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Saudi Arabia reaps rewards of gas-saving technology

October 12, 2020

As of 2018, the MGS gathered almost 3.5 trillion cubic feet per year and is one of the world’s largest single hydrocarbon networks

RIYADH: The Master Gas System (MGS) led to Saudi Arabia to save more than 18 billion cubic feet per day of gas in 2018 and meet growing energy demands, experts have said.

Majed Al-Suwailem, a leading researcher at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), said the energy-saving measures would have been impossible without the development of the Kingdom’s advanced gas technology.

“The MGS is a network of gas-gathering facilities and pipelines to capture, process and utilize gas as fuel for power generation and feedstock for the gas-based petrochemical industries in Jubail and Yanbu. Over time, the MGS has been expanded as more oil and non-associated gas fields have been placed on stream, and as demand has risen for dry gas in the power sector,” said Al-Suwailem.

“As of 2018, the MGS gathered almost 3.5 trillion cubic feet per year and is one of the world’s largest single hydrocarbon networks. It includes 4,000 km of pipelines, 50 gas oil separation plants, seven gas plants, and two natural gas liquid units,” he added.

Compared with other G20 nations, the Kingdom ranks fourth in terms of flaring intensity (a measurement of cubic feet of gas flared per barrel of oil produced), said Al-Suwailem. He added that many technologies were previously used, including zero discharge technologies at wellheads and gas flare recovery systems in facilities. His remarks are based on a commentary and study recently published by KASPARC, titled: “Saudi Arabia’s Gas Flaring Mitigation Experience.” Al-Suwailem led the study.

The report, which explores Saudi Arabia’s gas demand, domestic gas supply and natural gas trade in a global context, said the Kingdom follows Italy, France and Turkey of the G20 nations in flaring intensity rankings. The result means the Kingdom is one of the most successful countries worldwide in combating gas flaring pollution.

In the report, researchers identify four reasons why oil operators choose to flare or vent associated gas, a byproduct of oil extraction at wellheads and gathering stations, including infrastructure constraints, a lack of financial incentive to capture and process gas, poor regulatory frameworks and binding contractual rights.

KAPSARC’s report also called for other countries to learn lessons from the Kingdom’s experience in reducing gas flaring in the oil industry. Governments can exercise pressure on operators to collaborate on flaring mitigation and also provide financial incentives to capture, process, compress and transport gas to consumer markets, the report added.

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