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Saudi Aramco Offshore Sour Gas Production: Elemental Sulfur Deposition Mitigation

Authors: Ismail A. Alami, Mohammad N. Al-Haji and Shadi I. Al-Adel

ABSTRACT
The Wasit Gas Plant (WGP) project is the latest gas increment currently being executed by Saudi Aramco to expand the Kingdoms Master Gas System (MGS). It will provide grass root facilities for processing 2,500 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) produced from two nonassociated offshore gas fields. Initial analyses indicated the presence of elemental sulfur in the produced gas from Hasbah field with high concerns related to flow assurance and corrosion in the offshore gas production and transportation facilities. This article will discuss and present Saudi Aramcos approach to mitigate the impacts of this unique design challenge. It includes a description of analysis to quantify the expected level of elemental sulfur, sulfur solvent screening and selection, design of the sulfur solvent handling facilities and the impact of sulfur solvent on chemical qualification testing.

are located about 130 kilometers (km) from the shoreline. The onshore Wasit gas processing facility will be located around 30 km away from the shoreline. The plant is expected to be onstream in 2014. There are six offshore wellhead platforms (WPs) in the Arabiyah field, and seven in the Hasbah field with one tie-in platform (TP) for each field. Produced gas from each WP is piped subsea to its respective TP, combined and piped subsea to the onshore WGP in two 36 subsea pipelines. Figure 1 is a diagram of the Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore facilities.

INTRODUCTION
The Wasit Gas Plant (WGP) projects will provide facilities to process 1,200 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) and 1,300 MMscfd of Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore Khuff gas fields, respectively. The composition of the gas produced from each field is shown in Table 1. The Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore nonassociated gas fields were discovered in December 2008. The fields Component (mole%) N2 CO2 H2S C1 C2 C3 i-C4 n-C4 i-C5 n-C5 C6 C7 C8 H2O [bbl/MMscf] Hasbah 6.18 7.97 4.33 81.29 0.22 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2-2.4 Arabiyah 12.48 7.51 4.37 72.31 2.28 0.49 0.11 0.15 0.08 0.06 0.09 0.07 0.01 3-4.6

Fig. 1. Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore facilities.

Table 1. Arabiyah and Hasbah fields gas composition

The onshore gas processing plant will treat the combined 2,500 MMscfd of Arabiyah and Hasbah nonassociated Khuff gas to deliver sales gas to the Kingdoms Master Gas System (MGS). The plant is expected to produce 1,750 MMscfd of 1,080 BTU/SCF equivalent sales gas and 4,200 metric tons per day of sulfur. Monoethylene Glycol (MEG) injection will be used as a means to prevent hydrate formation in the two subsea pipelines. MEG is circulated continuously between the glycol regeneration units located in the onshore gas processing facilities and the TPs.
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Fig. 2. WGP block diagram.

The major facilities to be designed and installed as part of the project include: Slugcatchers to physically separate the incoming gas from liquids. MEG regeneration and reclamation facility. Sour water system. Acid gas removal. Sulfur recovery with Euro-Claus technology. Triethylene Glycol (TEG) gas dehydration units. Propane (C3) refrigeration system to provide process cooling requirements. Sales gas blending and delivery system. Electrical and nonelectrical utilities, which include cogeneration (CoGEN) units and highpressure steam boilers. Flare system.

A block diagram, which shows the main process components for WGP, is shown in Fig. 2.

ELEMENTAL SULFUR ANALYSES AND DEPOSITION POTENTIAL


One of the challenges that were encountered during the design of this project is the presence of elemental sulfur in the Hasbah offshore sour gas. Initial in-house gas sampling from Hasbah field indicated the possible presence of elemental sulfur. Follow-up bottom-hole samples were collected, conditioned and shipped by Schlumberger to Alberta Sulfur Research Ltd. (ASRL) in Calgary. Confirming the initial results of the presences of elemental sulfur, the analysis showed that samples contained as high as 5 lb/MMscf of elemental sulfur, 1 Table 2 (located at the end of the article). This will
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equate to about 6,500 lb of sulfur per day. Although no sulfur analysis has taken place at Arabiyah, a gas analysis, Table 1, indicates that the gas is relatively rich with over 3 mol% C2+ hydrocarbons. ASRL indicated that with this analysis, even if sulfur is present, the likelihood of it coming out of solution and depositing is remote due to the washing action of the condensate. The analysis work also included determining the sulfur deposition potential and impact on the gas production and processing systems. As elemental sulfur is present as a dissolved species in the produced Hasbah sour gas, sulfur deposition can take place in the reservoir, wellbore and in the surface facilities. The sulfur deposition is heavily dependent on pressure and temperature changes. The sulfur solubility data indicate that sulfur deposition will take place in or downstream of the choke valve located on the well production platform. The analysis indicated that the expected changes in pressure and temperature, which will be encountered by the produced gas from the wellhead until it reaches the onshore processing facility, will result in retrograde sulfur condensation or precipitation and subsequent deposition during the production of Hasbah gas. The impact of this deposition includes wet sulfur corrosion by an under deposit pitting mechanism or periodic production interruptions due to plugging. Well testing data is used to construct a solubility diagram, which identifies the changes in sulfur carrying capacity of the produced gas from reservoir to wellhead 1 and beyond . The analyzed samples, which showed that the gas will contain 5 lb sulfur/MMscf, indicate that the gas will be well under saturated with elemental sulfur as the constructed equilibrium diagram suggests that the maximum gas solubility under the Hasbah reservoir conditions are above 150 lb sulfur/MMscf with a 1 saturation level of 3.33% . Tables 3, 4 and 5 (located at the end of the article) provide the temperature and pressure profile through the

