Tracking the world’s biggest upcoming offshore gas projects
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Tracking the world’s biggest upcoming offshore gas projects

09 Jul 2018 (Last Updated July 8th, 2020 11:46)

Offshore oil output has held steady since 2000, yet offshore gas production has skyrocketed by 50% in the same period. In this special feature, Elliot Gardner maps out the world’s biggest upcoming offshore gas projects.

Tracking the world’s biggest upcoming offshore gas projects
International Energy Agency projections for the state of the offshore energy sector indicate that the industry is set to grow over the next 20 years. Image: Alireza824.

According to GlobalData statistics, capital expenditure of $186bn is expected to be spent across the lifetime of the top ten offshore gas projects around the world, with $83.4bn being spent by 2025. Overall, these ten projects are set to produce 299 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

While International Energy Agency projections for the state of the offshore energy sector indicate that the industry is set to grow over the next 20 years, since 2000 the offshore gas industry has seen much more rapid growth than offshore oil.

While Qatar’s North Field Expansion has the greatest number of remaining natural gas reserves in billion cubic feet (bcf), it is Barzan, also located in Qatar, that is set to see the largest anticipated peak production of any of the listed fields, at 5,580 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd).

North Field Expansion – Qatar – Middle East

With production scheduled to begin in 2023, Qatar Petroleum’s North Field Expansion has the largest number of remaining natural gas reserves of any upcoming offshore gas field in the world, at 56,558bcf.

In 2005, Qatar implemented a self-imposed moratorium on the development of North Field, which the sovereign country shares with neighbouring Iran, to give experts in capital city Doha time to study the impact a rapid increase in output would have on the reservoir. This moratorium was lifted in 2017 and Qatar Petroleum announced in May of this year that it had awarded a detailed design contract to US firm McDermott International for offshore jackets for the expansion.

North Pars – Iran – Middle East

Discovered in 1967, North Pars is one of the largest independent gas fields in the world. The field is located around 120km south-east of the Bushehr province within the Persian Gulf, and has remaining natural gas reserves of 35,382bcf.

The field is under development by the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), with the company stating that final studies for the development of North Pars, which will be carried out in four phases – equivalent to 3,600 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) – are currently under implementation. Final negotiations for the development of North Pars are currently underway with an as-yet unnamed Chinese company.

Mamba Complex (Area 4) – Mozambique – Africa

The Mamba Complex, also known as Area 4, is a gas field off the coast of Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province. The Mamba Complex, including the Coral gas field that resides inside the complex, was discovered in by Italian multinational Eni in early 2013.

The field lies too far from the coast for gas to be piped ashore, meaning a floating LNG facility will need to be built to access the site’s gas reserves. In June 2017, Eni signed a final investment decision on an $8bn facility, to be manufactured in South Korea, with an aim to start production – worth $1.5bn – from 2022. Eni has secured a 20 year purchase contract with BP.

Prosperidade – Mozambique – Africa

In 2012, American corporation Anadarko Petroleum allowed local Mozambique schools children to name its gas reservoir discovery in Mozambique Offshore Area 1. The children opted for Prosperidade, meaning ‘prosperity’ in Portuguese. The field includes several other discoveries Anadarko has made under its Area 1 licence, including the Windjammer, Barquentine, Lagosta and Camarao sites.

Production for Prosperidade is scheduled to begin in 2029, and the site holds remaining natural gas reserves of 31,570bcf. Offshore Area 1 also hosts the Golfinho/Atum complex, also operated by Anadarko Petroleum.

Sakhalin-III (Kirinskoye South (Yuzhno-Kirinskoye)) – Russia

Sakhalin-III is an oil and gas development project in Sakhalin Island, Russia, the majority of which is under development by Russian natural gas giant Gazprom.

The development includes four blocks, namely East-Odoptu, Ayashsky, Veninsky and Kirinsky. While the Veninsky field is being developed by a joint venture of Rosneft and Sinopec called Venineft, the other three fields are under the ownership of Gazprom.

First gas was extracted from the Kirinskoye field towards the end of 2013, with production beginning in 2014. According to Gazprom, Yuzhno-Kirinskoye is in the process of pre-development and full production is expected to start in 2023.

Golfinho-Atum Complex – Mozambique – Africa

Located in Mozambique Offshore Area 1 alongside the Prosperidade reservoir, a Golfinho-Atum development plan gained official approval from the government of Mozambique earlier this year. Operated by Anadarko Petroleum, the project has remaining natural gas reserves of 18,067bcf.

The development plan for the site details an integrated onshore LNG project, the first onshore LNG development in the South East African country. The project will initially consist of two LNG trains with a 12.88 metric tonnes per annum capacity. This development is hoped to lay the foundation for future expansion, supporting the progress of the Golfinho/Atum fields within Offshore Area 1.

Barzan – Qatar – Middle East

The Barzan project is a planned offshore gas development in Qatar under a $10bn venture between RasGas and ExxonMobil that is hoped to deliver sales gas equivalent to 8% of Qatar’s current total gas production. The project has remaining natural gas reserves of 17,314.00bcf.

The project has suffered from significant delays over the last few years owing to a number of technical challenges, including a 2015 trunk pipeline explosion due to poor welding and an upstream pipeline leak discovered in mid-2016. In March 2018, Qatar Petroleum tendered bids for an offshore pipeline contract for the Barzan site, seen by some as an acknowledgement of the troubles besetting the troubled project.

Despite this, according to GlobalData estimates, Barzan is set to see the largest anticipated peak production of any upcoming gas field in the world, at 5,580mmcfd.

South Pars Phase 13 – Iran – Middle East

Originally scheduled for this year, the Phase 13 of the South Pars Gas Field is expected to become operational by late March 2019. In February 2018, the first gas sweetening train of the Phase 13 onshore gas refinery was reported to be operational.

The South Pars Gas Field is being developed in 24 phases, and the aim for the Phase 13 development project is production of 56 million cubic meters of natural gas per day. Phase 13 has remaining natural gas reserves of 16,405bcf.

Phase 13 will consist of onshore facilities, 38 wells, four pipelines off the Persian Gulf and four platforms.

Browse – Australia – Oceania

The Browse gas project has been rather troubled in its development, suffering long delays and abandonment after rising costs made the project unviable. Plans for onshore and floating LNG developments estimated at $30bn to $45bn were scrapped, leaving the project in purgatory.

This year, Woodside Energy announced the current plan was to develop the gas field to feed the North West Shelf plant when its gas source runs dry in the 2020s, with Browse production scheduled to begin in 2025. Many of the partners in the Browse field overlap with stakeholders in the North West Shelf. The field currently houses remaining natural gas reserves of 12,504bcf.

South Pars Phase 11 – Iran – Middle East

Expected in 2021, Phase 11 of the South Pars Gas Field is due to be developed by French oil and gas multinational Total in collaboration with China National Petroleum and Iran’s state-owned firm Petropars.

Phase 11 is set to be developed in two phases, with the first comprising 30 wells and two wellhead platforms, connected by two pipelines to existing onshore treatment facilities. Phase 11 is part of the broader South Pars Gas Field, which is being developed in 24 phases. Phase 11 has remaining natural gas reserves of 13,472bcf.