Abstract

700 million standard cubic feet of valuable natural gas are flared each day in South Iraq as a byproduct of the region's oil production. At the same time, residents of southern Iraq suffer from a significant lack of power and at times can have as little as only a couple of hours of electricity per day. Iraq is now the 4th largest gas flaring country in a world of increased environment consciousness and the greenhouse gas emissions from these flares are equivalent to Croatia's total emissions.

Basrah Gas Company (BGC), a joint venture between South Gas Company (51%), Shell (44%) and Mitsubishi (5%), is a midstream gas company that aims to capture associated gas from three supergiant oil fields in southern Iraq – Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair. BGC is processing gas into valuable products of condensate, LPG, and dry gas to be used for power generation to the domestic grid. Approximately 5,000 Iraqi employees are seconded into BGC; these are much needed jobs and a valuable opportunity to transfer skills and capabilities into the region.

In 2015, just two years after commencement of BGC operations, much learning has been gained and progress has been made on all themes on the journey to increase safety, production capacity and operational excellence. This includes:

  1. Installation of new compressor configurations and rental machines to quickly add compression capacity.

  2. Priority scoping to rehabilitate the gas plants.

  3. Urgent work to recover process safety systems and safe work practices.

  4. Forecasting and planning projects to stay connected to the upstream gas supply from new oil developments.

  5. Maturing alternate growth projects - including a new green field gas plant.

  6. Developing operations systems that will assure production and maintain integrity.

From these examples it is clear that executing the world's largest flares reduction project requires novel thinking and excellence in project management. Furthermore, overcoming the increased challenges specific to the region, impacted by decades of war and economic sanctions, has brought enriched learning for the company and beyond. These capabilities in project execution built on this early experience are a sound foundation for project delivery.

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