson County, Tex., moving Permian basin production eastward (OGJ Online, June 24, 2011).

The new line will have a minimum capacity of 130,000 b/d, with the potential to upsize depending on commercial demand. The project currently has more than 65% of capacity subscribed under 15-year agreements. Lone Star expects the pipeline to be completed by first-quarter 2013 at an estimated cost of $700 million, of which ETP will pay 70% and Regency 30%.

Williams Partners LP received US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its proposal to expand its Transco Gas Pipeline by 225 MMcfd to serve the Southeast US (OGJ Online, Sept. 2, 2011).

The expansion will include 23 miles of pipeline, a compressor facility in Dallas County, Ala., and upgrades to existing compressor facilities in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Williams will complete the project in two phases: 95,000 MMcfd entering service in fourth-quarter 2012 and 130,000 MMcfd service second-quarter 2013. Williams estimates the capital cost of the project at $217 million.

Southern Union Co., Houston, will spend $235 million to build the Red Bluff project, a 200-MMcfd gas processing plant and associated gathering, compression, and treating facilities, through its midstream unit, Southern Union Gas Services.

As part of the project, SUGS will build about 60 miles of pipeline to deliver up to 20,000 b/d of NGLs into Lone Star NGL's planned Permian-to-Mt. Belvieu pipeline expansion, under a 15-year firm agreement (OGJ Online, June 24, 2011). Southern Union expects the project to be completed in mid-2013.

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