INTEC Engineering wins FEED Contract for Deepwater Medgaz

Energized by global deepwater pipeline expertise on world-renowned projects including Bluestream in the Black Sea and BP Mardi Gras in the Gulf of Mexico, INTEC Engineering has won the front-end engineering design contract (FEED) for the showcase MEDGAZ offshore pipeline project in the Mediterranean Sea. The MEDGAZ pipeline will transport high pressure gas from Algeria to Spain for both Spanish and European markets.

Andrew Brady, INTEC’s project manager for the FEED studies, says INTEC will draw on its experience in designing large-diameter pipeline systems for ultra-deepwater while also considering project-specific technical challenges. Relevant issues include geo-hazards associated with steep continental shelf margins and bio-diverse coastal areas of Spain and Algeria, both of which cater for fishing and tourism industries.

“We’re building on lessons learned from Bluestream and Mardi Gras, capturing relevant experience of pipeline design, fabrication and installation in ultra-deepwater to ensure an optimized and safe design for MEDGAZ,” said Brady.

MEDGAZ partners include Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company; CEPSA; BP; TOTAL; ENDESA; Gaz de France; and Spanish energy company Iberdrola. The proposed pipeline will traverse a maximum water depth of 7,087 feet (2,160 meters) in the Mediterranean Sea. Total offshore distance is 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Beni Saf, Algeria, to landfall at Playa del Charco, near Almeria, Spain.

“We have an ambitious project before us with a limited time frame of six months to complete pipeline design and prepare EPIC (engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning) bid packages for the project’s completion,” said Brady.

MEDGAZ pipelines are being designed to transport a total volume of 16 billion cubic meters per year of gas through two submarine pipelines, with an estimated start-up rate of 7 billion cubic meters per year targeted for third quarter 2006. INTEC is scheduled to complete the FEED activities in February 2004.

EPIC contract activities are scheduled to commence during third quarter 2004, following project approval by appropriate authorities in Spain and Algeria.

“INTEC will ensure that EPIC inquiry packages address the widest possible range of installation vessels, providing for contractors offering both J-lay and S-lay capability,” said Brady.

He adds that the proposed MEDGAZ calls for 24-inch diameter pipe, which is comparable to both the Blue Stream and Mardi Gras installations. The Bluestream pipeline, which extends from Russia to Turkey, features twin 24-inch diameter lines in up to 7,054 feet of water. The Mardi Gras project includes pipelines ranging from 16 inches in diameter to a record 28 inches in diameter for water depths ranging between 4,300 feet and 7,250 feet of water.

At present, survey vessels are working along the proposed route of the MEDGAZ pipeline, gathering geo-technical information, with particular emphasis on near-shore areas. Data from these surveys will help to characterize the soils, facilitate route selection and ensure appropriate protection of environmentally sensitive areas.

INTEC’s scope of work for the contract includes the design/engineering of the offshore pipeline, shore approaches and short onshore pipeline sections to the onshore terminals at either end of the trunkline. While INTEC is executing the work from its Woking, England, office near London, Brady advises that INTEC’s offices in Delft, The Netherlands, and Houston are providing technical support and peer review.

Peter Roberts, INTEC’s managing director for Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) operations, says MEDGAZ is a highly significant project for INTEC’s London office in the midst of “a fiercely competitive market.”

“Winning the Mediterranean front-end design work is important to us at EAME, as the appropriate technology is very much our core business. Acquisition of a major project like this calibrates our technological and commercial profile, complementing our London-based skill sets.

“The MEDGAZ FEED project also sits well alongside the extensive implementation phase work we’re currently undertaking at the other end of Mediterranean in the West Delta Deep area offshore Egypt,” said Roberts.

INTEC Engineering (U.K.) Ltd. began UK operations in summer 2001 and officially opened its office in Woking, England, in January 2002 to support the needs of customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

INTEC is a leading engineering and project management company serving the international oil and gas industry. Its technical disciplines include marine pipelines and risers, subsea systems, systems engineering, floating systems, onshore pipelines and facilities and marine installation management. INTEC is an operating company within Heerema Group.

Established in 1984, INTEC has 550 employees with offices on five continents, including in its headquarters in Houston, as well as Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Woking, England; Delft, The Netherlands; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Perth, Australia.