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Shell shelves compression project for key North Sea gas field

Shell has shelved plans for a subsea gas compression project in the North Sea over fears about the project’s cost. The company had been developing a system using subsea compressors on the Ormen Lange project in the Norwegian Sea that would run without an offshore platform. The project was looking at how to extract more gas from the field, which provides a fifth of the UK’s entire gas supply. But after six years of work to find a concept that would work on the field, Shell has now decided to postpone the project. The project had been looking at ways of extracting more gas either through a platform-less subsea compression techniques developed by Aker Solutions, or by installing a tension leg platform on the site. Shell said it still supported using subsea compression on the field, but that the current economics of the project had forced it to be shelved. The first phase of the field project has cost around £5bn, with Shell operating alongside partners Petoro, Statoil, Dong Energy and ExxonMobil. Petoro were the only ones to have objected to the decision to shelve the project.


Gazprom Neft selects contractor to lay pipeline in Iraq

Gazprom Neft, operator of the Badra oilfield development project, has appointed a contractor to lay the pipeline connecting the field to the power station in Zubaidiah (Wasit Province). The tender was won by Pakistani company Techno Engineering Services. In line with the contract, Techno Engineering Services will produce the designs, supply the equipment and materials, and carry out construction of the pipeline. First gas transportation via the pipeline, which is almost 100km in length and has a daily capacity of 4.4 million cubic metres (circa 1.6 billion cubic metres per year), is planned for 2015. Under Gazprom Neft’s contract with the Iraqi government for the development of the Badra oil field, investors are to be compensated for costs related to infrastructure construction. Gas supply from the Badra oil field will enhance the Zubaidiah power station’s daily power output and provide a 24-hour power supply to the city of Kut, which currently has electricity supplied for only 16 hours per day. Some of the extracted gas will be used to provide electricity to the Badra oil fields themselves.


MRPL starts delayed coker at Mangalore refinery

Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL), a subsidiary of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, has commissioned a 3 million tonne/year delayed coking unit that is part of a long-delayed project to expand its 194,000-b/d refinery in Mangalore, India. A major secondary processing unit of MRPL’s Phase 3 expansion project at Mangalore, the DCU began operations on April 3. The unit, which required an investment of about 11.7bn rupees, was built by Toyo Engineers and Punj Lloyd, and uses technology supplied by Lummus Technology, according to MRPL. The company said a sustained unavailability of steam and power from a captive power plant at the refinery site delayed the coker’s start-up. While a crude distillation unit, diesel hydrotreater, and hydrogen units of the Phase 3 expansion have been in operation, a sulphur recovery unit and coker gas oil treating units will be commissioned soon, MRPL said. Additionally, precommissioning activities for Phase 3’s fluid catalytic cracker are under way, with the unit expected to come on line by the end of April. MRPL also said an integrated polypropylene unit included in the expansion is now 95% mechanically completed and will be commissioned in July.


Shell, CNPC sign co-op deal

Royal Dutch Shell and the China National Petroleum Corporation have signed an agreement for projects in deep sea exploration, LNG, upstream and downstream. Shell also plans to partner with CNPC to build a $12.6bn refinery and petrochemical complex in eastern China, a project that could become the single largest foreign investment in the country. The company is also a major supplier of LNG to China, securing gas from its global gasfields in Australia, Qatar and elsewhere.


Technip wins HQC FEED deal

Technip, in partnership with China HuanQiu Contracting & Engineering Corporation, has been awarded by Basra Gas Company, a front-end engineering design contract for Ar Ratawi Natural Gas Liquids train1 project at North Rumaila in Basra Province, Iraq. The project is the first of the new greenfield associated gas processing facilities that will significantly minimise gas flaring in Iraq and make more energy resources available for power and domestic use – an NGL train with nominal feed gas capacity of 530 million standard cubic feet per day. The standalone facilities will produce liquefied petroleum gas, NGL and condensate for domestic markets. The scope of work covers the basic engineering design package of the NGL process units, utilities and the submission of an engineering procurement and construction package. Technip’s operating centre in Abu Dhabi will execute the project, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.


Statoil to deploy 14 new technologies in Canadian oil sands operations

Statoil aims to test and deploy over the next five-to-10 years up to 14 new technologies designed to reduce energy and water use when producing a barrel of bitumen from its Canadian oil sands operations. In its recently published 2013 Oil Sands Report, the company said the new technologies will improve or replace elements of its current SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) method. The technologies have been included in plans for Statoil's Corner Project in Alberta, where the firm expects to achieve a 10-15% reduction in the volume of steam used to produce a barrel of bitumen. Statoil has regulatory approval to produce 40,000 barrels per day from its Corner lease area. Statoil said its oil sands production decreased 'slightly' last year, to 15,000 bpd from 16,000 bpd in 2012. Meanwhile, its carbon dioxide intensity increased from 55.5 kilograms per barrel in 2012 to 69.7 kilograms per barrel last year, although this was lower than 2011's 72.7 kilograms per barrel. Statoil said the increase in carbon dioxide intensity was expected because of two operational factors: more steam being utilised in 2013 when a fourth steam generator was added to support new well pads as well as current production wells; and the firm experiencing an imbalance in the reservoir after a planned maintenance period.


Total goes ahead with $16B Angolan Kaombo oil project

Total has decided to go ahead with its Kaombo oil project offshore Angola after lowering its cost by $4bn to $16bn. The decision to invest in the deep sea project has been repeatedly delayed because of its cost. In recent years a number of other large-scale projects around the world have fallen victim to moves by companies to restrict investment and return cash to shareholders. The ultra-deep field will have a production capacity of 230,000 barrels per day, for a start-up date in 2017. Total is already the top operator in Angola, with the 600,000 barrels it produces per day at its Girassol, Dalia and Pazflor deepwater fields in the huge Block 17 representing over a third of the country's output. Angola is Africa's second largest oil producer and it wants to increase production to 2 million barrels per day next year from £1.73m in 2013. The country's state-owned Sonangol P&P has a 30% stake in the Kaombo project, Sonangol Sinopec International has 20%, ExxonMobil's Esso unit holds 15% and Total owns the remaining 30%. The oil field is located about 260km off the capital Luanda, in water depths ranging from 1,400 to 1,900 metres. (Item contains no further information.)


BSEE offers grant for Arctic oil spill response

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is offering grant money for research into developing technologies to respond to oil spills in icy Arctic conditions. The agency said that it is seeking 'new and innovative mechanical technologies' for cleaning up oil spills in drift ice conditions. 'Collection systems should be able to efficiently collect oil while operating in drift ice conditions that might be found in an Arctic environment'. BSEE's oil spill response research programme is now soliciting brief white papers proposing solutions to clean up Arctic oil spills, the most promising of which will be asked to submit full proposals. The agency has made up to $600,000 available to launch the new research, though it does not expect any single award to exceed $200,000. BSEE will select up to three designs for prototype development and testing.


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