Hasbah – new challenges; new solutions

In the deep water of the gorgeous Arabian Gulf lie the Hasbah and Arabiyah fields. Discovered in 2008, these natural gas fields are key to our vision for energy in the Kingdom. By tapping into this rich resource, we hope to nearly double our gas supplies over the next 10 years to reach more than 20 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bscfd). This will increase the share of gas — the least environmental polluting fuel — in the utility fuel mix to more than 70% and help to satisfy domestic power demand, thus freeing up more high value liquids for industry and export.

As only the second such project in Saudi Aramco’s history after the Karan field development, Habay/Arabiyah was a great opportunity to build on previous experience, take our learnings to the next level, and train our own workforce on a new and challenging aspect of our work.

Hasbah consists of seven of the world’s largest gas production platforms, with a production capacity of 350 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of nonassociated gas per well. The seven wells in the Hasbah field were designed to withstand a pressure of an unprecedented 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi), and gas produced from the wells is directed to a tie-in platform, which in turn transfers gas to the Wasit Gas Plant through a 36-inch pipeline. The Arabiyah field has six platforms that are pooled to a tie in platform, which is also linked via subsea pipelines to the Wasit Gas Plant.

Obviously, a project of this size threw up some interesting challenges, and even more interesting solutions. With space at a premium in offshore areas, keeping the size of cables for the delivery of essential utilities was key. So we developed a 130,000 psi steel tube pipeline separated into three parts – meaning every wellhead platform could be connected through only one feeder.

And with electricity voltage a real issue across a 163 km power cable, we also deployed static synchronous compensators (Statcoms) for the first time in the Middle East – helping to regulate voltage across this incredible distance.

But perhaps the biggest innovation of all was the approach to training and development. To ensure the compatibility of procedures, instruments, and equipment, we employed external subject matter experts in gas processing and production facilities. Pairing experts with a number of young Saudi employees, we were able to fast-track our employees’ knowledge and develop a number of courses that other people involved in the project can now attend.

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