Nigeria will within the next couple of months record another significant leap in oil and gas development, unitization, utilization, gas flare down, power generation, and efficient environmental management, as Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) begins technical commissioning of the multibillion-dollar Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project, one of Nigeria’s biggest oil and gas development facilities in the Niger Delta.
Test run of the facility, located some kilometers away from Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, which commenced in the first quarter of this year, has seen the technical certification of the gas dehydration and liquid handling trains, process control and safeguarding systems, utility systems as well as wells and associated flowlines and pipelines.
Briefing some Bayelsa-based bureau chiefs on a guarded tour of the facility last Friday, Project Manager, Okechukwu Elechi, said the liquid disposal and gas transport lines will also be commissioned in a few weeks.
Elechi explained that, “during the technical commissioning, key facilities are tested prior to introducing hydrocarbons to see how they perform”, stressing that since industry practice demands compliance with this phase process, it was only natural that the Shell project follows international best practice before kick-starting operations.
According to him, “complex and extensive facilities like those on the Gbaran Ubie project require phased commissioning, and we plan to run these tests for nine to 12 months” to ensure technical conformity, synchronization and efficiency.
The Tide recalls that when fully operational, the Gbaran Ubie plant has a nameplate capacity to produce one billion standard cubic feet of gas and more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Tide checks further show that a gas processing facility, with capacity for 80million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscf/d) has been built near the Central Processing Facility (CPF) to treat and supply gas to power the Federal Government’s National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) now being constructed at Gbaran as well as the Bayelsa State Electricity Board’s plant at Imiringi.
The facility will pump a significant proportion of produced crude oil to the export terminal at Bonny, with a reserves tank farm of over 60,000 barrels per day, and also provide gas feedstock to Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) facility at Bonny.
Besides, The Tide gathered that the facility will also scoop and absorb currently flared gas at Kolo Creek and Etelebou flowstations into the CPF, triggering gradual shutdown of both gas flowlines and nods, and a drastic reduction in Shell’s overall gas flare profile in the region.
The project manager recalled that before construction activities commenced at the site some three years ago, strategic environmental impact assessments for different aspects of the project including, processing facilities, wells and flowlines, gas and crude oil export pipelines and logistic base and jetty were conducted, while the host communities were widely consulted to make their inputs on ways to mitigate project impact through scoping workshops, open fora and public display of draft EIAs.
Elechi noted that although the five wells drilled as part of this project at Koroama, Zarama, Kolo Creek and Gbaran have been tested, while additional six drilled at Gbaran and Zarama are yet to be tested, the communities were fully carried along as work progresses.
He explained that “new gas wells are tested after being drilled to confirm their safety and integrity”; just as “the well test fluids are disposed of using temporary flares”, stressing that “we have consulted with our neighbouring communities, who are fully aware of the situation, and received all necessary permits for these”.
The project manager hinted that after commissioning and stabilization, the flare stack at the site will have a small pilot flare to ensure the flare system is always ready for an emergency plant shutdown, which is a normal industry practice, and does not amount to a grand design for new gas flares by SPDC.
Instead, he said, the entire concept and design of the project was meant to reduce gas flaring, mitigate the impact of crude oil exploration and production, and further boost the nation’s quest for efficient energy supply through clean power generation, while maximizing opportunities for increased gas unitization and utilization in the country.
Rivers Communities Lament Neglect By NNPC, Others
The indigenes of Umuapu, Ihie, Obitti, Awarra, Ochia, Assa and Obile communities of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, have appealed to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, the govenrment and Oil Companies operating at their area to quickly reconstruct the Oil Access Road that links these communities and others.
They said the prompt reconstruction of the road would ease traffic tension, reduce road accident to the minimal, encourage commercial activities as well as strengthen social comfort and security at the region.
The appeal followed a peaceful protest staged by the women of the area on the Oil Access Road, recently.
The protesters, who wore black clothes, carried placards which had different inscriptions, chanted songs as they demonstrated.
Speaking through one of their leaders, Nwada Ruth Amadi, the women urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), the present administration of Sen. Hope Uzodimma, and other Oil Companies operating in their region to quickly reconstruct the link road in order to reduce suffering, agony, avert danger and spur the locals to enhance productivity and comfort.
Amadi expressed regret that the road has been in a deplorable condition over the years with NNPC, Government and Oil Companies such as Waltersmith Petroleum, Seplat Petroleum, Sterling Global Petroleum among others, doing nothing to reconstruct the link road.
According to them, lives have been lost, just as many sustained severe degrees of injuries due to the bad state of the said road, insisting that authorities concerned liaise with the people including leadership of the church and the civil society for a way forward.
Amadi said “we regret the negligence and maltreatment we get from NNPC/Government and Oil Companies milling oil in our land.
