Iran implements first salt dome project in Mideast

For the first time in Iran and in the Middle East, Dana Energy has been able to carry out a key technical part of a salt dome project near Nasrabad, a village located in the northeast of the central city of Kashan, Iran.

Salt domes are dome-shaped structures in sedimentary rocks, formed where a large mass of salt has been forced upwards. The structures often form traps for oil or natural gas.

“Our experts have been trying to form caverns, which are about 100-200m wide and 60m high, 1200m below the ground level to store gas for the cold season,” said Omid Ameri, head of project engineering in Well Construction, Dana Energy.

“However, before we got to that point, we had to bring out core samples – which included a number of pieces of salt rock – from the 1200m high well we had already drilled in the region,” he further said, adding that the drilling work has been completed now and the samples have been sent to Germany for review and test.

If the German engineers give the go-ahead, Dana Energy will start pumping water into the cavern in the salt layer suitable for storing natural gas. The first injection of gas really is an exciting achievement and a major milestone for everyone involved with the project. Dana Energy is the first Iranian company ever carried out such a project, without it receiving any support from a foreign company, in the Middle East.

“Of course, the Iranian company has received consultations from a German company,” the senior engineer said. “The point is that we managed every risk including the risks of gas pockets, salt water formation and fracture zones, to the well construction work in a project of this kind by our own engineers and technicians,” he added.

As soon as the results of tests arrive from Germany, he said, “Dana Energy will complete the Nasrabad project and then would start drilling more wells across the region.” The results of the test are expected to be out in 6-12 months from now.

The Nasrabad area is believed to have a unique potential, allowing engineers to select one of the three caverns that can be formed in various depths of a well – a privilege that is not necessarily available in other areas, as every well usually has one usable cavern.

In 2014, the National Iranian Gas Company conducted a series of surface surveys in the area as part of its exploration activities. Later, the company awarded the well construction work of the Nasrabad salt dome project to Dana Energy.

Ameri said roughly 65 engineers and experts used to work on the 10 million euro project for about six months, adding that his company subcontracted parts of the project to other Iranian companies.

Around 300,000 cubic meters of natural gas can be stored in each of the caverns once they are fully operational, he concluded.

Interviewee:

Omid Ameri

Head of Project Engineering

Well Construction