The El Merk oil and gas field in Algeria is located in the southern desert, 1,000 kilometers from the coast. It is being exploited by a consortium of six oil companies and managed by two of them: Anadarko and the Algerian state-owned producer Sonatrach, which together form the Groupement Berkine joint venture.
The project, which achieved its first oil in March 2013, is expected to reach a peak daily output of about 160,000 barrels of crude and condensate, and 600 million cubic feet of propane and butane.
An ABB-led consortium has fullfilled a $650 million contract to design and install much of the infrastructure for El Merk. As well as the power supply and the industrial plant required to lift and process the oil and gas, ABB is supplied 719 kilometers of pipeline and the production and collection flowlines for some 120 wells.
The pipelines, which will be fitted with almost 10,000 manual valves, connect the wells with field gathering stations, and link the stations with the central processing plant where the mixed gas and liquid will be separated and treated.
The pipelines are being laid with the help of ABB’s geographic information system, which surveys possible problems along pipeline corridors, such as changes in elevation and the angle of dune slopes and so on. It automatically generates the information needed to lay the pipelines in the field, and it also supports the pipeline open data standard model, the most widely used in the industry. ABB estimates that the use of this resource will cut 12 months from the construction time.