RASGAS IS PROACTIVELY COMMITTED TO THE LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, HAVING DEVELOPED A CORPORATE CULTURE IN WHICH ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IS INTEGRATED INTO ITS PROCESSES AND BEHAVIOURS.
A significant proportion of the country’s energy deposits lie in the shallow waters near the coastline, and development of these offshore reserves is the foundation for the State’s economic future, so RasGas has formed an alliance with the University of Qatar to develop special conservation measures to ensure that all coastal disturbances are temporary and minimal in nature.
In 2011, we completed the seabed survey of the Barzan pipeline corridor and potential relocation sites. This involved documenting any significant ecological changes in the pipeline corridor since the original ESHIA baseline survey in 2008 and confirming coral density estimates and the number of hard corals for potential relocation. Coral habitats were delineated and characterised, and data on oceanographic conditions (such as temperature, salinity, turbidity) was gathered. Locations were assessed for coral relocation, a transplant plan and coral management plan was developed, and recommendations made. Coral relocation was completed in February 2012 and included the creation of man-made reef development to create suitable sites.
Qatar’s marine ecosystems, which include mangroves, coral formations, deep sea coral assemblages and shallow seagrass beds, are highly sensitive. RasGas and its joint venture partners are taking care to make sure that biodiversity considerations are being built into work processes as the new energy resources are developed. Initiatives include a turtle nesting and hatchling survey, a near-shore coral and seagrass baseline study, and an archaeological survey undertaken as part of the project’s environmental, socio-economic and health impact assessment (ESHIA). The ESHIA also included a turtle management plan and a coral management plan.
Complete restoration and rejuvenation of any disturbed areas is a critical aspect of development projects. Scientists from the Scientific and Applied Research Centre at the university have studied the Ras Laffan coastline for several years, providing essential information for the careful pre- and post-construction management of pipelines and other construction projects.
Marine scientists at the University of Qatar have also developed an artificial reef structure for Qatar’s north-east coast. Since 2002, when long-lasting ‘reef balls’ of 150 different sizes were put in place, the reef has attracted many thousands of fish and other marine organisms. One of the sea-creatures that feeds in the rich coastal waters surrounding the reef is the endangered hawksbill turtle – each summer, thousands of baby turtles hatch from eggs buried nearly one metre beneath the sands of northern Qatari beaches. The continued breeding success of the hawksbill turtle on the beaches near Ras Laffan is a direct result of RasGas’ concern for local wildlife.
On dry land, meanwhile, and again in collaboration with the Scientific and Applied Research Centre at the University of Qatar, RasGas is a key supporter of the Al Dhakhira Park project. At Al Dhakhira, naturalists have developed a park on the north-eastern coast of Qatar, filled with indigenous flora and fauna, including some threatened species.
The Barzan Gas Project is strategically important for the long-term development of Qatar. Gas from the new plant will be produced by RasGas from Qatari natural resources in the North Field. Barzan will meet the country’s growing need for clean-burning natural gas, and so will play a vital role in fuelling industrial and human development.
The project will have two development phases, with Barzan Gas Processing Train 1 producing its first gas in 2014, and Barzan Gas Processing Train 2 beginning production in 2015. The two trains will together produce approximately 1.4 billion standard cubic feet per day of sales gas, or the equivalent of 300,000 barrels of oil per day. A high proportion of the Barzan trains’ output will be used by Qatar’s power and water sectors. RasGas is project manager and operator of the development.