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Harbouring ambitions

The ADPC is about to award core utilties contracts for the KPIZ

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Tony Douglas says KPIZ will be important in presenting a breadth of opportunities in line with Abu Dhabi's 2030 strategy.
Tony Douglas says KPIZ will be important in presenting a breadth of opportunities in line with Abu Dhabi's 2030 strategy.
The seawater cooling channel extending out into the sea.
The seawater cooling channel extending out into the sea.
The site of a future substation in harbour area.
The site of a future substation in harbour area.

Visions in the GCC tend to come in a supersized format. Mega projects such as the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia testify to the ambition of governments to haul their countries into the modern age by creating vast expanses of infrastructure for industry to develop.

Not to be outdone, Abu Dhabi is similarly seeking to diversify itself away from fossil fuels, using the massive wealth generated from oil revenues to work on its Abu Dhabi 2030 strategy. To facilitate this vision, the Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) has been tasked with building the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah.

The scale of the project is impressive. The first of two phases will be completed in 2012, and comprises of an offshore harbour of 2.7 km2, and an industrial zone (the Khalifa Port Industrial Zone, or KPIZ) of 51 km2. If all goes to plan, Industrial Zone B will add an astonishing 367 km2, the equivalent of 45 875 football pitches, by 2030.

“Abu Dhabi Ports Company plays a fundamental part in the diversification of the UAE’s economy,” says ADPC chief executive officer Tony Douglas. “The Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone particularly will be important in presenting a breadth of opportunities in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 strategy.”

Work on the project is in full swing. So far, the construction of the harbour area has been given the most attention by the developer. Set on an artificial island, 4.5 kilometres from the mainland, it will provide a gateway for UAE imports and exports.

By 2012, it will have a capacity of two million TEUs and nine million tonnes of general cargo compared with 650,000 and 7.5 million at Mina Zayed respectively. By 2030, the aim is to have increased capacity to 15 million TEUs and 35 million tones of general cargo.

Ongoing work includes the shifting of earth from Zone B to Zone A. Al Jaber Transport and General Contracting, and Ghantoot Transport and General Contracting Establishment were contracted to move 40 million cubic metres of to raise the ground level in Area A by 2.5msl.

Seawater cooling
One of the big advantages of locating the industrial zone on the coastline is the ready access to seawater, which can be used for cooling purposes. The KPIZ already has its first tenant, with the Emirates Aluminum (Emal) swelter close to completion. This heated customer would not be able to function without the provision of cooling water.

To harness the cool of the sea, a 1.7 kilometre canal has been constructed. A slender funnel narrowing from 80 meters at the opening to 45 metres at the base, the structure supplies an inner basin through 2.6 meter pipes that are fed by culverts taking in water at four meters deep, the optimal depth.

The Emal smelter, which upon completion will be the world’s biggest, will initially be allocated 45 000 cubic meters per hour, rising to 60 000 once the second stage of the project is complete.

In total, the seawater cooling system will have a capacity of 143 000 cubic metres per day. While the system has been designed, the piping for the rest of the industrial zone has not been constructed yet, as the final structure depends on the requirements of the tenant industries.

Once the industrial zone becomes operational, and the outflows increase beyond a certain point, the ADPC will need to ensure that the used water does not restrict the cooling and water needs of the adjacent Taweelah IWPP power and desalination plant.

To this end, the outflows, which contain high saline levels and can change the temperature levels of the sea around it, will have to be channelled further out to sea.

“We might provide pipes on the seabed, to a diffuser that diffuses water into the sea a further 1.5 kilometres on top of the existing three kilometres. That would be the same distance as the offshore harbour,” says Jurjen Groen, ADPC project manager of the industrial zone.

Utilities
As the groundwork for the project progresses apace, the ADPC has started to focus on the utilities infrastructure needed to service a major harbour and industrial park.

In March, Larsen and Toubro began works for the design, construction, testing and commissioning of an electrical, medium voltage power supply for Phase 1A of the port.

The company’s primary role was to install a 33kV power cable network and three 33kV / 11kV primary substations to provide the main power supply throughout the industrial zone.

Meanwhile, Ed Zublin AG and Al Jaber Transport and General Contracting will be responsible for implementing the site-wide utilities infrastructure, including all of the major electrical, drainage, sewage and potable water networks.

In the pipeline
At the time of writing, the ADPC is in the process of procuring key utilities infrastructure contracts for the first part of the industrial zone.

Area A will be divided into three packages, to be awarded separately. The packages include all core infrastructure work, ranging from roadwork, sewage systems to sea water cooling.

“We are currently in the process of procuring the contracts for the primary road, infrastructure and utilities works in area A,” says Groens.

“So that basically involves work on the roads, utilities, sewage, sea water cooling, and telecoms systems in the primary corridors. We have divided the area into three parts and will be awarding three separate packages, although the contracts will be fairly general in terms of the work involved.”

“We are still going through the bidding stage so we cannot say anything about the costs of the contracts. This will be announced within the next few months,” adds Groens.

The company has committed a total of AED 26.5 billion to Phase A of the project, which encompasses the construction of the first phase of the harbour, and the industrial Area A.

Of this, around AED 13 billion will be spent on the construction of the port. So far, only AED 8 billion already committed and another AED 18.5 billion worth of contracts yet to be awarded.

The ADPC hopes to have a clearer idea about the seawater cooling by mid November, when it will have worked out a phasing plan for the industrial zone. The zone will be populated by industry only gradually, with different types of industry having different cooling requirements.

The industrial zone will be divided into seven clusters, most of which will be mixed to strike a balance between downstream and upstream industries.

In July, the plans for the petrochemical cluster were thrown into disarray when the Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company (ChemaWEyaat) announced it would not serve as the anchor tenant in the KPIZ, looking instead to establish a chemical complex in Ruwais, closer to an oil refinery that provides its energy feedstock.

For the rest of the infrastructure, more certainty exists. The area will need a total of 246km of piping of various sizes, 126 km of cabling, for 33kV and 11kV and a total of 13 33kV / 11kV low voltage substations. The harbour will require a total of 33 low voltage substations.

To cater for the whole complex, Transco has already built a high voltage substation transforming 220kV into 33kV. Once the transmission and distribution and water infrastructure has been completed, it will be handed over to the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) by the ADPC.

The authority will then be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure, for servicing the industrial customers. Adwea estimates that the project requires a capacity of around 750MW, according to an ADPC spokesman.

This would be sufficient to power the port infrastructure, industrial zone infrastructure, construction, projected port tenants and projected industrial zone tenants.

Keen to see its project succeed, the ADPC will be hoping that maximum capacity will be needed sooner rather than later.

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