Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas has taken a significant step forward with its offshore Kasawari carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, with the award of a conceptual engineering design contract to energy consultancy Xodus, a subsidiary of Oslo-listed offshore contractor Subsea 7.

The Kasawari CCS project, offshore the coast of Sarawak, is a strategic project that underpins Petronas commitment of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 while also supporting the future supply of feedstock for the production of liquefied natural gas.

The Kasawari CCS project — or Kasawari Phase 2 — will comprise the capture and processing of carbon dioxide from the sour gas field development, which will then be injected into a nearby depleted gas field.

Petronas plans to commence the first injection of CO2 by the end of 2025 and, once on stream, the project is expected to reduce CO2 volume emitted via flaring by a total 76 million tonnes, with an annual average saving of 3.7 million tonnes per annum.

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Petronas is also forging ahead with the main Kasawari project on Block SK 316, which will begin the development of a giant sour gas field with recoverable reserves close to 3.2 trillion cubic feet.

Scheduled for production start-up in 2023, Kasawari is expected to produce up to 900 million cubic feet of gas per day after ramp up.

This project – Kasawari phase one – will utilise US contractor Honeywell UOP’s acid gas removal technology. This includes the contractor’s MemGuard and Separex technologies — that will be used on the Kasawari production facility. Once constructed, it will rank among the largest offshore gas treatment systems in the world.

Elements of the membrane system will be produced at UOP’s Separex Membrane Manufacturing centre in Penang, Malaysia.

“With its smaller footprint, weight and increased reliability and efficiency in removing contaminants, our modular Separex technology is especially suited to process natural gas for production and power generation in remote locations such as the Kasawari offshore field,” a UOP official earlier said.

He added that this would free up valuable space within the subsea pipelines that bring the gas from offshore to onshore and reduce moving parts which require minimum operator intervention.

Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering in late 2019 started construction at its Pasir Gudang, Johor yard of the 47,000-tonne central processing platform, an 8600-tonne wellhead platform and a flare structure, plus two bridges for the offshore project.

Ahead of first gas from Kasawari, the Malaysian energy giant will likely next year take the final investment decision on Phase 2. Petronas is hoping to achieve start-up from this development phase in the fourth quarter of 2025.

First, but not the last

Kasawari will not be the last CCS scheme offshore Malaysia, according to Petronas executive vice president and chief executive upstream, Adif Zulkifli.

“Once we do this, then there will be a second, third, fourth,” he told Upstream recently.

“I believe going forward we will have a lot of depleted gas fields that can be used as storage for CO2.”

While the addition of CCS will raise Kasawari's capital expenditure, the cost will still be “within the economic fairway and we can make it viable”, Adif told Upstream.

“But the price of not doing CCS is even worse, I think that is the reality.”

Under its own workscope, Xodus will deliver feasibility studies and conceptual design for the Kasawari CCS project.

Xodus' experience with CCS includes designing and operating systems to capture, process, transport, inject and store CO2.

“CCS will be a key part of a global transition to net zero carbon emissions and our international experience and expertise will support Petronas in delivering sustainability across future projects,” said Simon Allison, Xodus’ regional director for Asia Pacific.

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