Paragon Supports ChevronTexaco on Major Angola Gas Project

Paragon Engineering Services announced it is supporting ChevronTexaco on a major Front End Engineering contract for five projects to support the reduction of routine natural gas flaring offshore and onshore Angola.

As part of its Area "A" Gas Management Program in Angola, ChevronTexaco's wholly owned subsidiary and Block 0 operator Cabinda Gulf Oil Company Ltd. (CABGOC), together with its Block 0 Partners, Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol), Elf Petroleum Angola (Total) and Agip Angola Ltd. (Agip), awarded a contract to Paragon that includes an integrated effort in the offshore Takula, Wamba, Numbi and Malongo areas and the onshore Malongo Terminal as well as a separate project for Malongo West gas injection.

Richard Rankin, Paragon's vice president of midstream projects, said this work represents approximately one quarter million man-hours. Currently, 150 Paragon personnel are assigned to the project, which is estimated to peak at a team size of about 200 personnel. As currently envisioned, this project ranks as Paragon's second-largest current effort in terms of work volume.

"This is a significant piece of business for us, especially as we meet key corporate goals to grow our midstream business, execute large front-end engineering design (FEED) projects and establish Paragon's recently announced joint venture company in Angola. Paragon is committed to working with ChevronTexaco to help accomplish its gas management program and eliminate routine gas flaring while executing the work within a very tight schedule and budget," said Rankin. "The combination of Paragon's onshore and offshore technical resources, innovations and team cooperation will make this a successful project for ChevronTexaco and its partners."

The main efforts include a new-build gas processing platform in the Takula area, modifications to existing platforms in the Takula, Wamba, and Numbi areas, and the new-build onshore Cabinda Gas Plant. The separate Malongo West gas injection project involves platform modifications to support receipt and injection of gas from other area fields.

Steve Persky, Area "A" gas management project director for Paragon, said interface is a significant aspect of the design process for these interconnected and extremely gas-rich fields.

"Every field is interrelated; when you draw gas from one of the five fields, it ultimately impacts one or more of the other areas," he explained. "As a result, third-party interface and communication within our own teams were key components in designing an efficient operation. All the pieces have to work together."

To that end, Persky said this project represents the most "electronic" project he has worked on in his 33-year career and recognizes it as a growing industry trend.

"As part of the project requirements, we deliver all design documents electronically to the client and, in return, we get their electronic comments," he said. "Certainly the exchange of information electronically is not new, but the magnitude of information on this project plays a critical role in successful communication."

According to Marc-Henri Cerar, Paragon's project information services (IS) manager for these efforts, Paragon's electronic document management processes provide an ideal environment for achievement of ChevronTexaco's objectives.

"Over the past few years, Paragon has developed a system that links software applications and project information over the internet to allow personnel at multiple locations worldwide to share information and work within a common database," Cerar said. "This system is proving to be indispensable in maintaining data integrity, eliminating paperwork-related confusion, and achieving fast-track progress."

Overview of Projects

Four existing gathering station (GS) facilities in the Takula, Wamba, and Numbi areas – GS-Papa, GS-Lima, GS-Mike and GS-November – will be modified to recover low-pressure flared gas. Currently, most of the gas in this area is sent to an existing artificial lift platform (ALP) and compressed for gas lift. Eventually, the gas will instead be sent to ALP and the new-build Takula Gas Processing Platform (TGPP) for compression, sweetening, and removal of raw natural gas liquids (NGLs). The NGLs will then be transported via existing pipelines to the new onshore Cabinda Gas Plant, while the residue gas will be sent via existing pipelines to a gas injection system.

The new-build Cabinda Gas Plant will provide compression, NGL recovery, and fractionation facilities to process spec LPG products for market.

Several platforms in the Malongo area will also be modified for recovery of gas that is currently flared. As with the Takula, Wamba, and Numbi gas discussed above, this Malongo gas will be collected and sent to the existing offshore NGL plant and then on to the new gas injection storage system.

In a separate effort, the Fox platform in the Malongo area will be modified to receive high-pressure gas from the Benguela Belize field in Block 14 through a new pipeline. This gas will be distributed to outlying well platforms for reinjection and storage.

Paragon's scopes of work include FEED for the new-build components as well as detailed design for some modification efforts.

Local Resources

Paragon has embarked on a strategy to maximize the use of local Angolan resources as these projects move forward.

"Increasingly, national oil companies and government agencies are seeking to improve local capabilities and infrastructure to achieve long-term economic and social benefits," said Paula Johnson, an international business development representative for Paragon. "To aid in meeting these goals, Paragon formed a joint venture company with Prodoil Exploração e Produção de Hidrocarbonetos, S.A.R.L. in Angola to facilitate transfer of technology and expertise to the local oil and gas industry. Prodoil specializes in oil and gas exploration and production projects in Angola and elsewhere in West Africa."