Hasbah system during early-, mid- and late-life production at the following operating scenarios from a single production platform: Minimum gas production rate of 76 MMscfd during pipeline pigging (scrapping) operation to enable pipeline cleaning. The pigging frequency will be determined based on an online trial basis and expected to be required every two weeks based on anticipated sulfur accumulation. Normal gas production rate of 198 MMscfd. Maximum gas production rate of 350 MMscfd (Initial).

Accordingly, it was determined to inject the solvent upstream of the choke valve to prevent sulfur accumulation and possible blockage.

SULFUR SOLVENT SCREENING AND LITERATURE REVIEW


The available treatment option for the gas well sulfur plugging problem is based on solvent injection. The most common type of treatment is with a once through application, where the chemical is recovered with the well liquids but not reused. Regenerable solvent techniques are available, but few companies seem to employ 2 them . In particular, Mobil Erdgas-Erdoel GmbH in northern Germany uses Alkylnaphthelene and mineral carrier oil with boiling ranges between 240 C and 270 3, 4 C . Crystatech is developing a new regenerable solvent technique. These techniques seem to be generally for downhole injection applications. Regenerable processes are not considered for this offshore application because they tend to be expensive and involve additional solvent separation and control at 5 the WP to send the solvent ashore . Furthermore, they would require onshore regeneration equipment, such as solvent surge vessels, crystallization and filtration equipment, pumps and subsea lines from and to the WP. This is similar to the MEG regeneration system. A comprehensive study was conducted to identify the potential sulfur solvent for Hasbah field application. Table 6 (located at the end of the article) represents information provided by ASRL and the sulfur solvent suppliers about sulfur uptakes and estimated injection rates for several proposed solvents. This information is based on sulfur uptakes at 44 F and injection rates are calculated for 5 lb/MMscf sulfur and 1,300 MMscfd 2, 6 production rate from Hasbah field . 6 The evaluation also revealed the following : There are two major types of sulfur solvents: Chemical solvents (amine-based, disulfidebased) and physical solvents (hydrocarbonbased). Chemical solvents have a much higher sulfur uptake capacity; however, they are less common due to availability and handling difficulties. Sulfur uptake of physical solvents decrease significantly at lower temperatures. As a result, the injection rate for physical solvents has to be estimated at the lowest temperature in the system (i.e., 40 F at the slugcatchers). Amine-based solvents generate amine polysulfide as they absorb sulfur. Amine polysulfide is miscible in aqueous phase and would therefore be miscible with the MEG and water in the slugcatchers. Injection of the spent solvent into a crude pipeline is an option with hydrocarbon-based and disulfide-based solvents. Product of amineSPRING 2012

Figure 3 shows the constructed solubility diagram for Hasbah sour gas. Experimental sulfur solubility data is transposed onto a temperature/pressure plot in the form of constant sulfur solubility as shown. The constructed diagram along with the anticipated operating temperature and pressure profile, were used to estimate the sulfur deposition quantity and location. Figure 3 also shows the maximum flow scenario will demonstrate the lowest level of sulfur solubility in the gas, which translates to the highest possible sulfur deposition. The location of the injection point was also determined using the diagram, which shows that almost 96% of the sulfur is expected to drop out through the choke valves as the solubility level drops significantly as a result of decline in the gas pressure and temperature.

Fig. 3. Sulfur solubility phase diagram for the Hasbah-A, KhuffC bottom-hole fluid.

