Work on Adnoc’s offshore electrification project is to get under way shortly, with Prysmian’s cable-laying vessel moored in Abu Dhabi.
An Adnoc representative confirmed the Leonardo da Vinci would carry out the work on the project. The vessel will be operating with Prysmian’s Ulisse.
The latter cable-laying barge is currently in the West Mediterranean, according to Marine Traffic.
Adnoc is working with TAQA on the electrification works, which aims to power offshore operations from onshore. The company signed a deal with a consortium made up of Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Électricité de France (EDF) in December 2021. The foreign consortium will have a combined 40% stake.
The group held their first meeting for Project Lightning this year on the Prysmian vessel last week. They are carrying out the work on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis, which is novel for the region.
The transmission system will have total capacity of 3.2 GW. It will consist of two subsea HVDC links, and converter stations, linked to TAQA’s onshore grid. The onshore stations convert the power from AC to DC, to avoid transmission losses.
The total project is worth $3.8 billion.
The Adnoc official confirmed that the project was due to go into operation in 2025.
Samsung C&T signed the contract to oversee construction and supply of stations and HVDC cable in December 2021, in alliance with Jan De Nul. The Korean company announced its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was worth $2.3bn. Jan De Nul’s share was worth $725 million.
The total contract involves almost 1,000 km of cables, connecting the islands of Al Ghallan and Das to converter stations at Al Mirfa and Shuweihat. Al Ghallan is an artificial island close to the Zakum field, while Das is close to Umm Shaif.
The first package, from Das to the shore, includes three 400 kV cables, each 135 km long. The second package covers Al Ghallan’s connections to the shore. This will have four 320 kV cables, each 125 km long.
Prysmian has reported that its part of the Al Ghallan work was worth 60 million euros ($65mn). The Leonardo da Vinci will carry out the deepwater part, it explained, with the Ulisse working in the shallow water.
Sumitomo Electric won the $200mn contract to carry out the cable work to Das Island.
EDF international executive director Béatrice Buffon, writing on LinkedIn, said she had visited the Leonardo da Vinci this week in Abu Dhabi.
“Together with the stakeholders and contractors, we visited the vessel as it prepares to launch subsea cabling activities in the coming weeks,” she said. Buffon described it as a “key milestone” for Project Lightning.
The electrification aims to reduce Adnoc’s offshore carbon footprint by more than 30%. Currently, operations require gas turbine generators. The HVDC link will provide the platforms with low carbon power. Abu Dhabi is scaling up its solar generation and is starting up a nuclear project, Barakah, which should account for 25% of the UAE’s needs.
Adnoc has capacity of around 4.5 million barrels per day and aims to reach 5mn bpd by 2027. The company’s Murban crude is already recognised as one of the lowest emitting. Cutting this further will make the oil more attractive to carbon-conscious buyers, while also allowing Adnoc and partners to export more gas.
The project “highlights our commitment to providing our customers with innovative solutions for reliable and low carbon energy”, Buffon said.
Project Lightning reached financial close in September 2022, with a debt package of $3.2bn. Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) provided $1.2bn. Others involved in the financing were the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, BNP Paribas Fortis and Standard Chartered Bank.
Adnoc will pay transmission charges for the use of the infrastructure, over 35 years.