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Alex Shakarchi

Deputy Regional Manager, Middle East & North Africa; VP of Outside Sales, Oil, Gas & Chemicals

Developing dangerous and difficult 'sour' natural gas for a rapidly growing economy and population through a strong and lasting partnership.

Project Overview

The need was clear. The resource to develop was clear. How to get it done... that was the tricky part.

Al Hosn Gas, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Occidental, had the vision and the courage to take on the dangerous and technically challenging task of developing a natural gas field that had incredibly high sulfur dioxide content – meaning the gas was 'sour.' Sour gas projects had been done, but never at this volume nor with such a high percentage of sulfur dioxide.

Why undertake such a project? Like many countries in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has a rapidly growing population and economy. Gas shortages meant that more energy generation was needed, and it's better to use natural gas to fuel power plants than the more valuable oil that is used for export or other products.

Al Hosn Gas tapped its long-time partner CH2M to help on this ambitious project, one that Al Hosn Gas knew would set new global standards.

Working hand-in-hand with Al Hosn Gas, we provided program management expertise, technical know-how and the benefit of our deep relationships and experience in the region to help keep this critical project on track and safely solve its daunting technical and engineering challenges. The end result is more affordable electricity and a stronger economy for people and families.

All in, we provided engineering, design and program management consulting for six out of nine EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) packages. The Shah Gas Development is now complete, and the new facility is producing natural gas to power the homes and businesses of Abu Dhabi. 

 

Key facts

1B

cubic feet (28M cubic meters) of sour gas produced daily

750+

olympic swimming pools could be filled with the 1 billion cubic feet (28M cubic meters) of sand moved

40K

staff and workers at peak

50M

hours worked with no lost time incidents

 

Testimonial

In the Middle East, developing strong client relationships is critical to success. So when Al Hosn Gas’ venture partner on the Shah Gas Development unexpectedly withdrew during the project, we stepped up. They knew they could count on us to support them and make sure the project was kept alive. And now, it’s completed.

Alex Shakarchi
Deputy Regional Manager, Middle East & North Africa; VP of Outside Sales, Oil, Gas & Chemicals
  • Equipment on the sand dunes at the vast Shah gas field, located in the remote desert about 130 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi City.
  • Our teams provides project management consulting for Shah Gas.
  • An expanse of pipeline at the vast Shah gas field, located in the remote desert about 130 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi City.
  • An administration building takes shape at the vast Shah gas field.

Meet the team

What was involved?

We successfully managed this program of massive scale and complexity by pulling together resources from across the globe, ensuring the Shah Gas Development had the right people in place to tackle such a major undertaking.

Our teams provides project management consulting for Shah Gas.

Managed all activities for six out of nine EPC packages including early works, product pipelines, the gas gathering system and the liquid sulfur handling system

Community impact

Summer in the UAE often brings about gas shortages; diesel is used to supplement the shortfall, resulting in higher emissions and reduced air quality. The cleaner-burning natural gas provided by this project is a better choice for the local environment. In addition, this geographic area is primarily used for date and camel farming, which needs stimulus to thrive commercially. Because local authorities have ordered the construction of new living facilities for plant operators associated with our project, the presence of this plant will further stimulate economic growth in the area.

In Detail
Working hand-in-hand with Al Hosn Gas, we provided program management expertise to supply more affordable electricity and a stronger economy for Abu Dhabi’s growing population.

Cleaner fuel choices, a stronger economy: The Al Hosn Gas Shah Gas Development

Working hand-in-hand with Al Hosn Gas, we provided program management expertise to supply more affordable electricity and a stronger economy for Abu Dhabi’s growing population

How do you meet the increasing domestic demands for natural gas when you have vast resources of dangerous and difficult 'sour' gas? By building the largest sour gas project in the world and setting new global standards in the process.

Al Hosn Gas is behind the Shah Gas Development in the UAE. The project is located 180 kilometers (112 miles) southwest of the City of Abu Dhabi in desert high sand dunes on the fringe of the Empty Quarter.

The new facility processes and treats sour gas, meaning natural gas that has high contents of sulfur dioxide. With about 23.5 percent sulfur content, this gas is incredibly sour, making the project and processing more complex, expensive and dangerous than that for conventional gas.

The high hydrogen sulfide content was a major challenge in all aspects of the project: specifying the material selection, following it with proper procurement, expediting the material without compromising on quality, getting it to the site and overseeing the EPC contractor’s welding procedures – all while maintaining health and safety standards and upholding the schedule. CH2M further addressed these challenges by developing and implementing a unique health, safety and environment (HSE) management system to ensure a systematic approach to HSE risk reduction and regulatory requirements on the project.

We were brought in on the Shah Gas Development to provide program management consulting on six out of nine EPC packages including early works, product pipelines, the gas gathering system and the liquid sulfur handling system. CH2M worked with teams from around the world to help successfully deliver these EPC packages safely, on time and on budget.

Al Hosn Gas has set new global standards for sour gas processing with the Shah development. The new facility will process more than 1 billion cubic feet of sour gas each day into more than 500 million cubic feet of fuel and 10,000 tons of sulfur – the largest facility of its kind anywhere. The project will help Abu Dhabi and the UAE improve air quality and reach its natural gas production goals in the years to come.