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based solvents has to be injected into disposal wells or removed for processing. It should be noted that the numbers presented in Table 6 are based on pure chemical data and should be treated as guidelines only. Actual uptake capacity of commercial solvents depends on the solvent formulation and operating conditions. Fit-for-purpose tests are recommended once solvent suppliers are identified to determine accurate injection rates as well as system compatibilities. While ICTC SS2000 Dimethyl Disulfide (DMDS)/ Disulfide Oil (DSO) seemed to be the clear choice because of its high sulfur solubility, gas producers are tending to move away from using DMDS and Diallyl Disulfide (DADS) due to Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) issues. In addition, the solvent vendor expressed serious concerns on solvent availability for this project application. Saudi Aramco provided a list of possible solvents available from WGP facilities. ASRL reviewed the list and indicated that the Colored Bodies Stream produced in Wasit liquid natural gas (NGL) contains aliphatic hydrocarbons only and is expected to dissolve 0.2 wt% of elemental sulfur, which corresponds to an injection rate of 15,000 bbl/day. The same injection rate is expected for Wasit NGL stream and Juaymah C5 (pentane) stream mentioned in the list provided by Saudi Aramco. Based on this feedback from ASRL, the above solvents were not considered for the Hasbah gas 6 application . Saudi Aramco also provided the composition of the DSO stream, which will be produced by WGP for ASRL review as a possible solvent. The stream contains 41.1 mol% DMDS and 58.78 mol% DADS and based on ASRL tests it can absorb up to 80 wt% elemental sulfur, which corresponds to approximately 24.3 bbl/day of injection rate. While this WGP DSO stream could have been potentially used as a sulfur solvent, it was later dropped due to the fact that this streams quality may vary and it may also contain traces of caustic, which will have a detrimental effect in terms of piping and facilities 6 corrosion . Based on the above preliminary findings, and based on ASRLs recommendations, Saudi Aramco decided to limit the solvent selection to hydrocarbon-based solvents from different local refinery cuts that are known to contain polycyclic aromatics.

fluids at three temperatures (T = 5 C, 25 C and 45 C). This phase also will include determining the densities of the sulfur saturated fluids at each temperature and preliminary miscibility/stability studies. Preliminary miscibility studies include testing the emulsion stability of lean MEG with the two virgin fluids at T = 20 C and the emulsion stability of each sulfur saturated fluid at T = 25 C with water/MEG (60:40 by volume). Sulfur Uptake Study The sulfur uptake for the six samples were rapidly tested by determining the sulfur content of each virgin solvent and each sulfur saturated sample at T = 20 C after an overnight equilibration period. The results of testing are illustrated in Table 7. The results indicated that Samples #1 (light cycle oil (LCO)) and #4 (heavy cycle oil (HCO)) had the highest sulfur uptake under the examined conditions. It should be noted that none of the virgin materials had detectable quantities of elemental sulfur. Based on these results, and due to time constraints, further testing was con2 ducted for Samples #1 and #4 only . Sample # Description Test Condition Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Saturated Virgin Sulfur Analysis* (wt%) 2.06 0.09 0.00 0.48 0.03 0.00 0.69 0.06 0.00 0.99 0.03 0.00 0.50 0.03 0.00 0.56 0.03 0.00

Light Cycle Oil Full Range Hydrocracker Diesel Light Diesel Oil (straight run) Heavy Diesel Oil (HDO) (straight run, Side Cut #6) Heavy Diesel

Khuff Heavy Diesel

FINAL SOLVENTS SCREENING AND SELECTION


After identifying some locally available solvent candidates, the study was divided into two phases. Phase 1 will initially examine the sulfur uptake at T = 20 C for six potential sulfur solvents to determine which two samples have the greatest uptake capacity. The two solvents, which perform best with respect to sulfur solubility, will be further studied in Phase 2 to determine the equilibrium sulfur uptake for both hydrogen sulfide saturated
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Table 7. Sulfur content for Samples #1 to #6


*A quantitative TPPS complex for (S8+Sx); Errors are listed as 3.

Sulfur Uptake Study of Samples #1 and #4 The experimental results for the sulfur uptake for Samples #1 and #4 at T = 5 C, 25 C and 45 C are reported in Table 8. The errors in the measurements are listed as 3 and the temperatures were maintained within -0.2 C of the target temperatures. Anticipated solvent injection rates were estimated and reported in

Analytical Results Sample #1 LCO Temperature ( 0.2 C) 5 25 45 #4 HDO 5 25 45 Density (g/mL) 1.13 1.06 1.08 1.11 1.01 0.85 S8 (HPLC)/ wt% 1.52 0.09 2.82 0.02 5.05 0.06 0.79 0.02 1.36 0.02 2.68 0.03 S8+Sx* (GC/PFPD)/ wt% 1.38 0.05 2.61 0.31 5.06 0.30 0.59 0.01 1.10 0.09 2.47 0.07

Composition by Difference Sx/wt% - 0.14 0.11 -0.21 0.31 0.01 0.31 - 0.20 0.02 -0.26 0.10 -0.21 0.08

Table 8. Sulfur uptake results for Samples #1 and #4 at T = 5 C, 25 C and 45 C

Uptake at T = 44 F/wt% Model Solvents Polycyclic Aaromatic Aromatic Cyclohexane Aliphatic Glycol Solvent #1 Solvent #4
*Based on a flow rate of 1,383 MMscfd.

