Gas Expansion

Hawiyah and Haradh: A cornerstone of the Kingdom’s gas program

Historic startup of compression plants, upgrade and expansion of existing facilities boost electricity generation and feedstock production.

Hawiyah and Haradh: A cornerstone of the Kingdom’s gas program

For the past 20 years, the Hawiyah and Haradh fields have been cornerstones of the Kingdom’s gas program, with the aim of supporting Saudi Arabia’s domestic electricity generation needs and providing valuable inputs to feedstocks that power the growth of the domestic petrochemical industry. 


The key to the sustained production at these two facilities are their respective gas compressors — a technology employed throughout production and distribution chains to ensure the transport of fluids to production facilities. 


Aramco’s Southern Area Gas Reservoir Management Department’s sustainability initiatives and proven gains in production led to the advancement of the Gas Compression Project. 

Gas compression 

Gas compression relies on “compressors” that are installed at the beginning of gas processing at the gas plant. Compression has several benefits:


  • It enables wells to produce at greater flow rates, which increases the production of gas
  • It helps to extend the long-term field life of reservoirs by ensuring production is sustained at higher levels for longer periods of time. 

Thanks to the South Ghawar Gas Compression Project, the Hawiyah and Haradh plants aim to increase gas production capacity up to 5.2 billion standard cubic feet per day, which is enough energy to power 8 million households. 


In addition, because gas can be extracted more easily, the South Ghawar Gas Compression plants are expected to extend the target field production for the next 20 years. 

First gas compression plants

The Kingdom’s first gas compression plants — Hawiyah Gas Compression Plant 1 and Haradh Gas Compression Plant 3 — were put online in March 2023, marking a new phase of natural-gas extraction for Aramco. 


By the end of the same year, seven more gas compression plants were on stream: Haradh Gas Compression Plant 4, Ghazal Gas Compression Plant 1, Tinat Gas Compression Plant 1, Haradh Gas Compression Plant 1, Midrikah Gas Compression Plant 1, Haradh Gas Compression Plant 2, and Waqar Gas Compression Plant 1.


The commissioning and startup of the first gas compression plants marks a historic moment in Aramco’s gas business.


The project is the culmination of more than a decade of technical studies, planning, and execution. Robust reservoir simulation modeling and forecasting made the case for the long-term advantages of gas compression. 


The COVID-19 pandemic caused initial delays, but careful project management put the project back on track, and the successful commissioning of the first two gas compressions plants in Hawiyah and Haradh marked a milestone. 

30 fields

In addition to the nine gas compression plants built across an area of 30,000 square kilometers, the project also involves the upgrade and expansion of the existing upstream gas facilities and infrastructure across 30 fields. 


In addition, seven liquid separation stations and onsite water disposal wells are expected to be added, which could potentially increase water handling capacity by 31,000 barrels per day (bpd). 


Additionally, the project is expected to upgrade the water and condensate transporting capacity to 16,000 and 350,000 bpd to the Hawiyah and Haradh plants respectively. Furthermore, a total of 3,700 km of pipelines and over 200 km of roads have been constructed to support the project. 


The Haradh and Hawiyah Gas Compression Program is an example of Aramco’s resilience and commitment to achieving and maintaining excellence in project planning, execution, and commissioning, despite challenges including COVID-19.
— Abdulmohsen A. Al-Mukhaild, senior vice president of Southern Area Gas and Abqaiq Plants Producing

By replacing crude oil with natural gas in the power generation industry, the project could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Hawiyah and Haradh together aim to supply efficient and reliable energy to the Kingdom and the world for generations to come. 


“As Southern Area Gas Compression Project supports prolonging the field life of the reservoirs, it is also expected to provide reliable energy sources in an economical and safe way, with aims to align with the Kingdom’s vision,” said Adnan A. Al Kanaan, vice president of Gas Development.


In addition, the project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Saudis in various fields such as engineering, construction, operation, and maintenance, all while supporting the local economy by creating opportunities for local suppliers and contractors. 

Workforce preparation

Ensuring minimal downtime at the Hawiyah and Haradh facilities while keeping the Gas Compression Project on track required proactive efforts from the South Ghawar Gas Producing Department (SGGPD). Such efforts included deploying new technologies and environmental initiatives, as well as providing extensive training. 


In line with SGGPD’s strategy, department leaders established accelerated training programs for all levels of the department’s workforce – the majority of which is under the age of 30 – to bridge any skill gaps during the project stages and to sustain operations after the start-up. 


The seamless startup of nine gas compression plants in just nine months stands as a testament to robust personnel training and development initiatives, which have been the cornerstone of our success.


Also, the training programs are crucial for preparing the future generation for technical and leadership roles.  


Nurturing potential has not only ensured operational excellence, but has also ignited a culture of innovation, propelling us to new heights in this dynamic gas sector. 

SGGPD initiatives

An overview of SGGPD training programs and knowledge transfer initiatives:


  • Accelerated training: High performing operators were identified for accelerated practical and theoretical training. An accelerated training program prepared young rotating equipment engineers and technicians for pre-commissioning and commissioning activities.
  • Factory Acceptance Test: SGGPD paired young professionals and technicians with senior engineers and instrument technicians to expedite the factory acceptance test for the process control system.
  • OIM and Startup: Young process engineers were engaged to develop operations instruction manuals (OIM) for the nine gas compression plants, incorporating Southern Area Oil Operations guidelines and best practices. 
  • Early mobilization: Foremen, engineers, and supervisors were mobilized early to engage with contractors, participate in the site acceptance test, and enhance the knowledge transfer to a young workforce.
  • Development assignments: PDPs were assigned based on their approved individual development plans. 


Caption for top photo: In Haradh and Hawiyah, the future of the Kingdom’s domestic electricity generation efforts have been realized partly through Aramco’s South Ghawar Gas Compression Project.


You are currently using an older browser. Please note that using a more modern browser such as Microsoft Edge might improve the user experience. Download Microsoft Edge