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Aramco embarks on $10bn expansion of gas network

An employee at Aramco's Fadhili gas plant. The upgraded master gas system is intended to meet Saudi Arabia's growing domestic demand Aramco
An employee at Aramco's Fadhili gas plant. The upgraded master gas system is intended to meet Saudi Arabia's growing domestic demand
  • Project will add 821km of pipeline
  • Contractors from China, India, Turkey
  • System in operation since 1982

Saudi Arabia’s master gas system, one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon networks, is getting a $10 billion upgrade as the kingdom bolsters its energy infrastructure to support growing domestic gas demand.

State oil and gas company Saudi Aramco has selected contractors for engineering, procurement and construction works on 16 of 17 programme packages.

The project involves upgrading existing gas compression systems, installing new compressors and laying pipelines to extend transportation facilities across the country. 

It will add 821km of pipeline across the east-west corridor and increase network capacity to 12.5 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day, according to Aramco.

The selected companies include China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation, Saudi Arabia’s Gas Arabian, India’s Larsen & Toubro Energy Hydrocarbon and Kalpataru Power Transmission, Turkey’s Mapa, Saudi-Italian consortium Nesma & Partners/Sicim and China’s Sepco.

The master gas system was built in the mid-1970s to transport oil-associated gas from the Ghawar field in Al Ahsa governorate in the Eastern Province, in order to support Saudi Arabia’s industrialisation. 

The network came online in 1982, when the country began exploiting gas reserves as an energy source instead of flaring.

The system was expanded and channels gas from other oilfields, mainly from the eastern parts of the country, to its western provinces, where the fuel is used for domestic industrial and household consumption.

The master gas system “enables the company to utilise all the gas it produces domestically, with the main consumers being power generation, followed by petrochemical and refining industries, cement and desalination plants and fertiliser and steel-making facilities”, according to Aramco.

The state energy giant says that by stopping most gas flaring, Saudi Arabia has removed 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

The kingdom is now turning its focus to non-associated gas production and the network expansion would also accommodate gas from the $110 billion Jafurah development.

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