“Despite the huge revenue being generated and carted away by these oil companies whose vehicles cause huge damage on the road, those concerned keep dead mute towards the reconstruction of the road, leaving us and other ordinary road users to suffer adversely.
“Hence, we deemed it right to stage a peaceful protest on the spoilt road, to appeal to authorities concerned to immediately reconstruct the road to save us from suffering, pains and imminent danger. We expect these authorities to be proactive, not reactive.
“We cannot continue to fold our hands and suffer. The NNPC, government and the Oil Companies have never hugely done things that benefit the entire Ohaji enclave. Rather they allow some leaders of the area to mislead them”.
Hydrogen Set To Compete With Fossil Fuels
University of Houston energy researchers suggest hydrogen fuel can potentially be a cost-competitive and environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline and diesel, and that supplying hydrogen for transportation in the greater Houston area can be profitable today.
The research team is offering a white paper titled, “Competitive Pricing of Hydrogen as an Economic Alternative to Gasoline and Diesel for the Houston Transportation Sector”, where they examine the promise for the potential of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
The white paper offers that traditional liquid transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel are preferred because of their higher energy density.
Unlike vehicles using gasoline, which releases carbon dioxide, and diesel, which contributes ground, level ozone, fuel cell electric vehicles refuel with hydrogen in five minutes and produce zero emissions.
The paper then pitches “According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Houston had approximately 5.5 million registered vehicles in the fiscal year 2022. Imagine if all these vehicles were using hydrogen for fuel”.
Houston, home to many hydrogen plants for industrial use, offers several advantages, according to the researchers.
The study explains, “It (Houston) has more than sufficient water and commercial filtering systems to support hydrogen generation. Add to that the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure, which makes hydrogen production and supply more cost effective and makes Houston ideal for transitioning from traditional vehicles to hydrogen-powered ones”.
The study compares three hydrogen generation processes: steam methane reforming (SMR), SMR with carbon capture (SMRCC), and electrolysis using grid electricity and water.
“The researchers used the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s H2A tools to provide cost estimates for these pathways, and the Hydrogen Delivery Scenario Analysis Model (HDSAM) developed by Argonne National Laboratory to generate the delivery model and costs.
Additionally, it compares the cost of grid hydrogen with SMRCC hydrogen, showing that without tax credit incentive SMRCC hydrogen can be supplied at a lower cost of $6.10 per kg hydrogen at the pump, which makes it competitive.
Professor Christine Ehlig-Economides said, “This research underscores the transformative potential of hydrogen in the transportation sector. Our findings indicate that hydrogen can be a cost-competitive and environmentally responsible choice for consumers, businesses, and policymakers in the greater Houston area”.
Your humble writer is full of suspicion. As regular readers know, hydrogen is gaseous at any sensible consumer operating temperature and pressure. Its the smallest atom and slithers through most everything.
Its not something one would want stored in an attached garage. The fuel cell tech isn’t quite there yet. And the study relies on power numbers for steam that likely come from natural gas. Just where the electrical watts needed from the grid would come from is anybody’s guess.
For all the contestable points the work does suggest that hydrogen fuel cells have economic potential. Maybe someday there will be a few models of hydrogen fueled automobiles to choose from.
But right now, the market forcing of electric battery energized cars isn’t building any confidence. Add to that the government wants to force heat pumps and electric appliances as the only choices. This after wind and solar aren’t looking like economically healthy ideas after all.
The reality forecast suggests a disaster. Government plus rule and regulation force? What will a community tolerate when forced to choose between air conditioning and charging the car tonight?
Hydrogen might be the energy / fuel nirvana someday. But know one knows how that system is going to look today. All this political pressure is looking to blow the system up.
By: Brian Westenhaus
Westenhaus writes for oilprice.com.
Seplat Plc Plans $250m Investment In Sapele Gas Plant
The Director, New Energy, Seplat Plc, Effiong Okon, has unveiled the company’s plan to construct a new $250m gas plant in Sapele, Delta State.
Okon made the disclosure during the Nigeria Oil and Gas Outlook event with the theme “Investing in Nigeria’s Energy Future”, in Lagos.
Okon, who noted that the company was committed to its vision of contributing to the energy landscape, said investing in the Sapele gas plant would further prove Seplat’s commitment.
Speaking during a panel discussion on “Secured Energy Transition Towards Gas”, Effiong explained that with the investment, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) would be made more available in the market.
He said, “we are also starting a brand-new plant in Sapele, the Sapele gas plant, another $250 million investment that will deliver a lot of LPGs to the market”.
Giving insights into the company’s timeline, Effiong announced that Seplat’s Joint Venture gas processing facility in Imo State is set to be completed by December, with plans for commissioning in January 2024.
Okon, while addressing the broader investment climate, emphasized the pivotal role of the private sector in driving investments in the oil and gas sector.
He further stated that the government’s support through policies and ensuring a secure environment was crucial for fostering sustainable growth and development in the industry.
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