Qatar’s landmark project to recover natural gas from LNG ship-loading in Ras Laffan, inaugurated in April 2015, doesn’t exactly have the catchiest name or acronym, but it is descriptive: JBOG stands for Jetty Boil-Off Gas recovery project. And it promises major benefits for the country.
The USD1 billion environmental development has been implemented to put a near-complete end to flaring from the six liquefied natural gas (LNG) loading berths at Ras Laffan Port.
Qatargas says the project ‘underlines the nation’s demonstrated commitment to balance industrial development with care for the environment’, adding ‘This huge investment will reduce the carbon footprint of loading the 77 million tonnes per annum of LNG production facilities to the lowest practical levels’.
Positive results from the project are expected to include a 90% reduction in flaring at the loading berths, which is equivalent to annual green house gas (GHG) savings of approximately 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 – it would take an estimated 4 million acres of rain forest trees to do that clean-up!
And despite its recent inception, you can be forgiven if you recall the name from 10 or more years ago, because the initial, subsequently hugely modified, planning activities for JBOG were initiated in 2004.
For those not in the industry, and unfamiliar with the significance of JBOG, here is a quick explanation: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is stored and transported in tanks as a cryogenic liquid. Due to a variety of processes at the terminal, LNG continuously evaporates at temperatures above its boiling point, generating what is called boil-off-gas (BOG).
BOG must be either removed from the process (which was previously done at Ras Laffan by flaring) or recovered back into the system to prevent the over pressurisation of plant equipment and ship storage.
Put very simply, gas is taken off the LNG ships during loading, sent via pipelines to a Central Compression Area (CCA), compressed and sent back to the LNG producers. Since boil-off gas is discharged from the ships at very cold temperatures (between –80 and –100 ̊C) the pipelines have to be made from stainless steel to withstand the low temperature gas. ￼
The JBOG Recovery Project, which is part of the Common Facilities Projects at Ras Laffan Industrial city, will recover the equivalent of some 0.6 million tonnes per year of LNG, which is enough natural gas to produce about 750MW of power – sufficient for more than 300,000 homes.
It should also lead to savings of approximately one trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas over a period of 30 years for Qatar.
The JBOG facility began operations in October 2014 and was officially inaugurated in April 2015. However the initial planning activities were initiated in 2007 by RasGas, which completed the pre-front end engineering and design (pre-FEED) works in 2007. The project was then awarded to Qatargas later that year. The main shareholders are Qatar Petroleum (QP), ExxonMobil, Total, ConocoPhillips and Shell. Qatargas is the operator of the facility on behalf of QP and RasGas Company (RasGas).
The boil-off gas recovered will be sent back to the ventures in the same proportion as it is produced. For example, if one venture produces more JBOG than it is expected to produce, then that venture will receive more JBOG than its ownership share.
Overall, QP owns 70% of the project – which achieved an impressive overall safety record of 22.6 million man-hours without a lost time incident (LTI) during the construction phase, and involved up to 3,500 people at its peak.
The process primarily involves the recovery of LNG boil-off gas from the LNG carriers during loading and its transfer to a Central Compression Area (CCA) through carbon steel pipelines with diameters of between 34 and 60 inches. Tie-in facilities were installed at each of the six berths and the project also involved the upgrade of 85 LNG vessels including Qmax, Qflex, conventional Membrane and Moss type to align with the project facilities.
After compression, the recovered gas is further conveyed via carbon steel pipelines to Lot H, Qatargas Lean LNG Tank Farm at Lot N and Qatargas 1 LNG trains for use as fuel gas or for conversion into LNG. The CCA features three main buildings: one accommodating the control equipment and office spaces, the other two the power equipment. The CCA requires 132kV of power, which is supplied via two sets of cables from the Kahramaa Substation 2, located within RLC.
Qatar was the first Gulf state to join the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR), in 2009.
Apart from JBOG, a number of other projects have helped Qatar to substantially reduce the country’s gas flaring. For example, by 2012, Qatar Petroleum and Denmark’s Maersk Oil had achieved a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions and a 90% reduction in gas flaring at their joint Al Shaheen gas-gathering and flare reduction project. The gas, produced as a by-product of pumping oil from 300 offshore wells, had originally been flared when oil production started at the field in 1994.
Apart from its participation in JBOG, RasGas launched a fresh five-year flare minimisation plan in 2012, covering its Ras Laffan facilities (both on-site and off-plot), a continuation of the inaugural five-year plan. That plan, expected to be completed by next year, aims to reduce flaring emissions from a baseline of 1.26% (volume of flared gas per unit of gas intake) in 2011 to 0.43% in 2016.
The Qatar Petroleum Development Company (QPD)- operated Al Karkara offshore field became the first in Qatar with zero flaring.
And Qatar’s USD15 million contribution to the energy research and climate change fund announced at OPEC summit held in Riyadh, is another gesture of the nation’s commitment in battling the emission rate.
Image Credit: QatarGas