Injection Ratio, (lbs/MMscf)

Injection Ratio, (bbl/MMscf)

*Injection Rate, (bbl/d)

1.6 1.22 0.585 0.189 0.025 1.52 0.70

313 410 855 2,645 20,000 329 714

1.00 1.31 3.08 11.2 51.3

1,370 1,800 4,300 15,000 71,000

Potential Solvents for Wasit

Table 9. Sulfur uptake for selected model sulfur solvents at T = 44 F and calculated injection rate for 5 lb/MMscf sulfur production
7

Table 9 along with other commercial solvents. These estimations are based on 5 lb/MMscf of produced elemental sulfur and perfect mixing. The results indicate that Sample #1 has approx.imately double the sulfur uptake capacity relative to Sample #4. The High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Gas Chromatography/Pulse Flame Photometric Detector (GC/PFPD) data indicated that the sulfur in each sample at each examined temperature were solely due to dissolved elemental sulfur since no polysulfides (Sx) were detected. Normally, the total sulfur uptake data would be used to determine the residual sulfur, however, the data obtained from the combustion analyses instrument (Antek) for Samples #1 and #4 were not reliable due to continued instrument malfunction. It was suggested based on the sulfur uptake data that work proceeds with Sample #1 and Sample #4 for Phase 2. Initial Miscibility Studies for Samples #1 and #4 The results for the miscibility studies for virgin Samples #1 and #4 with lean MEG and for sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4 with H2O:MEG (60:40 by vol) at T = 20 C are reported in Table 10. Figure 4 illustrates the

separation of the virgin samples (#1 and #4) with lean 7 MEG after 5 minutes of settling . The results indicate that the virgin Samples #1 and #4 are immiscible with lean MEG. This methodology does not chemically determine the concentration of MEG in the sample layer or the concentration of the sample components in the MEG layer even though these concentrations are expected to be minor. The results clearly indicate that the virgin solvents did not form emulsions with lean MEG under our test conditions. Sample Sample Condition Virgin Solvent Sulfur Saturated Virgin Solvent Sulfur Saturated MEG or H2O/MEG Separation Time (min:sec) 1:40 3:04 4:30 3:28

#1

MEG (100%) H2O/MEG (60:40 vol.) MEG (100%) H2O/MEG (60:40 vol.)

#4

Table 10. Separation times of MEG with virgin and sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4
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occurred as a result of distillation. The viscosities of virgin Samples #1 and #4 were determined using a Cannon-Fenske viscometer. An additional sulfur uptake study completed in Phase 2 involved the sulfur uptake of MEG/sulfur solvent solutions (20:80 by wt) at T = 127 C (260 F), followed by a post-test analysis for the sulfur content of each resulting liquid phase. Results - Phase 2 Results from the detailed miscibility studies indicated that under the test conditions, sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4 are immiscible with H2O and H2O/MEG (60:40 by vol) both before and after the mixtures have been aged for 2 days at T = 50 C. Distillation of the H2O/MEG layers from the miscibility tests suggested that only very small amounts of glycol were steam distilled overhead, in addition to nearly 100% of the water. While the GCMS analyses did not show substantial changes to the MEG phase, ASRLs GC-MS was not capable of detecting very high molecular weight species (e.g., sulfur-carbon polymers, which may form during repeated distillation processes, such as MEG regeneration), and therefore the glycol chromatographs showed limited information. Furthermore, several other field chemicals may have a catalytic influence on MEG-sulfur reactions during distillation. ASRL recommended that a fit-forpurpose compatibility study be completed at a later date and after all field chemicals are known. An analysis would likely entail a long-term exposure of MEG, H2O, inhibitor and some sulfur at T = 150 C, followed by using different analytical techniques, such as Gel 7 Permeation Chromatography . The results from the sulfur uptake test indicated that Sample #1 has approximately 3.5 times the sulfur uptake capacity relative to Sample #4 at 127 C, and that sulfur present was solely due to dissolved elemental sulfur as the amount of S8 was equal to the amount of S8+Sx within experimental error (i.e., no polysulfides were formed, as expected). Additional Solvents Screening Crude Oils Different grades of Arab Crude oil (Light, Medium and Heavy) were also tested as potential sulfur solvents. Initial sulfur uptake testing of these different types of crude oils revealed that at the temperatures examined, Arab Medium crude oil has a sulfur uptake capacity approximately one-half when compared to the LCO and HCO. Although this option looked promising, it was later dropped due to the fact that the miscibility studies indicated that under test conditions, virgin crude oil will form stable emulsions with MEG, and sulfur saturated crude oil will form stable emulsions with H2O and 7 H2O/MEG (60:40 by vol) at T = 20 C . Due to availability, technical concerns and logistical reasons associated with other evaluated solvents, HCO from a local refinery in the Eastern Region (close to WGP) was chosen as the sulfur solvent for Hasbah gas. Based on sulfur uptake capacity of 0.7 wt%, a flow rate

Fig. 4. Separation of MEG/Virgin Samples #1and #4 after 5 minutes.

