Building the framework for gas self-sufficiency
Obaid Abdulla Al Dhaheri, CEO of Dolphin Energy, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s role in furthering the UAE’s ambitious natural gas plans and its efforts in the reduction of emissions and flaring. Dolphin Energy produces, processes and transports gas from Qatar’s North Field, supplying a major part of the UAE’s gas requirements.
What role can Dolphin Energy play in the country’s ambitious gas goals, and how will it continue to support energy security and the energy transition?
Having been operational for the last 15 years, Dolphin Energy has made a significant contribution to the UAE’s energy mix, ensuring a reliable and safe supply of natural gas and supporting the foundations of energy security.
In addition, by demonstrating what can be achieved by harnessing ambition, using the spirit of partnership and embracing new technologies, I believe the Dolphin Gas Project has helped build the framework for gas self-sufficiency. Those three key attributes – ambition, partnership and technology – which are behind our success are helping transform the UAE’s energy landscape. We still have an important role to play and look forward to making an additional contribution in the years ahead as per Dolphin Energy’s mandate.
What elements have made the Dolphin Gas Project a unique venture in terms of operational performance and energy efficiency?
The most unique aspect of the Dolphin Gas Project is that it covers all three stages of the value chain: upstream, midstream and downstream. Many companies will focus on just one or two aspects.
For us, this brings many benefits, as you would expect when you’re able to manage and operate each stage. It means that we can adopt a common approach, create synergies, implement new strategies and procedures, and manage issues should they arise. It makes critical activities like automation easier and in the age of technology transfer and digitalisation, being “connected” across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors helps drive transformation across our infrastructure more efficiently and effectively.
What milestones have you recently achieved and in what ways are you planning to enhance operations to maintain your growth trajectory?
Dolphin Energy recently hit 15 years of operations, having delivered a total of 11 tcf [311.5 bcm] of natural gas and 485 million boe of condensate sold to international markets. Delivering these quantities of natural gas and condensate has been a phenomenal undertaking.
We have been very proud to reach these major milestones and our focus is firmly set on ensuring we maintain our commitments to our customers and meet all contractual requirements. This obligation is backed by an unstinting commitment to the highest levels of HSE and the support of our strategic partner QatarEnergy and our shareholders Mubadala Investment Company, TotalEnergies and Oxy.
How is the company approaching emissions and flare reduction?
We are always looking for solutions to reduce our flaring and emissions. Our 25% drop in flaring was recorded because during the planned 2021 annual shutdown programme we rerouted the gas which was previously flared due to sealine depressurisation to the gas trains for processing and export.
Moving forward, we plan to complete detailed engineering for further flaring reduction this year – covering rerouting of the export gas compressors and interconnecting the Stream 1 and Stream 2 gas lines. These steps will help us maintain our commitments.
Last year, we launched our decarbonisation programme with the objective of identifying initiatives and opportunities to further reduce our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions. The programme builds on our decarbonisation commitments, which stretch back more than a decade, and is an opportunity to align with government climate action plans and contribute to the global movement to combat climate change.
Our target is a long-term reduction in our GHG emissions. The programme is overseen by a steering committee and a task force comprising a multidisciplinary team of employees across upstream and downstream operations.
What benefits does your Advanced Subsea Intervention & Support Technology (ASSIST) hold?
Having access to our own emergency pipeline repair system is significant because we don’t have to rely on another system and factor in the time it would take to deploy and use it if it was needed. Another benefit is that ASSIST is flexible – it can be used for repairs, interventions, tie-ins and hot tapping, meaning it would appeal to a wide range of pipeline operators around the region.
Then there is the safety element of the system. Its unique, diverless subsea launcher and receiver ensure a safe work environment is created before divers are deployed. This helps reduce risk significantly.
In terms of economic value, ASSIST shortens the repair duration because the system is in a state of readiness. The technology offered means repairs can be completed in weeks instead of months.