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EghtesadOnline: A new single point mooring (SPM) system has become operational off the coast of Kangan County in southern Bushehr Province to boost gas condensate loading capacity and exports via large vessels, the manager of South Pars Gas Field Phase 19 said.

"Very large crude carriers with a capacity to haul up to 320,000 tons can now anchor at the SPM buoy off the coast of Kangan to load condensates and do not need to berth at Bushehr gas export terminal," Hossein Azimi was also quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry’s news service Shana.

Gas condensate is a liquid hydrocarbon that forms in association with natural gas. Although it is extracted from gas fields, condensate is typically classified and marketed as a type of sweet, ultra-light crude oil.

“A 7-kilometer 36-inch subsea pipeline transfers condensates from Kangan onshore gas refinery to the floating buoy, which is then loaded to tanker ships for export,” the official said.

“The SPM was moored to the seabed [at a depth of 50 meters] using mooring arrangement, including anchors, anchor chains and chain stoppers.”

According to Azimi, the new SPM buoy is the fourth installed in the giant gas field and has a loading capacity of 7,000 cubic meters per hour, or close to 170,000 cubic meters per day.

Modern metering systems are being used at the condensate export terminal in Kangan, which makes the facility one of the most advanced of its kind in the Middle East in terms of measurement.

SPM is a floating buoy anchored offshore to facilitate the handling of liquid cargo such as petroleum products for VLCCs. 

Located at a distance of several kilometers from the shore facility and connected using subsea and sub-oil pipelines, SPM facilities serve as a link between the shore-facilities and tankers for loading or offloading liquid fuel and gas cargo. 



Handling Extra-Large Vessels

Referring to the benefits of SPM, Azimi noted that the system makes it possible to handle extra-large vessels, without requiring vessels to dock at the port, which helps save fuel and time.

The offshore-anchored loading buoy has different parts with a specific functionality. Mooring and anchoring system, buoy body and product transfer system are the main parts of SPM.

The part of SPM (buoy body) floating above the water surface has a rotating part that allows the tanker to stabilize at its desired position around the buoy. 

The tanker is usually moored to the buoy by means of a hawser arrangement, which consists of nylon or polyester ropes shacked to an integrated hook on the buoy deck.

SP gas field, which Iran shares with Qatar, covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which (South Pars) are in Iran’s territorial waters and the rest (North Dome) is in Qatari waters. It is estimated to contain large deposits of natural gas, accounting for 8% of the world’s known reserves and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensates.

South Pars has 24 phases, all of which, except Phase 11, are operational. The mega project includes 39 offshore platforms.

SP contains at least 12 trillion cubic meters of gas, of which 2 tcm have been extracted by Iran in the past 18 years.


SPM SP Exports