Pipeline projects in the Middle East

Lead photo:  The 640 km SHBAB-1 oil pipeline, shown under construction, is currently being extended via the Shaybah – Abqaiq 2 oil pipeline project, due for completion this year. Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco.

Lead photo: The 640 km SHBAB-1 oil pipeline, shown under construction, is currently being extended via the Shaybah – Abqaiq 2 oil pipeline project, due for completion this year. Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco.

Shifting sands, salt marshes, extreme heat, storms, and complex intergovernmental relations, are some of the challenges confronting the pipeline industry in the Middle East. Despite these challenges, a wealth of significant pipeline projects are proposed or currently underway in the region. Here, Pipelines International provides a snapshot of industry activity.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco has awarded an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and commissioning contract to the Nacap-Suedrohrbau joint venture to construct the 506 km, 30 inch diameter Ras Tanura – Riyadh multi-product pipeline from refineries in Ras Tanura to Riyadh in central Saudi Arabia, as well as install three pump stations, metering systems, substation buildings and maintenance. The project is expected to be completed by December 2011.

Saudi Aramco has also awarded Jacobs Engineering Group a contract to develop the associated pipelines as part of the Arabiyah Gas Development Programme, which will facilitate the production and processing of up to 2.5 Bcf/d of gas from the Arabiyah and Hasbah offshore sour gas fields.

There are four associated pipelines: two offshore pipelines connecting the gas platforms to the tie-in platform of 24 km and 36 km, a 110 km offshore pipeline to transport gas to the Manifa processing facility, and a 100 km onshore pipeline carrying gas to the Berri gas plant. The project is expected to be completed in 2015.

J Ray McDermott is undertaking pipeline construction at Saudi Aramco’s offshore Karan gas field, in the Khuff region. The gas field development involves a 110 km subsea pipeline from the field to onshore processing facilities at the Khursaniyah gas plant. The project is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile Stroytransgaz is nearing completion of construction works to expand the second Shaybah – Abqaiq oil pipeline (SHBAB-2).

The 217 km pipeline will connect a new plant, which separates gas and oil at Shaybah, to an existing pipeline that carries crude oil to a processing facility at Abqaiq. The existing 640 km SHBAB-1 pipeline transports crude oil to Abqaiq from three gas and oil separation plants located in Shaybah.


Bahrain and Saudi Aramco are discussing the construction of a new oil pipeline between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Exceeding 100 km in length, the projected $US350 million pipeline project was expected to commence construction by the end of 2009; it has, however, been delayed until later this year.


Turkey is in negotiations to discuss the development of the Qatar – Turkey pipeline. The pipeline would run from Doha to Istanbul, a distance of approximately 2,500 km. The pipeline would carry Qatari gas to the Mediterranean Sea, crossing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and may link to the proposed Nabucco gas pipeline.

United Arab Emirates

In February 2010, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) awarded a contract worth approximately $US683 million to National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) for the construction of a 950 km oil pipeline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

NPCC will perform the EPC for the new pipeline, as well as production well tie-ins and flowlines that will connect the field to four new production facilities. The contract is expected to be executed in 30 months to increase the capacity of the Bab field from 1.4 MMbbl/d to 1.8 MMbbl/d by 2017.

Dolphin Energy has completed the commissioning of early gas facilities in August 2009 at the gas receiving station associated with the Taweelah – Fujairah gas pipeline. The 240 km Taweelah – Fujairah pipeline will carry gas from the Taweelah gas terminal on the Persian Gulf coast, to treatment facilities in the emirate of Fujairah near the Oman border. The project is set to be completed later this year.

In January 2010, UAE-based construction firm Dodsal secured contracts worth over $US160 million to construct two gas pipelines in Abu Dhabi. The first contract is for the replacement of a 100 km, 36 inch diameter pipeline linking Abu Dhabi Gas Industries’ (GASCO) Thamma C production facilities in the northeast to the firm’s Asab field in the south. The contract is worth approximately $US85 million.

The second EPC contract includes construction of the 45 km, 48 inch diameter Mirfa – Habshan nitrogen pipeline. Part of the joint venture industrial gas scheme by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Germany’s Linde, this pipeline will link Mirfa, in west Abu Dhabi, with the Habshan oil field, located in the south of the capital.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) have signed an EPC contract for the Abu Dhabi crude oil pipeline project.

The project will involve the construction of a 400 km, 48 inch diameter pipeline, which will run from the Habshan oil field in the west to the Fujairah Port in the east, and will have a designed delivery capacity of
1.5 MMbbl/d and a maximum capacity of
1.8 MMbbl/d.

WorleyParsons has been awarded the front-end engineering and design contract, while Germany’s ILF Consulting Engineers is managing the project. Trial operation of the pipeline is estimated to start by the end of 2010, while the whole project is expected to be completed in August 2011.

BJ Process and Pipeline Services has successfully completed a pipeline pre-commissioning operation for the Atlantis development, which comprises a wellhead platform that feeds a stand-alone pipeline extending 75 km to shore. The contract was completed for Global Industries, the installation contractor for the offshore section of the development.


Oman and India are examining the possibility of constructing a 28 inch diameter, 1,100 km subsea gas pipeline that could significantly boost India’s energy industry. The pipeline would be constructed at a maximum depth of 3,500 m, and is expected to have a capacity of 20 Bcm/a.


