A few days ago, I had the opportunity to take part in a ceremony to inaugurate Al Hosn Gas Project. It was not the first time I saw this remarkable facility, and each time I leave with great appreciation for its importance to the UAE.
Located in the Liwa Desert about 200 kilometres south-west of Abu Dhabi, the project serves one of the largest natural gasfields in the Middle East. It represents a US$10-billion investment and encompasses about 34 square kilometres with state-of-the-art processing technology and other infrastructure necessary to develop these resources.
The project employed nearly 40,000 construction workers and a small town was built to accommodate a workforce that represented the best and brightest engineers and workers from around the world. The development was completed on time, on budget, and with no significant safety incidents during about 270 million man-hours worked to build it.
The processing structures and other facilities are magnificent, yet even more impressive is the partnership between Adnoc and Occidental Petroleum that put this project together.
For nearly 50 years, the enormous treasure of this natural gas discovery remained buried and untapped. In 2011, Adnoc and Occidental signed a joint venture agreement to develop this resource, with Adnoc retaining a 60 per cent participating interest and Occidental holding the remaining 40 per cent. This joint venture assembled the right combination of ingenuity, investment and talent to solve the many technical, logistical and other challenges that kept this rich resource from being developed and contributing to the UAE economy.
This multi-trillion cubic feet sour gasfield became Al Hosn Gas Project, and it started production in January last year. Today, the project is processing up to 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 5 per cent of the world’s daily sulphur production.
Al Hosn Gas Project serves as a strong example of collaboration between international oil companies (IOCs) and government-linked entities to establish synergies in oil and gas exploration and production. The project is likely to contribute significantly to the energy needs of Abu Dhabi and the UAE over the next 30 years.
Occidental is committed to its business in the UAE and remains optimistic about the country’s prospects, despite short-term global challenges. Like many IOCs, we made strategic adjustments to our portfolio and capital budgets to reflect current market circumstances, and we are constantly evaluating opportunities to add value to our portfolio. From our experience with Al Hosn Gas Project, we believe that the UAE is an attractive market for energy investment.
The project will play a critical role in helping Abu Dhabi provide a clean-burning fossil fuel to consumers and contribute to energy independence. We hope to expand our facilities at the project and are already exploring opportunities with Adnoc for further collaboration.
I am honoured to be part of this project under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and I would sincerely like to thank His Highness for this opportunity.
Occidental is looking forward to further contributing to the UAE and its energy needs.
Vicki Hollub is the president and chief executive of Occidental Petroleum.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter