Dragados Industrial builds in Cadiz a natural gas treatment plant for the North of Norway

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 22 Dec 2012 11:22

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February 17th, 2003

Dragados Industrial has been awarded a contract to build a natural gas treatment plant for Statoil at its installations in Puerto Real (Cádiz), Spain. When completed in 2005, it will be shipped by sea to the island of Melkoya, located in northern Norway at the edge of the Arctic Circle.

This 173 million euro contract was awarded to Dragados Industrial at the end of last week and signed in Munich by Lorenzo Díaz Revenga, Chairman of Dragados Industrial, and Bjorn Jordan, Projects Director of Statoil. The week before, Statoil had tentatively recommended to its partners in the Snohivt field project (Petoro, Total, Gaz de France, Norsk Hydro Produksjon, Amerada Hess, REW DEA Norge and Svenska Petroleum Explorations) that Dragados Industrial be chosen to build the plant.

The project drew the attention of the international energy sector and the most important industrial contractors and engineering firms in the world participated in the tender that was finally awarded to Dragados Industrial. As a result, the Spanish company has joined the world's elite in this business; until now only half a dozen companies were considered capable of developing a project of this type.

The gas liquefying plant that Dragados Offshore is going to build in Cadiz Bay is scheduled to be operative in 2006. Thus, the work, that will take around two years, must begin immediately. In 2005, the plant will depart towards the Arctic Circle on the pontoons or barge on which it will be built and that will eventually serve as its base.

The plant will treat, compress and liquefy the natural gas from the Norwegian reserve in Snohivt field in the Barents Sea near Russian territorial waters. Norway's Statoil is one of the most important suppliers of gas to Europe and the largest oil and gas producer of the North Sea.

This project is an old "dream come true" of international engineering and a milestone in the industrial plant field. For the first time, a natural gas treatment plant is being built far away from the place where it is to be installed, in this case, 4,000 kilometers away. That is the distance from Puerto Real, Spain, to Hammerfest, the town at the northern tip of Norway closest to the plant's final destination.

The tender released by Statoil was highly competitive and Dragados Offshore was chosen over the multinational companies as ABB, Amec, Fabricom and Aker Kvaerner and ABB, among other companies. Statoil analyzed the offers in depth based on criteria involving "price, quality, safety and respect for the environment" as was pointed out by the successful consortium.

The project, conceived by Statoil in collaboration with the German engineering firm Linde, consists of transforming the island of Melkoya near Hammerfest, by blasting away a hole in the rock to embed the pontoon on which Dragados offshore will build the gas treatment and liquefying plant. Furthermore, storage tanks and a port terminal will also be built so that it will be feasible to transfer the natural gas in liquid state from the plant to methane tankers for shipment to the consumer markets, mainly North America and Europe, including Spain.

This natural gas treatment and liquefying plant will be the first to be installed in Europe, will weigh 24,000 tons and be almost 50 meters tall. It will include a compression area, a process area and an electrical power generating zone that will actually be a thermal power plant in itself since it will have five 12 megawatt turbines.

Shipment by sea

The pontoon on which Dragados Offshore will build the treatment plant will be 154 meters long by 54 meters wide. When completed, the plant will be transferred to an special ship in the Bay of Cadiz, Spain, that will take it to the Barents Sea in the Arctic Circle. The pontoon will be embedded in the area prepared by blasting in Melkoya Island and the rest of the installations will be connected to it.

The difficult living conditions in the area, where it is totally dark six months of the year and the temperatures drop to 40º below zero in winter, make it impossible to build the plant in situ. Yet a traditional offshore structure would not be advisable to extract the gas because of the impact it would have on the environment and the important fishing resources in the area.

Therefore, Norway decided to install underwater stations at the mouth of each natural gas well and pipe the gas to the treatment plant in Melkoya some 100 kilometers away. Statoil plans to invest around 45,300 million Norwegian crowns (about 5,800 million euros) to put the Snohvit field in operation.

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