• Short Summary

    BRITAIN HAS INVESTED MORE THAN GBP50 MILLION IN A NATURAL GAS PROJECT IN THE SAHARA.?

  • Description

    BRITAIN HAS INVESTED MORE THAN GBP50 MILLION IN A NATURAL GAS PROJECT IN THE SAHARA. THE SITE IS AT HASSI R'MEL IN THE STONY DESERT OF THE NORTHERN SAHARA. THE POINT IS NOT COMPLETELY ISOLATED, GHARDAIA IS THE NEAREST TOWN ONLY 90 KILOMETRES (55 MILES) AWAY. ITS BUILDINGS GROUPED ROUND THE OASIS, IT IS TYPICAL OF THE TOWN IN THIS REGION OF ALGERIA.

    THE HASSI ER R'MEL NATURAL GAS FIELD IS CLAIMED TO BE THE THIRD LARGEST IN THE WORLD AFTER THE PANHANDLE FIELD IN TEXAS AND THE GRONINGEN FIELD IN THE NORTH OF THE NETHERLANDS. THE RECOVERABLE RESERVES OF GAS ARE BELIEVED TO BE SO GREAT THAT IT COULD SUPPLY 100 MILLION CUBIC FEET OF GAS (3 MILLION CUBIC METRES) A DAY FOR ABOUT 1000 YEARS.

    THE METHANE GAS (CH4) IS FOUND AT A DEPTH OF MORE THAN A MILE UNDER HIGH PRESSURE. ITS OWN PRESSURE DRIVES IT UP THROUGH EIGHT BORE HOLES.

    THE GAS IS PROCESSED AT HASSI ER R'MEL TO REMOVE SOME OF THE HEAVIER HYDROCARBONS AND THEN TRANSMITTED THROUGH A PIPELINE, UNDER ITS OWN PRESSURE, TO THE COAST. THE PIPELINE TO THE COAST WHERE THE IMPORTANT PROCESS OF LIQUEFACTION TAKES PLACE.

    THE LIQUEFACTION PLANT AT PORT ARZEW, ALTHOUGH FUNCTIONING NOW, IS NOT COMPLETELY FINISHED. WHEN IT IS, IT WILL BE ABLE TO LIQUIFY 150 MILLION CUBIC FEET OF NATURAL GAS A DAY.

    NATURAL GAS COMING INTO THE PLANT IS FIRST PURIFIED BY THE REMOVAL OF CARBO DIOXIDE (CO2), DRIED, AND THEN LIQUEFIED BY A COOLING PROCESS THAT REDUCES IT TO AN EXTREME TEMPERATURE.

    IT IS THE LIQUEFACTION PROCESS THAT MAKES THE GAS A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS, FOR ON BECOMING A LIQUID THE GAS'S VOLUME IS REDUCED TO ONE 600TH (1/600) PART OF ITS FORMER SIZE, THUS ENABLING IT TO BE ECONOMICALLY TRANSPORTED IN SPECIALLY DESIGNED SHIPS TO PLANTS IN ENGLAND AND FRANCE THAT TURN THE LIQUID BACK INTO GAS.

    THE BRITISH INVESTMENT IS LARGELY IN THE TWO SHIPS "THE METHANE PRINCESS" AND "THE METHANE PROGRESS". BUT BRITAIN IS ALSO PAYING GBP8 MILLION A YEAR FOR THE GAS STREAMING OUT OF THE DEPTHS OF THE SAHARA. ALTHOUGH NATURAL METHANE GAS IS USED IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IT HAS BEEN TRANSPORTED ON SUCH A VAST SCALE IN LIQUID FORM - THE PLANT AT PORT ARZEW IS THE FIRST COMMERCIAL PLANT OF THIS TYPE IN THE WORLD.

    COMMERCIALLY THE GAS LOOKS LIKE BEING A GREAT SUCCESS. EVEN AFTER THE LENGTHY PROCESS OF BRINGING THE GAS TO THE BRITISH HOUSEWIFE, IT CAN STILL BE PUT ON THE MARKET AT 15 PER CENT LESS THAN THE COST OF HOME-PRODUCED GAS. WHEN THE PROCESS IS FULLY OPERATIONAL, IT IS HOPED THAT 10 PER CENT OF BRITAIN'S GAS WILL COME FROM THE SAHARA, PROBABLY BY THE END OF 1965. FRANCE WILL ALSO TAKE SOME OF THE NATURAL GAS SUPPLY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6RZRH6YXWU9LL6Z86H71QBX2S
    Media URN:
    VLVA6RZRH6YXWU9LL6Z86H71QBX2S
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    14/11/1964
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:10:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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