The 24 inch Medgaz pipeline runs for 130.5 miles (210 km) along the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea, transporting natural gas from the Beni Saf compressor station on the coast of Algeria to the Onshore Pressure Regulation Station at Almeria on the coast of Spain and into the Enagas transportation network. The pipeline reaches a maximum depth of 6,955 ft (2,120 m) as it crosses the Mediterranean. The project was launched in 2001. The feasibility study was executed during 2002 and early 2003 followed by the front end engineering and design. After permits and financing were completed, construction began in 2007. Medgaz has relied on the use of modeling systems from the early design phases of the project where steady state and transient simulators were used to aid in the design and in the verification of the expected hydraulic performance of the pipeline. This paper discusses the key aspects of modeling the pipeline with a focus on those elements and modules not often found in pipeline simulation. The paper also illustrates specific examples of practical uses of these models in preparation to the pipeline startup and the procedures used by Medgaz during this critical phase of the project.
The Medgaz pipeline is a very strategic project for Algeria, Spain and the rest of Europe. This direct link between Northern Africa and Southern Europe will contribute to the security of gas supply within Europe. Additionally, international agencies such as the Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Energie have concluded that it is the most cost effective way to provide energy to southern Europe. The Medgaz pipeline will also help Europe achieve important objectives of the Kyoto Protocol by providing clean energy as authorities have pledged an increased use of natural gas for electricity generation. Natural gas comes from the Hassi R'Mel gas fields, about 341.8 miles (550 km) from Beni Saf. With a surface area of 1614587 ft2 (150,000 m2), the compressor station at Beni Saf will raise natural gas pressure from the gigantic Hassi R'Mel fields so the gas can then be transported to Spain. The function of the Beni Saf Compression Station (BSCS) in Algeria is to compress the gas coming from the Sonatrach installation and send it to the Offshore Pipeline Receiving Terminal (OPRT) in AlmerÍa through the Marine Pipeline, complying with Spanish pipeline entry conditions. Gas coming from the Algerian grid is filtered and sent directly to the turbo-compressor trains. The compressors are centrifugal back-to-back type driven by aero-derivative gas turbines.
Throughout most of its route, the pipeline will be laid on the seabed; in the areas near to shore, it will be buried. Phase 2 of the project will entail the installation of a second marine pipeline and upgrading of the onshore facilities; this will boost transportation capacity to 564 BCF/year (15.97 BCM/Year).
The function of the Offshore Pipeline Receiving Terminal (OPRT) in AlmerÍa is to regulate the gas pressure and temperature to meet Spanish pipeline entry conditions.