Qatar Gas I LNG Plant, Ras Laffan, Qatar

Qatargas I LNG plant is located in Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar and has been in operation since December 1996. It is owned and operated by the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas), a special purpose vehicle established to build, own and operate the LNG plant.

The plant uses natural gas from the giant North Field reservoir as feedstock and exports the processed LNG product to Japan, Spain, Europe, Korea and the US.

"Qatargas I LNG plant is located in Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar and has been in operation since December 1996."

Qatargas was formed in 1984 and is owned by Qatar General Petroleum (QGPC 65%), ExxonMobil (10%), Total (10%), Mitsui (7.5%) and Marubeni (7.5%). The estimated cost of the Qatargas 1 development project was $2.3bn.

The LNG project was announced in 1981 and broke ground in 1994. It was commissioned in 1997 with an initial capacity of 6mtpa which was subsequently increased to the current capacity of 10mtpa, after a debottlenecking project completed in 2005.

In order to maintain the current production level in future, Qatargas initiated the plateau maintenance project (PMP) in 2010.

The PMP project will facilitate increased feed gas rates from offshore wells and enlarge the onshore LNG plant capabilities. It involves constructing of new acid gas removal and sulphur recovery unit near the existing units.

In addition, continuous emission monitoring solution (CEMS) units will be installed on top of the gas and sulphur recovery incinerator exhaust stacks to reduce the sulphur level in the feed gas. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Offshore production at the expansive North Field

The North Field was discovered in 1971. The offshore production and separation and treatment facilities are situated 80km away from the mainland. There are three platforms and 22 production wells.

About 1,600 million standard cubic feet of raw gas is transported every day through a 32-inch underwater pipeline to the onshore LNG plant. It also produces 51,000 barrels of associated condensate a day.

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Infrastructure of the Qatargas I LNG plant in in Ras Laffan Industrial City

The Qatargas I LNG plant includes all attendant infrastructure, including LNG storage tanks, loading jetties and three liquefaction process trains (designated trains 1, 2 and 3) of 3.2mtpa capacity each.

Each production train is 300m long. The sulphur recovery rate is 120t/day x 2 trains.

Construction of the operational Qatargas I LNG plant

Engineering work started with the verification of the front-end engineering design (FEED) package provided by the owner, which required the complete re-design of the acid gas removal unit, sulphur recovery unit, associated utilities and plot plan.

Construction of the project started with the site preparation and infrastructure development, such as a 35km access road and camp facilities in 1994.

The construction phase of the LNG process trains, jetty loading areas and storage tanks required total labour man-hours of 66.5 million, concrete pour of 182,600m³, 9,300t of steel, 28,000t of pipeline and installed equipments weighing 32,000t.

Plant hand-over (PHO) of the first train was achieved in September 1996, 39 months after tha contract award, and PHO of the second train occurred three months later - both ahead of the contractual schedule.

The third train was awarded in July 1995, and PHO was achieved in March 1998, 32 months after the contract award, eight months ahead of schedule.

Debottlenecking programme

In December 2001 Qatargas carried out a debottlenecking programme of the three LNG process trains.

"It is owned and operated by the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company (Qatargas)."

The work involved replacing or upgrading some of the key process equipment, such as compressors and turbines, to expand the capacity of each of the three LNG trains from 2mtpa to 3.2mtpa.

The engineering upgrades were executed during four shutdowns, scheduled between 2002 and 2005, of about one month each.
Two of the three original trains were successfully debottlenecked by 2003 and the third train was completed in 2005.

The first LNG carrier departed Ras Laffan port in December 1996, delivering the initial shipment to the Kawagoe Terminal in Japan to a Japanese buyer, Chubu Electric Power, where the world's largest LNG-fed power plant (4,700MW) was waiting for the first delivery.

The existing fleet comprises 12 purpose-built ships of 135,000m3 capacity each. Ten of these ships transport LNG to Japan and two to Spain.

Contractors involved in the plant construction and development

Chiyoda Corporation of Japan was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor of the original plant.

Within Qatargas, a plant project task force team (PTF) was established to manage and supervise the EPC contractor.

The debottleneck project was carried out by a joint venture of Technip and Chiyoda (TCJV) under a €100m EPC contract. The joint venture is also the EPC contractor for the current PMP project. Other PMP project suppliers include ABB for 16 CEMS units and Struthers Wells for a thermal reactor furnace, waste heat boiler and steam drum.

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