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TNK-BP Plans to Build a Gas Processing Plant

Source: 8/5/2009, Location: Asia

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TNK-BP is going to build a gas processing plant in the Pokrovskoe field of the Orenburg Region with a capacity of 450 million cubic meters by 2012. This plant will allow the company to utilize almost 100% of its associated petroleum gas, but its construction will cost the company several hundred million dollars. Experts, however, justify these expenditures because the oil companies failing to meet the associated gas utilization norms will face the risk of losing their field development licenses starting from 2012.

Nikolai Khromov, Director of the Zaikinsky Gas Processing Plant, announced that the company is going to build its own gas fractionation facility in the Pokrovskoe field of the Orenburg Region. Gas treatment and processing at the new plant will produce lean gas, propane and butane. TNK-BP confirmed this information and added that the gas processing plant will have a capacity of 450 million cubic meters and be launched in 2012.

TNK-BP did not specify the exact amount of investments into this project saying that it may vary considerably due to the unstable economic situation. “We are talking about several hundred million dollars,” said a company representative. After the launch of the plant, the level of associated petroleum gas utilization in the Pokrovskoe field will rise up to 98–99%. The company will supply treated dry gas to the gas transportation system of Gazprom. “We have reached an agreement and received technical specifications for connecting to their pipeline,” noted the representative of TNK-BP.

The Pokrovskoe field in the Orenburg Region was discovered in 1961. The license for its development was granted to Orenburgneft, a subsidiary of TNK-BP. The recoverable in-place reserves of oil in the field are estimated at about 70 million tons.

Currently, approximately 200 million cubic meters of gas is produced in the Pokrovskoe field and treated at the Otradnoe Gas Processing Plant of Rosneft in the Samara Region. “We can produce twice as much, but Rosneft cannot accept such volumes of gas,” said company representatives. TNK-BP is going to produce a total of 12.1 billion cubic meters of gas in 2009, 80% of which will be associated petroleum gas. According to the information provided by the company, more than $600 million has been invested into associated petroleum gas utilization projects by the end of 2008. TNK-BP intends to invest another $700 million into these projects by 2012. The average level of associated petroleum gas utilization, which is now around 80%, will reach 95% by that time.

Vitaly Kryukov, analyst of IFD Capital, pointed out that construction of new processing facilities is included in the strategic plan of the company until 2012. By 2015, the share of the company’s gas business will grow up to 20%. “Now, TNK-BP is increasing its gas production for generating additional profits. At the same time, according to governmental recommendations, Gazprom, in spite of the drop of gas consumption in Russia and abroad, does not reduce reception of associated petroleum gas from oil companies. Apparently, TNK-BP is sure that this situation will not change in near future,” said the analyst. He estimated the cost of the gas processing plant at $150 million. Denis Borisov from IK Solid estimated the construction cost much higher – at $200–400 million and added that these capital expenditures will be fairly justified. According to governmental directions, the level of associated petroleum gas utilization must be at least 95% for all oil companies beginning from 2012, otherwise the companies may be deprived of their field development licenses. Apart from that, the new plant will generate additional profits for TNK-BP as gas prices will be liberalized by 2012,” said the expert.

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