May 27 2009
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Shah gas field developers address safety concerns
The comments by the head of the joint venture, which is developing the remote onshore Shah field, came three months after three workers were killed by exposure to toxic gas emitted from the field's crude deposits.
Saif Ahmed Al Ghafli, CEO of the joint venture (JV) between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and ConocoPhilips , an international energy corporation based in Houston, said the joint venture would press ahead with the development of gas deposits in the field and several separate tenders related to construction will be shortly released.
"The joint venture will pursue the development of a world-class facility, which can process one billion cubic foot per day of sour gas containing about 23 per cent hydrogen sulfide," he told the Gastech conference, which opened in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
"Topography, the size and nature of the facility, and health, safety and environment issues related to sour gas have been identified as major challenges for the project and would continue to be addressed throughout the life of the facility."
In a brief report in February, the official news agency Wam said three workers at Shah field died and one was hospitalised after they were exposed to toxic gas emitted from crude oil.
Unconfirmed reports said the workers were exposed to hydrogen sulphide gas during a maintenance operation at the field.
Hydrogen sulphide gas is a colourless, flammable and highly corrosive substance emitted from crude oil and natural gas production.
Abu Dhabi's sour grades have high-content of hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide. High concentration of the substance can cause failure in respiratory and nervous system that could result to death, according to industry sources.
Wam said an investigation was ordered into how the workers were exposed to the deadly substance.
Shah development is part of a long-term investment programme by Abu Dhabi to expand its gas resources and meet demand due to a steady expansion in the industry sector and power generation facilities.
From six per cent during 1990s, gas demand in the country is projected to rise by 13 per cent in the next decade.
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