Similarly, the results indicate that sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4 did not form emulsions with the 60:40 H2O:MEG mixture under our test conditions. Results - Phase 1 The results of the sulfur solubility studies indicated that Sample #1 has over double the sulfur uptake capacity relative to Sample #4, at each of the examined temperatures. Furthermore, the results indicate that the observed sulfur solubility in Samples #1 and #4 were due solely to physically dissolving elemental sulfur since no polysulfides (Sx) were observed, i.e., no chemical reactions between the dissolved sulfur and the samples were detected under the conditions employed in each experiment. Based on the sulfur solubility data, Samples #1 and #4 were used for further investigations in Phase 2. The initial miscibility study indicates that under our test conditions, virgin Samples #1, #3 and #4 are immiscible with lean MEG. Similarly, sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4 were determined to be immiscible with H2O:MEG (60:40 by vol) at T = 20 C. Separation of the sulfur saturated solvents with the aqueous MEG stream do not appear problematic from the results of the 7 initial experiments . Consequently, it is possible that particulates, always present in gas gathering systems, could stabilize emulsions in the field. Phase 2 Based on the results of Phase 1, Samples #1 and #4 were used for further investigations of the miscibility/ emulsion stability of sulfur saturated Samples #1 and #4 with water and water/MEG (60:40 vol), first at T = 25 C and then after thermal aging. Fractional distillation (Three fractions at T = 140 C, 150 C and 160 C) of the thermally aged MEG/water emulsions were performed and water content of each distillate was determined by the Karl Fischer method and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) was employed to determine whether any changes to the glycol had
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Spent Solvent Delivery from Hasbah Wellheads to Onshore WGP The options of spent solvent delivery are: Base Case: The spent solvent is delivered together with the raw gas stream and MEG in the trunk line from the Hasbah TP to the WGP. Alternate Case: The spent solvent is separated out from the raw gas at the TP before MEG injection. It is then routed in a dedicated spent solvent line to the WGP.

The Alternate Case is more expensive than the Base Case due to the additional equipment and piping. ASRLs miscibility test shows that the spent solvent is immiscible with water/MEG and can be easily separated 5 from water/MEG . It was therefore not justified to go with the more expensive option of separating the spent solvent first before the MEG injection. Fresh Solvent Facilities at WGP
Fig. 5. Hasbah pipeline and sulfur solvent routes.

of approximately 3,800 standard barrels per day of HCO will be required. Accordingly, solvent delivery and handling systems were developed on the basis of trucking and storing fresh HCO solvent at WGP.

SULFUR SOLVENT HANDLING SYSTEMS


Fresh Solvent Delivery from Onshore WGP to Hasbah Wellheads Referring to Fig. 5, the options of fresh solvent delivery are: Base Case: The solvent is delivered in a dedicated pipeline to the WPs. Alternate Case 1: The solvent is commingled with MEG onshore and delivered to the Hasbah WPs. Alternate Case 2: The solvent is commingled with MEG onshore and delivered to the Hasbah TPs in the MEG pipeline. It is then separated from the MEG and routed to the WPs.

Fresh sulfur solvent facilities will be designed to handle 3,800 standard bbl/day of HCO, which is required as solvent to absorb the elemental sulfur produced from Hasbah. Fresh sulfur solvent will be trucked to WGP inlet area; 2 x 100% unloading pumps will be used to transfer the fresh solvent to storage tanks. The tanks (2 tanks) will be designed to provide 28 days of storage capacity for fresh solvent (14 days of storage in each tank). The solvent will be pumped from the storage tanks to the TPs by 2 x 100% booster pumps and 2 x 100% transfer pumps. Sulfur solvent transfer pumps will be designed for a discharge pressure of 5,500 psig. Figure 6 illustrates the fresh solvent system at WGP. Spent Solvent Facilities at WGP Spent solvent will be returning to Hasbah slugcatchers at WGP through the sour gas pipeline. Sulfur loaded solvent separated in the slugcatchers will be routed to the rich solvent handling facility where the spent solvent will be stabilized by means of the stage flashing process to meet the pipeline specification. The spent sulfur st solvent handling facility mainly consists of a 1 stage flash drum, spent solvent cross exchanger, steam nd heater, 2 stage horizontal flash vessel with a packed vertical stripping column section, flash gas cooler, overhead receiver, and overhead pumps. Any acid gas produced will be sent to the Flare Gas Recovery Unit (FGRU). The liquid from this overhead separator will be pumped by 2 x 100% pumps to the sour water system. nd Stabilized solvent from the 2 stage flash vessel will be cooled and sent to the storage tanks, which provides six days of storage capacity for spent solvent. The storage tanks will be designed as an atmospheric storage and will be provided with nitrogen blanketing. From the storage tanks, the spent solvent will be pumped by 2 x
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Both alternate Case 1 and alternate Case 2 requires the MEG stream to be pumped to a much higher pressure than is required at the TP, resulting in significant amount of wasted energy. The discharge pressure of the onshore pumps for alternate Case 1A has to be increased to 7,200 psig so that the solvent booster pumps power requirements falls within the power 5 available on the TP . It was concluded that the Base Case of dedicated pipeline for solvent delivery has the lowest cost, and is the most attractive.

