Tehran — Iran inaugurated the $3.4 billion Persian Gulf Bidboland gas refinery to process associated gas from crude oil production, rather than burn it through flaring, state television reported Jan. 21.
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The plant in the southwest province of Khuzestan has a daily capacity to process 56 million cu m/d of associated gas, including 13.5 million mt/year of sour gas and 2.25 million mt/year of sweet gas. Construction began in 2015.
"In full capacity, around 60% of our flaring gas will be taken care of by Bidboland and won't be burned," oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said in a televised video ceremony from the plant. "Around 15% of the flaring gas will be taken by a project in Marun (Oil and Gas Co.) and in 2023, our flaring gas will near zero." Production from the plant could generate $1.5 billion of revenue, of which $700 million come from exports, he said.
Iran had the world's fourth largest gas flaring volume in 2019, according to a July 2020 report by the World Bank. Of the top 10 largest flarers, Iran was the only country to show a decline from 2018.
Iran shares the world's biggest natural gas deposit with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, and should be using its nearly 32,000 billion cm to become a bigger player in the global market, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised inauguration ceremony.
"We are behind in gas exports. We should be one of the top five gas exporters in the world," Rouhani said. "The world is in need of Iran's oil and gas. We can become the region's hub in production and exports of electricity or gas."
Bidboland will also produce 10.4 million mt/year of methane, which will be injected into the national gas grid, and 1.5 million mt/year of ethane that will be fed into several petrochemical plants in Mahshahr and Gachsaran, according to the TV report. It will also export annually 1 million mt of propane and 500,000 mt of butane. Some 900,000 mt of acid gas produced each year will also be injected into oil wells of Aghajari fields in the Khuzestan province to boost crude production. It will also yield 600,000 mt/year of gas condensates.
The project was financed by the state-run National Development Fund through a consortium of banks.
"This refinery is capable of collecting the whole associated gas in three provinces of Khuzestan, Kogilouyeh-Boyrahmad and Bushehr," Mahmoud Aminnejed, managing director of Bidboland, said in the televised ceremony.
In the first phase, associated gas of the East Karun oil fields will be collected in bid to clean the environment from flare gas, Aminnejad said, and in the second one, those of the West Karun will be processed in Bidboland. The plant is currently the third such facility in the world, he added.
Aminnejad said that 500,000 mt of pentane plus, a natural gas liquid, will also be produced at the plant.
Zanganeh said that a "mini refinery" could be built to produce 15,000 b/d of gasoline using the pentane plus output.