The Making of Marjan
Marjan: A mega-project unlike any other at Aramco
The project features unprecedented offshore construction, installing the largest platforms, longest subsea cables, and laying complex networks of subsea pipelines.
When Aramco geologists discovered the Marjan oil and gas field in 1967, it was one of six offshore discoveries expanding the company’s inventory of offshore oil fields from two to eight.
Now, nearly six decades later, a significant increment program is well underway, which by 2025 is expected to see the offshore field’s production capacity increased by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 800,000 bpd of Arabian Medium crude oil.
This integrated development project for oil, an additional 2.5 billion standard cubic feet per day of associated and nonassociated gas, and 300,000 bpd of C2+NGL, includes a new offshore gas-oil separation plant (GOSP) known as Marjan GOSP-4, as well as 24 offshore oil, gas, and water injection platforms, and new transfer pipelines.
Oil and gas produced from the Marjan field is piped to the Tanajib complex located about 85 km onshore for further processing. This project also involves the expansion of the Tanajib complex oil facilities, with the addition of a new GOSP and gas plant, a new cogeneration facility, and water desalination plant, in addition to the expansion of the local community to accommodate the growth in manpower.
The Marjan expansion project will allow stabilization and further separation to occur at the new onshore oil plant, and the gas will be compressed offshore, and thereafter sent to the onshore Tanajib Gas Plant for further processing.
13 million bpd
The Marjan program, announced in 2017, is one of three main increments forming part of Aramco’s strategy to increase its crude oil maximum sustainable capacity from 12.0 to 13.0 million bpd.
The other two major increments include Berri (expected to produce 250,000 bpd) and Zuluf (expected to produce 600,000 bpd), with a smaller increment of a potential 75,000 bpd production from Dammam, while the world’s largest offshore field, Safaniyah, is scheduled for a potential 700,000 bpd increment after 2027.
Aramco offshore first
Describing the project as one of the most challenging and complex developments Aramco has undertaken in decades, Northern Area Oil Operations vice president Dawood M. Al-Dawood, and sponsor of the Marjan Increment Program said, “The Marjan increment is critical to Aramco and the sustainability of world energy.”
He emphasized the company’s commitment to supply energy around the globe, saying, “The world relies on us to deliver our commitment.”
Al-Dawood also added, “We will be executing unprecedented offshore construction, installing the largest platforms, longest subsea cables, and laying complex networks of subsea pipelines. All of these are being constructed on top of one of our busiest operational fields.”
He further noted, “This mega-project will introduce unprecedented challenges in logistics and offshore traffic. We deploy the latest technologies, innovative solutions and best-in-class marine and offshore traffic control means to complete the project safely.”
Marjan Increment Project Department manager (A) Khalid Z. Al-Sulaim, said, “This is the first time that offshore and onshore oil and gas production, gas injection and water injection and processing plants are all being developed in one single program.
“Executing mega-size projects is not new for Aramco,” said Al-Sulaim. “We have executed large projects for decades. However, at Marjan, we strive to maximize value by maximizing local content, developing local male and female talent, and increasing the utilization of technology, digital solutions, and innovations,” he added.
One global team
On the project are many motivated work teams located in various parts of the world.
Preliminary studies for Marjan started early in 2017, and the front-end engineering and design was done from offices in Saudi Arabia, the U.K., and the U.S., with many studies and innovative design ideas adapted to reduce cost, complexity, and complete the program to the required schedule.
Engineering design is taking place in Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, and Malaysia, while offshore facility construction is in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, India, China, and Indonesia, before shipping to the Marjan field for final assembly and installation.
Everyone is aware of being part of a bigger mechanism, and on this note, Marjan and Zuluf Development manager Abdullah S. Al-Qahtani, highlighted, “The company values its major contractors and sees them as strategic partners. We have worked together to help overcome the challenging market conditions.”
Health, safety, and environment
In July, the Marjan increment program offshore packages celebrated “20 million safe man-hours.”
Zero on-site incidents reflects a best-in-class safety culture, even during challenging moments such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Abdullah A. Al-Shuraim, senior operations representative for the offshore gas facilities highlighted that, “The safety of every single individual involved, whether in Aramco sites or outside, is our utmost priority. The achievement of over 20 million safe construction man-hours is a remarkable accomplishment and a true testament of everyone’s commitment to safety.”
Innovation contributed to safety, which includes utilizing tower crane zoning systems to limit crane movements by installing programable zone limiting devices that physically prevent the crane from slewing into certain areas.
Smart safety helmet technology, incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, has been helping to make worksites safer by providing live, wireless monitoring and supervision through an array of sensors that promptly identify accident impact and geolocation.
Mansour M. Al-Mutairi, senior operations representative for the Onshore Tanajib Expansion project, said, “Due to the criticality of working in and around live facilities, a construction segregation plan was developed to isolate the majority of the construction activities from the existing running facilities.”
“This will minimize interruption to the existing facilities and alleviate restrictions on the construction zones,” he confirmed.
Caption for top photo: Work on the Marjan Increment Project has been focused and aggressive as Aramco looks to meet global demand while also working to maximize value by using local content, developing local male and female talent, and increasing the utilization of technology, digital solutions, and innovations.