Fig. 6. Fresh sulfur solvent system at WGP.

Fig. 7. Spent sulfur solvent system at WGP.

100% booster pumps and 2 x 100% transfer pumps to the de-colorizer column bottom stream pipe of the NGL fractionation plant, then directed to the Arab Medium crude pipeline. Figure 7 illustrates the spent solvent 6 system at WGP .

CHEMICAL QUALIFICATION PROGRAM


Arabiyah and Hasbah fields will produce lean sour gas that will be transported through long trunk lines; therefore, corrosion and hydrate inhibition are essential to ensure continuous gas production. For corrosion control, continuous corrosion inhibitors (CCIs) and batch corrosion inhibitors (BCIs) were selected. CCIs will be utilized to inhibit the water phase at the bottom of the

pipeline, while BCIs will be utilized to create a film that protects the top of the line. For hydrate inhibition, MEG will be used. MEG has another function, which is the transportation of the CCI. The flow lines metallurgy will be alloy, so corrosion inhibitors will not be injected at the WP. To handle the elemental sulfur produced from Hasbah field, HCO will be injected at the WHP to prevent elemental sulfur from precipitating in the pipelines and leading to corrosion and flow assurance concerns. A flow improver will be required and injected onshore along with HCO supply to prevent wax formation that might become an issue when the temperature is dropped below the cloud point of the HCO during winter. Based on the above, the number of chemicals utilized for both fields will be five, so chemical compatibility testing will be essential.

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The first objective of the chemical qualification tests is to qualify a CCI that meets the corrosion allowance criteria and is compatible with all the other chemicals within the system. The second objective is for the CCI to survive the MEG regeneration system to reduce chemical makeup cost significantly. The MEG regeneration system consists of a pretreatment and reclamation system to handle the presence of salts. The pretreatment system is upstream of the main regeneration system and a reclamation system that takes a partial stream out of the lean MEG and further processes the stream to remove salts. The BCI qualification tests will be conducted in parallel with the CCI tests according to the specified test protocol. After the corrosion inhibitors are selected, a hydrate performance test will be conducted to ensure that MEG performance is not affected by the presence of the selected corrosion inhibitors. Secondary tests will also be conducted before the chemicals are fully qualified. These tests comprise of foaming tendency, long-term storage stability, viscosity measurement, high temperature injection compatibly, material compatibility and flash point determination. Historical data of HCO cuts show different cloud points reaching as high as 53 F. When the temperature is dropped below the cloud point of HCO during winter operation, wax formation might become an issue. Possible mitigation may involve an injection of a very small quantity of a flow improver chemical that will suppress the cloud point. It is expected that this flow improver will have no impact on the solvent sulfur uptake and other chemicals in the system but this will have to be confirmed during detailed chemical qualification testing of all chemicals in the system. The chemical qualification tests will be conducted at a third party facility that has both hydrate and corrosion testing capabilities. Four vendors were approached and given the task of sending their Best in Class chemicals to the third party facility for testing and qualification. It is expected that qualification testing will be concluded by 2013.

absorb elemental sulfur and subsequently mitigate the potential problems. Different solvents, such as LCO, different diesel grades, crude oils, DSO and DMDSbased solvents were tested to select the best solvent for our application. Due to availability, technical concerns and logistical reasons, HCO from a local refinery was chosen as the sulfur solvent for Hasbah gas. Based on sulfur uptake capacity of 0.7 wt%, a solvent flow rate of approximately 3,800 standard barrels per day of HCO will be required. This solvent will be trucked to the WGP inlet area. There will be a new dedicated pipeline to transfer the fresh solvent from WGP to TP and from there to production platforms for injection upstream of the choke valves. Spent solvent will be returned to the WGP inlet slugcatchers where it is separated from the MEG phase and then conditioned for injection into an Arab Medium crude pipeline. A conceptual design has been developed for solvent supply, delivery and handling systems.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank Saudi Aramcos Research & Development Center (R&DC) and ASRL for their work related to understanding the fundamentals of elemental sulfur deposition, and testing several sulfur solvents that helped in selecting the current solvent. Furthermore, the authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by the Wasit Project Management Team (Saudi Aramco PMT, WorleyParsons and SNC Lavalin), Facilities Planning Department, Consulting Services Department, Production and Facilities Development Department and the project proponent and Operations team.

