Drilling in Deep Water

As an Independent Verification Body and Quality Surveillance Provider, GL Noble Denton has been supporting various Burullus development projects since 2003
Some 90 kilometers from the Nile Delta shoreline, in water depth of 250 to 1.250 meters, lies West Delta Deep Marine (WDDM) , Egypt’s largest gas field development area. The region and its geological horizons for natural gas came to attention in 1990, when researchers discovered rich, high –quality gas deposits in late Tertiary sands 2 to 5 million years old, mainly in the Pliocene horizons, in the Nile Delta.

These horizons extend far into the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea to the north and north-West of the Delta and the Western Desert, including the offshore north of Sinai Peninsula. Meanwhile , geologists believe the Delta and its adjacent offshore area analogous to other gas and petroleum rich deltas, such as those in Indonesia, the Niger River Delta in West Africa and Gulf of Mexico.

Ambitious Aims for all participants
West Delta Deep Marine is owned by the Burullus Gas Company consortium, a joint-venture company comprising the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Egypt’s national oil company, British Gas (BG) and  Petronas.

Successful exploration and appraisal wells since 1997 have resulted in the discovery of nine gas fields: Scarab/Saffron, Simian, Sienna, Sapphire, Serpent, Saurus, Sequoia, Solar and Sienna Up.

The first WDDM fields – Scarab/Saffron in 600 to 800 meters of water – started production in March 2003. The daily contract quantity is 633 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) over a period of at least 17 years.

In 2005 the Simian, Sienna and Sapphire fields were added to increase production to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant at Idku on the Egyptian coast. Both of these fields set records for the longest direct-to-beach tie-backs, with Simian being 123 kilometers in length. The Simian/Sienna offshore facilities consist of eight subsea wells tied into the existing WDDM gas gathering network. In addition there is a shallow water control platform.

Independent verification services for the development projects were placed into the hands of GL Noble Denton.
The next development phases of the West Delta Deep Marine area, called phases IV, comprised eight additional wells, five of them in the Scarab/Saffron area, two in the Serpent field and one in the Sinbad field.

Subsea Equipment
With two manifolds already in place and flowline termination (PLET) and umbilical termination (UTA) points for each of the eight existing wells located close to the respective manifolds, the area is congested. The closest possible location for the new northern manifold is more than 50 meters away from either existing tie-in hub.

The subsea equipment for WDDM IV includes eight horizontal subsea trees, two manifold with subsea control modules with 20-inch future connection, and four tie-in spool bases (TSBs) with hubs for 23 jumpers and a 66-kilometers, 10-inch diameter flowline. Each Scarab/Saffron manifolds contains a 20-inch connection hub for the tie-in of further wells. 68 kilometers of installed umbilicals deliver power, low and high-pressure hydraulic oil and communications services to the subsea facilities. 

Furthermore, the equipment for WDDM IV includes one new subsea distribution assembly, right wet gas flowmeters and at least 18 flying leads. Well drilling was completed in 2007 and gas has been flowing ever since.


  • GL Noble Denton has provided technical assurance services to the Burullus projects since 2003
  • GL Noble Denton is in charge of independent verification and quality inspections

Case study

THE WEST DELTA DEEP MARINE (“WDDM”) Concession, located approximately off the north-western margin of the Nile Delta, is being developed progressively to maintain current and future gas supplies to the Egyptian domestic and export markets.
WDDM phase VIII completion during 2011, 2013 and 2015 respectively Authority (IVA) and Quality Surveillance (QS) services. The challenge:

The scope of verification scheme includes design, fabrication, manufacture, offshore installation and commissioning. It will be applied to all offshore facilitys SCEs (Safety Critical Elements) associated with the WDDM Concession development projects, such as subsea production trees, pipelines, jumpers, subsea manifolds and structures, control system and umbilical incl. leads.

• Provision of all quality disciplines
• Quality Co-coordinator
• Senior Quality Surveyors at vendors and manufacturers of subsea production tres, pipelines, bends, umbilicals, control, valves, welding, NDT, coating, AUT.
• Quality audits / surveillance programme, including Quality Surveillance HSE Expediting.

GL Noble Denton can mobilize Vessel / Barge Rep’s during the installation of equipment such as subsea production trees, pipelines umbilicals, control system and sub-sea structures, as well as surveys and pre-commissioning.


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