Iran and Pakistan have signed the final agreement to launch the construction of the $US3.2 billion Iran – Pakistan (IP) onshore gas pipeline. The two countries signed an Operational Agreement and a Heads of Agreement (HoA), which includes a provision for India’s possible participation in the project at a later date, in March 2010.

Iran will deliver 750 MMcf/d of gas to Pakistan for the next 25 years via the 900 km, 42 inch diameter gas pipeline, which will run from the Assaluyen gas field in southern Iran, to Pakistan. The pipeline is scheduled to become operational by 2015.

In addition, Iran is planning to construct a 350 km pipeline from its Tabriz refinery to Armenia to increase gasoline and gas exports to the country. Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Noureddin Shahnazi-Zadeh said the two countries have agreed on a contract for the construction of the pipeline and a gas terminal to be located on the border shared by the two countries. The pipeline has been under discussion since 2007.

Iran has completed initial studies for the construction of the 1,550 km Neka-Jask pipeline. The pipeline has a planned transmission capacity of 1 MMbbl/d of oil and a storage capacity of 20 MMbbl.

The pipeline will travel between the Caspian Sea port of Neka to the Gulf of Oman port of Jask. The project is targeting crude oil supplies from Kazakhstan’s large Kashagan field, but will also offer Russia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan the opportunity to export to the Arabian Sea.

Construction has commenced on the Iranian section of the 56 inch diameter, 1,740 km Pars pipeline that will run to Turkey and on to consumers in Europe. The pipeline is designed to boost exports to Turkey and Europe from the western region of the country by transporting sweet gas produced from Iran’s South Pars field. The pipeline will have an initial capacity of
37 Bcm/a.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) intends to build a 200 km gas export pipeline to Iran. The new pipeline, to be funded by SOCAR, is expected to be 200 km in length and have a gas transmission capacity of 6.57 Bcm/a. Construction works are scheduled for later in 2010, with operation expected in 2012.


Egypt has given preliminary approval to send Jordan approximately 500 MMcm/a of gas through the 1,200 km, 36 inch diameter Arab Gas Pipeline. Egypt currently exports between 5.7 MMcm/d and 7.1 MMcm/d of natural gas to Jordan.

Egypt and Jordan have been linked since 2003 by the Arab Gas Pipeline, which extends from Arish in Egypt, passing through Aqaba, Damascus and Banias. The pipeline is currently used to export Egyptian natural gas to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and commissioning of the entire pipeline is planned for 2011.


The Natural Gas Pipeline Company has announced that it will construct a 37 km gas pipeline to Jerusalem. The company estimates that the planning process for the new pipeline will take approximately two years and that the natural gas will be delivered by a distribution company to be set up in the future.

Negotiations continue between the Israeli Government and the Druze communities situated along the pipeline route. Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Eyal Gabbai is handling the talks for the government.


In 2008, Stroytransgaz and the Syrian Gas Company signed an EPC contract for the Arab Gas Pipeline Project Phase 2 in Syria.

The 36 inch diameter Arab Gas Pipeline Project Phase 2 will run 62 km from the Turkish-Syrian border to Alenno, the site of the pressure reduction and metering station. The project will be completed in 18 months.

In March 2010, Syria announced that a working group would be created to discuss the construction of a new 150km gas pipeline between Azerbaijan and Syria. The working group is to consider technical, commercial issues related to the export of approximately 1 Bcm/a of gas from Azerbaijan to Syria.

It is expected that 90 km of the pipeline will be situated in Syria, and completion is planned for the end of 2011.


In November 2009, an agreement was reached between the Baghdad and Amman administrations to construct a pipeline between Iraq and Jordan. The pipeline will carry Iraqi oil to Jordan’s Aqaba port, traversing a distance of approximately
600 km.

Iraq currently exports 4 MMbbl/a of oil through the approximately 600 km Kirkuk– Yumurtalık pipeline, and via Basra in tankers.

Turkey hopes to renew an agreement to operate a 941 km Kirkuk to Ceyhan oil pipeline for another 15 to 20 years. The pipeline project comprises two parallel pipelines, which transport oil from fields around Kirkuk, Iraq, to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Turkey, and have a total capacity of 500,000 bbl/d of oil. The first pipeline was commissioned in 1977 and the second in 1987. The pipelines are jointly operated by Iraq and Turkey’s respective national oil companies.

Nabucco and Arab Gas Pipeline to link the Middle East?

The Turkish Parliament has ratified a 2008 agreement with European Union states regarding the nation’s participation in the construction of the 3,300 km Nabucco pipeline.

The $US10.6 billion Nabucco pipeline will draw gas from the Caspian region — Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan — as well as Georgia and Iraq. From the point where it connects into Turkey’s pipeline network, the Nabucco pipeline will run 3,300 km to a distribution hub in Baumgarten, Austria, potentially delivering up to
31 Bcm/a of natural gas to Europe.

Tying into the Nabucco project is the 36 inch diameter, 1,200 km Arab Gas Pipeline, which will transport Egyptian gas through Jordan and Syria to Turkey once completed.

Construction has been completed on part of the pipeline, extending from Arish in Egypt, passing through Aqaba in Jordan, Damascus and Banias, both in Syria.
Phase 2 of the pipeline will run to Turkey, and commissioning of the entire pipeline is planned for 2011.

Lebanon will also tap into the network, having signed an agreement with Egypt for 600 MMcm/a, while Iraq will be integral in keeping supplies of gas flowing into the network.

Enter your details here to subscribe to the free Pipelines International fortnightly online update.

Thank you for signing up for the Pipelines International fortnightly online update.