REFERENCES
1. Marriott, R.A.: Aspects of Elemental Sulfur Deposition for the Waist Gas Program, ASRL #1184-1011, 2010. 2. Owen, T.R., et al.: Interim Report on the Experimental Evaluation of Potential Sulfur Solvents for the Waist Gas Program, ASRL #1184-1-1011, 2010. 3. Ockelmann, H. and Blount, F.E.: Ten Years of Experience with Sour Gas Production in Germany, SPE paper 4663, presented at the Fall Meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 30 - October 3, 1973. 4. Wilken, G.: Application of Alkylnaphthalene Absorption Oil as a Sulfur Solvent in Sour-Gas Wells, SPE Production Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 2, May 1991, pp. 137-141. 5. Arabiyah-Hasbah Field Development. Hasbah Sulfur Mitigation Sulfur Solvent WorleyParsons Design
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CONCLUSIONS
Gas analyses indicated the presence of elemental sulfur in gas samples collected from Hasbah offshore gas field, which is being developed under a mega-gas project by Saudi Aramco. The analysis indicated that the gas will contain as high as 5 lb sulfur/MMscf, which could potentially deposit upstream of and in the choke valves causing severe corrosion, equipment blockage and disruption of flow. Extensive work was carried out by Saudi Aramco in collaboration with engineering contractors and ASRL to come up with a feasible and reliable design to mitigate the impacts of the anticipated sulfur presence and deposition. This included carrying out analytical and engineering efforts to define the extent of the problem, select an effective sulfur solvent, and design solvents injection and handling facilities. Based on the adopted mitigation scheme, a sulfur solvent will be injected upstream of the choke valves to

Report, BI-10-00916/10-00917, Feb. 18, 2010. 6. Elemental Sulfur in Sour Gas SNC Lavalin Report, BI-10-00914, May 8, 2010. 7. Manley, S.A., et al.: Experimental Evaluation of Potential Sulfur Solvents for the Waist Gas Program, ASRL #1184-1-1011, 2011.

BIOGRAPHIES
Ismail A. Alami is a Process Engineer at the Process & Control Systems Department in Saudi Aramco. He has worked on the design, construction and startup of several Saudi Aramco major gas plants. Ismails main area of expertise is sour gas treating and sulfur recovery. In 1994, he received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and in 2004, Ismail received his M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Shadi I. Al-Adel joined Saudi Aramco as a Process Engineer in 2000. He completed his 3-year Field Deployment Program at Berri Gas Plant in 2004. Shadi is part of Saudi Aramcos Gas Processing Specialist Development Program. Shadi worked on the commissioning and startup of the largest NGL recovery plant within Saudi Aramco, Hawiyah NGL Recovery Plant during 2007-2008. He then went on to lead the Hydrate Inhibition Management Program for Saudi Aramcos offshore gas projects during 2009-2011. Shadi is currently beginning his internship training assignment in process engineering design with Worley Parsons, California. In 2000, he received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In 2007, Shadi completed his Advanced Degree Program at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, receiving his M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering with a Thesis in the field of Gas Hydrates.

Mohammad N. Al-Haji is a Gas Processing Specialist with the Process & Control Systems Department, Saudi Aramco. He has more than 19 years of experience in the gas processing fields within Saudi Arabia. Mohammad worked as a Process Engineer in several gas plants and contributed to the design of some of the new gas plant projects for Saudi Aramco. The main area of his expertise is gas sweetening and sulfur recovery. Mohammed received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering in 1992 from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

SAUDI ARAMCO JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY

SPRING 2012

CYLINDER No. SAMPLE DATE SAMPLE LOCATION DATE ANALYSIS STARTED P/T DATA (1) Tsampling (C) Tsampling (F) Psampling (psig) Vsampling (L) (2) Ttransfer (C) Ptransfer (psig) Vtransfer (L) (3) Tlab (C) Plab (psig) Vlab (L) LIBERATED GAS COMPOSITION (mole%) (Single phase composition based on PVT data) N2 H2S CO2 CH4 C2H6 C3H8 C4H10 VOLUMETRIC DATA Volume gas at P/T Laboratory RESIDUAL SULFUR IN SPMC RESIDUAL SULFUR CS2 Rinse-Bottle Residue (not filtered) Wt. S8 - precipitated in bottle (GC-PFPD) CS2 Rinse - Apparatus Residue (not filtered) Wt. S8 - precipitated by gas during depletion (GC-PFPD) Wt. S8 as TPP=S (GC-PFPD) residual sulfur in gas bubbler (7) Total Wt. Recovered S8 in SSB Total Wt. Recovered S8 with SPMC included S8 CONTENT S8 CONTENT
(4) 3

