All lies in the infrastructure!

Holding treasures of energy resources would not be valuable unless effective plans are set to the preeminent and most effective utilization of such treasures. Developing and continuously upgrading an infrastructure for energy resources is a key factor that completes the scheme from production to distribution phases

For decades, oil has been the focal point of attraction in the energy industry. But, for many years now, the Ministry of Petroleum has been adopting a new strategy; to move this attention to the natural gas instead and have less reliance on fuel in the country. Currently, there is a growing distinct demand for natural gas, not only as a fuel, but also as a feedstock for industrial, commercial and residential customers. Egypt has been expanding the means of utilizing natural gas, for instance, compressed natural gas is used as a transport fuel in a large number of vehicles.

Egypt is characterized by being one of the largest oil and gas infrastructures in the continent of Africa, especially in the segment of transportation. That is the reason why the country developed an extensive pipeline system for natural gas and liquids transportation to meet the increasing demands and cover every corner of Egypt. In addition, the country is considered as a vital natural gas exporter due to its transmission pipeline systems as well as the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This gas infrastructure has been extended and upgraded on regular basis to serve the national plan of expanding gas utilization in the residential sector. The government aims at increasing the number of citizens benefiting form gas by connecting them to the national gas distribution grid.

As mentioned earlier, infrastructure plans are of a great importance to any country. The continuous upgrades and developments are crucial in order to meet the increasing pressure imposed due to the growing energy infrastructure needs of the local market in addition to fulfilling export projects. Moreover, the infrastructure plans are affected by today’s market conditions, such as the swinging increases of oil and gas price and the high costs of equipments, materials and workforce needed to execute the infrastructure expansion plans. Therefore, country’s top management put into consideration the necessity to an adequate use of already existing oil and gas infrastructure to serve its strategies.

In Egypt, holding one of the largest hydrocarbon infrastructures in Africa, most of the production facilities have been designed and constructed by operating companies, in association with individual field developments. However, all the transmission systems have been carried out by state-owned companies. First, if we start with the crude oil production facilities, we will figure out that Egypt’s offshore and onshore facilities are matching those used around the world; same standards and technologies are applied. Those facilities are basically including offshore and onshore drilling platforms and locations, offshore and onshore surface and subsurface completion equipment, offshore subsea gathering and tieback systems, onshore gathering pipelines and manifolds, offshore production platforms and finally onshore production stations.

Questioning how far would those facilities accommodate the expansion plans, it was proved that the current capacity of existing and future production facilities have the ability to handle the projected crude oil production. Therefore, future supply does not symbolize any constraint or threat to the country. The keys to keep the facilities ready for future developments lies in the best practice maintenance procedures.

Moving to the gas production facilities, both onshore and offshore facilities employed to produce non-associated natural gas is similar to the ones used worldwide. They include offshore and onshore drilling platforms and locations, offshore and onshore surface and subsurface completion equipment, offshore subsea gathering and tieback systems, offshore production platforms and offshore pipelines to shore. Based on the production forecast, natural gas production is estimated to increase substantially over the coming five years, mostly from the offshore Mediterranean fields, whether already developed or still do not have existing infrastructure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to an immediate development of equipments and facilities for those fields in order to meet any possible delays or barriers to the production phase. But, what are the needed requirements to accommodate this increasing natural gas production? What plans should be implemented? What other facilities does Egypt have? All these questions will be answered in our series about Egypt’s energy infrastructure.

By Yomna Bassiouni


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