The Karam and Assil project is one of the most important gas treatment projects operated by Bapetco, as it produces about 150mcf of natural gas and 2000 b/d of condensate. The project successfully was started on November 2014 and is located in the Western Desert, about 300 km west of Cairo.

The project’s investments have reached $400m, being executed in 2014-2015, and involving Enppi and Petrojet, the first for studies and the other for construction. The construction aspect employs 1200 workers.

The project includes the drilling of six gas wells in the Karam field on two phases, to produce natural gas from the Kharita formation at a depth of 4850 meters, with initial reservoir pressure estimated at 7000 psi. An additional six wells have been drilled in the Assil field—which began production in 2011—with an average cost per well of $12m.

The project is divided into two phases, phase one includes drilling three wells (Karam-5, 6 and 7), which were completed and put into production in November 2014. The second phase includes drilling an additional three gas wells (Karam-8, 9 and 10), planned to start in Q-4 of 2015.

Natural gas produced from the Karam field contains 10% CO2, which needs to be removed prior to transporting gas to consumers. The presence of CO2 can cause corrosion in the facilities and pipelines, as CO2 has no heating value and can cause hydrate formation at low temperatures blocking pipelines, valves, and equipment in its liquid phase.

The CO2 removal plant (CRP) studies and engineering designs began in 2011, while its construction commenced mid-2012. The project includes construction of two 12 inch gas pipelines, with a length of 27 km each. The purpose of the pipelines is to transfer natural gas from wells to the CRP located in the BED-3 gas plant.

Typically natural gas at the CRP is treated with an amine solution. Once heated, the amine absorbs CO2 from natural gas, and impurities are filtered out of the gas through high pressure pumps in closed circulation to reduce CO2 to 1%. The gas is then routed to the BED-3 gas plant for further treatment, which includes gas dehydration using tri-ethylene glycol and the removal of heavy hydrocarbons from gas to control its dew point. The gas is then compressed and transported to Alexandria via a 24 inch gas pipeline.

The CRP is powered by local gas turbines and controlled through one of the most recent DCS systems, which monitor and control all wells and process parameters online.

The project included constructing a new laboratory for natural gas, condensates, and amine solution analysis, enabling operation staff to ensure the quality of the processes of the CRP.

The second phase of the project includes transferring the control system of the Bed-3 gas plant to the CRP control room in an old system (Foxboro X-200). The shift will allow the operations team to control and monitor all the process parameters remotely from one central control room operating both the BED-3 gas plant and the CRP. The studies and concept selection process of this phase is ongoing.

Out of 140 projects, the Karam and Assil project was chosen to be awarded by Shell as the company’s best project in 2014, due to its high performance during construction and highest added value.

The proved reserves in the Assil and Karam fields are estimated at 0.6tcf; however, reserves are expected to increase to 0.8tcf after commencement of Phase 2 drilling.

The cumulative production from the Assil and Karam projects since they began in November 2014 until the end of May 2015 is estimated at 30bcf and 340,000bbl of condensate, equivalent to 6mboe.

The carrying capacity of the facilities at Nyag-1 is being expanded to process 15,000 barrels of oil through the installation of furnaces and replacement of diesel power generators with gas powered ones. Moreover, by the end of this year the project’s foreign partner will drill a number of exploratory wells in the new concession area near Marsa Matrouh where 3-D seismic surveys have already been conducted. The results show the most appropriate locations for drilling wells. Investment estimated to be worth $512m will be spent over the coming financial year.