19646-IB May 22, 2010

23943-IB May 22, 2010

Hasbah-A, Khuff C June 3, 2010 126 259 9,817 0.25 22 11,000 0.19 23.9 1,514 0.82 June 1, 2010 126 259 9,817 0.25 22 11,000 0.19 21.9 967 0.82

6.40 3.55 7.12 82.64 0.23 0.06 0.02

(Sm ) (mg)

0.085 1.338

0.085 5.446

(g) (mg) (g) (mg) (mg) (mg) (mg) (g/Sm ) (lb/MMscf)


3

Not (5) recorded (6) 4.45 0.08 0.113 0.086 5 5.99 0.07 4

0.16 0.573 0.16 0.874 0.078 1.5 6.97 0.08 5

Table 2. Analytical results for the Hasbah-A wellbore fluid samples


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Values obtained from Schlumberger data sheet. Values obtained after transfer to the SSB. Values reported by Schlumberger laboratory. TPP analysis using an internal standard (TPPO4). Sample leaked during transport and no weight reported from Schlumberger. (6) Based on pictures taken, ~76% of the sample was lost. S8 weight found was ratioed accordingly. (7) Sulfur in CS2 solvent assumed to be negligible (based on blank analysis).

SAUDI ARAMCO JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY

SPRING 2012

[S8] sat, Saturation lb/MMscf Low Flow (Pigging): 76 MMscfd from each well and 532 MMscfd in the trunk line. Reservoir Bottom-hole Wellhead Downstream of Choke TP Onshore (beach) Wasit Inlet 275 275 183 105 64.2 55 51.4 9,943.8 9,265 7,620 1,151 1,136 1,027 975 171 152 45 0.0044 0.0004 0.0002 0.0001 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Location

T, F

P, psia

Nominal Flow: 198 MMscfd from each well and 1,383 MMscfd in the trunk line. Reservoir Bottom-hole Wellhead Downstream of Choke TP Onshore (beach) Wasit Inlet 275 275 220 170 90.3 52.2 43.7 9,943.8 8,047 6,443 1,751 1,683 1,163 975 171 120 44 0.27 0.0093 0.0003 0.0001 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Maximum Flow: 350 MMscfd from each well and 1,383 MMscfd in the trunk line. Reservoir a Bottom-hole a Wellhead a Downstream of Choke TP Onshore (beach) Wasit Inlet 275 272 226 194 87.9 52.2 43.7 9,943.8 6,472 4,793 2,192 1,680 1,163 975 171 80 23 1.1 0.0084 0.0003 0.0001 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Table 3. Conditions during the early-life production of the Hasbah gas (2014)
a

These conditions are only for the highest flowing well (350 MMscfd).

[S8] sat, Saturation lb/MMscf Low Flow (Pigging): 76 MMscfd from each well and 532 MMscfd in the trunk line. Bottom-hole 282 5,409 63 No Wellhead 184.6 4230.6 7 No (close) Nominal Flow: 198 MMscfd from each well and 1,383 MMscfd in the trunk line. Bottom-hole Wellhead 273.4 213.2 4,102 2,962 33 4.6 No Yes (close)

Location

T, F

P, psia

Maximum Flow: 350 MMscfd from each well and 1,383 MMscfd in the trunk line. Bottom-hole a Wellhead
a

257.2 193.9

2677 1,267.7

10 0.34

No Yes

Table 4. Conditions during the mid-life of production of the Hasbah gas (2025)
a

These conditions are only for the highest flowing well (350 MMscfd).

SAUDI ARAMCO JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY

SPRING 2012

Location T, F P, psia [S8] sat, lb/MMscf Saturation Low Flow (Pigging): 76 MMscfd from each well and 532 MMscfd in the trunk line. Bottom-hole 274.6 2,776 15 No Wellhead 180.4 2,073.3 0.6 Yes Downstream of Choke 155.3 1,145.8 0.053 Yes TP Onshore (beach) Wasit Inlet 67.1 55 51.3 1,128 1,025.1 975 0.0005 0.0002 0.0001 Yes Yes Yes

Nominal Flow: 198 MMscfd from each well and 1,383 MMscfd in the trunk line. Bottom-hole Wellhead Downstream of Choke TP Onshore (beach) Wasit Inlet 262.8 192.8 193 80.7 54.3 49.7 2,047 1,363.3 1,363.3 1,319 1,064.6 975 7.1 0.36 0.38 0.0020 0.0002 0.0001 No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Table 5. Conditions during the late-life of production of the Hasbah gas (2034)

SAUDI ARAMCO JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY

SPRING 2012