Oman Gas takes over government gas transportation system

Jan 02, 2002 01:00 AM

The government gas transportation system, until now a domain under Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has been transferred to its new owners, the Oman Gas Company (OGC). Steve Ollerearnshaw, general manager of PDO, handed over the keys to Sarhan Ali Al Sarhani, executive director of OGC, symbolising the transfer.
The "smooth handover" took place at the PDO's Oil and Gas Exhibition Hall, in the presence of Oman's undersecretary of oil and gas and senior officials, besides top officials from PDO and OGC and the Canadian Energy Services (CES), a consortium that will handle the gas transportation system.

BC Gas International, Canada's Enbridge International and OHI's Petroleum Energy Services are the partners in the consortium. Accepting the keys, Sarhan Ali Al Sarhani, said that though the take over was a milestone in the development of OGC he was looking for the real major milestone that will come only after five years when OGC takes over reins from CES.
Terming the hand over processes as "very smooth", Sarhan wanted that OGC should not be considered as a competitor to PDO but a complimenting company. "We will continue to be so," he added.
Steve Ollerearnshaw, speaking at the ceremony, pointed out that the current capacity of the gas transportation system had grown in excess of 15 mm cmpd. "Demand for gas kept increasing at a rate of approximately 7 % a year, calling for a further expansion of the gas transportation system. In 1989, an additional gas line was commissioned between Yibal and Murayrat, in the capital area," he said.

PDO first began transporting gas in 1978. That first gas was delivered from Yibal to the Al Ghubra power plant via a twenty-inch pipeline with an initial capacity of 4 mm cmpd of gas. "As for OGC, the future is equally bright, as many gas-based industries and as fuelled power plants are planned to come on stream in the near future.
"OGC is already busy expanding the system to supply additional gas to Sohar and -- for the first time -- to supply gas to Salalah. The system will grow in complexity and it will thus bring more challenges which I am sure that OGC and its operator, Canadian Energy Services are well capable of meeting," the PDO official mentioned.
As on date PDO has 13 customers spread across the northern part of the country. However, the main customers have always been the power stations of the Ministry of Housing, Electricity and Water Resources. As developer and operator of the gas-transmission system since inception, PDO has ensured the uninterrupted supply of quality gas to all the customers from the start.

On behalf of OGC, the Canadian company will run the operations of the Government Gas Transportation System. Susan Miller, contract manager of CES reacting to her company being vested with 'a monumental task' of "safeguarding the critical artery that carries the lifeblood of the country's operation" assured that CES had "no intention giving you anything less than outstanding performance as the company operated and maintained the government gas system on your behalf."
Mohammed bin Hamed Al Romhi, minister of oil and gas and chairman of Oman Gas Company (OGC), SAOC, a few months ago signed a RO 8.69 mm agreement with the Canadian Energy Services (CES) company, to take-over operations and maintenance of the government gas transmission systems, currently handled by petroleum PDO.

Though CES will be allowed to run the show for a five-year term, the rights for extension of the agreement would be retained by the OGC. A Royal Decree which was issued to form OGC also granted the company a concession by the government for the construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of new gas pipelines from Fahud to Sohar and from Saih Nihayda to Salalah, besides the ownership, operation and maintenance of the existing government gas transmission facilities. OGC is 80 % owned by the government of Oman and the rest by Oman Oil Company.
The three companies would be responsible for operating and maintaining this growing 800 km long existing natural gas pipelines system that currently delivers natural gas to various industrial customers and power generators. This would be added by another 1000 km-long pipeline when the two Sohar and Salalah gas systems are integrated. These two are under construction.

Source: Times of Oman
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