Introduction

 

On the 17th of December 1979 His Highness Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the late Amir of Bahrain, inaugurated the Associated Gas Project marking a major step in the Government of Bahrain’s determination to use energy effectively.  The primary objective of this project was to use the large quantities of associated gas extracted from the Bahrain Oil Field, which for more than 40 years, had previously been wasted.  Now this valuable natural resource, through maximum utilization, produces a substantial contribution to the National Economy and has created employment opportunities for the national workforce.

The Project was incorporated as the Bahrain National Gas Company B.S.C. (BANAGAS), 75% owned by the Government of Bahrain with the remaining 25% equally owned by the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation and Caltex Bahrain, now Chevron Bahrain.  At a cost of US$100 million the project included the construction of four gas compressor stations, a processing plant to recover Propane, Butane and Naphtha, and a storage area at Sitra.

It was a historic event for Bahrain when the Japanese tanker “Yuyo Maru” was loaded with the first shipment of 5,000 metric tons of Butane in March 1980.  Since then, the Company has continued to produce products conforming to the highest international specifications.

Due to a substantial increase in the quantity of associated gas extracted from the Bahrain Oil Field during subsequent years, an Expansion Project was launched in 1988 to upgrade plant processing capacity from 170 to 280 MMSCFD.  The Project, which was implemented by the Government of Bahrain as a sole venture, involved construction of two additional compressor stations and a new processing train at the Central Gas Plant. The Project was commissioned in October 1990.

In 2003, another compressor station was constructed as part of the Project to process additional quantities of associated gas, as well as propane and butane-rich refinery off gas under an agreement with the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO).

In 2008, the Project was converted into an independent company, the Bahrain National Gas Expansion Company S.P.C., solely owned by the Oil and Gas Holding Company (Nogaholding).

In September 2011 an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreement for a new Compressor Station including gas gathering and transmission lines was signed between Banagas and JGC Gulf International Ltd.

In October 2011 the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation sold its stake in Banagas to Boubyan Petrochemical Company (K.S.C).

At the Central Gas Plant LPG is recovered from the gas and Propane, Butane and Naphtha produced through fractionation.  Propane and Butane are transported to the Storage area at Sitra and stored in refrigerated LPG tanks for onward export to various parts of the world while Naphtha is transferred to the Bahrain Refinery (BAPCO) for storage and onward export mainly to Asia.

The residual lean gas, mainly methane and ethane, is routed to Aluminum Bahrain, the Bahrain Refinery and Electricity Directorate’s Riffa Power Station to be used in operating their gas turbines after meeting the Company’s own fuel gas requirements.

With the exception of a small quantity of propane supplied to the local market all our products are exported.  Each year an international tender is issued and award make under a sealed bid process.  A specialist in-house team handles the tender process and logistics support, from scheduling of vessels to provision of documentary instructions.

When the Company first started operations Bahraini personnel represented 48% of the total workforce.  However, in line with the Company’s policy to create an efficient and highly skilled national workforce, vigorous development and training programmes were implemented.  At present the Company employs just under 500 people, 94% of which are Bahrainis.

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