ISG Limited President Mohamed Keddam says that the ISG project is the first development project in central Sahara, “starting from nothing.”
“No existing infrastructure, no electricity, no communications. In other words, we have to build and produce everything we need,” Mr Keddam says. “The CO2 content of the gas is high (up to 10 per cent) which makes it challenging from a corrosion point of view. We have also been the first project to capture and sequestrate CO2 daily and on an industrial scale with a rate of 2 MMcm/d.”
Overcoming design challenges
The ISSF joint venture contracted Foster Wheeler for front-end engineering and design (FEED), which commenced in September 2009 and was completed in July 2010.
Foster Wheeler says the environment was a challenge. “The region is primarily uninhabited desert, with the terrain varying from tall sand dunes formed from the predominant southwest and northeast winds, through different mountain plateaux, across rugged falaises (sharp 200 m-high, cliff-like escarpments), to valleys and dry riverbeds or wadis.
“The Southern Fields are also located in the Ahaggar National Park, an area of environmental sensitivity with numerous historic and archaeological sites and an old palm oasis. In addition, In Salah is one of the warmest inhabited places on earth, with summer temperatures peaking at 63°C.”
Foster Wheeler says that developing pipeline routings through the multi-faceted terrain involved the latest satellite imagery, aerial survey and software technologies for producing detailed topographical terrain mapping.
“The Southern Fields project covers an overall area of 2,000 sq km and the pipelines constitute around half of the overall project cost, so it is vital to get the routing right. ISG pre-FEED work had already resulted in the acquisition of a considerable volume of geo-referenced data. Using Esri ArcGIS software, we developed this and subsequent data into a geographical information system model which will eventually be passed onto the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor,” says Foster Wheeler.