UAE aims to become top sulphur exporter
Abu Dhabi, March 29, 2011
The United Arab Emirates plans to produce 22,000 tonnes of sulphur a day by 2015, which positions it to be a leading world sulphur exporter, said an executive at state-owned Abu Dhabi Gas Development Co (Adco)
Production at the high sulphur Shah gas project being developed by Occidental Petroleum and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is planned to start by 2014.
By 2015 the field is expected to produce around 9,200 tonnes of sulphur per day, said Tareq Sahoo, supervisor of operations at Adco.
"Once the Shah project starts, we expect sulphur production in the UAE to reach 22,000 tonnes per day which will be the largest production in the world, surpassing Canada," he told reporters at an industry event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The bulk of the production will be exported to China, India and Morocco, said Sahoo.
"There is strong demand for sulphur in a number of countries so we are not too worried about demand because it's there," he said.
Sulphur is used in the manufacturing of fertilisers and sulphuric acid, which is used in oil refining, wastewater processing and mineral extraction.
Currently Adnoc has no plans to process the sulphur domestically, but with large amounts of the material being extracted, potential projects might be developed.
Engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the Shah project's sulphur station are expected to be awarded early next month, said Sahoo, declining to give details on its value.
Occidental won the contract to participate in the sour gas project earlier this year after US major ConocoPhillips pulled out of the bidding last April. Adnoc will not be looking for additional partners, said Sahoo.
After completion of the Shah project, the next step would be the issue of a tender for the development of the Bab gas field, said Sahoo. "We are not sure who will be the partner for that, it could be Oxy or anyone else."
The UAE, the world's third-largest oil exporter, launched a tender in 2007 to develop the Shah and Bab fields. The complexity of developing both fields led Abu Dhabi to split the tender and give priority to the Shah field.
The UAE holds the world's seventh-largest gas reserves, at around 227.1 trillion cubic feet, according to BP statistics. Much of the UAE's gas is sour. - Reuters