Dubai: Dodsal Engineering and Construction, the UAE-based contractor, has won the $490 million (Dh1,798 million) contract to build sulphur granulation facilities for Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. as part of its $12 billion Shah sour gas field development, a company official said on Wednesday.

"We were awarded the Habshan sulphur granulation [plant] earlier this month — it was about $480 million and $10 million for maintenance; it involves a granulator and pipeline in Habshan," the Dodsal official, who declined to be named due to company policy, said.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract was officially signed and awarded through Adnoc subsidiary Abu Dhabi Gas Industries, or Gasco.

Dodsal is set to start work on the project on January 15, with work expected to last up to 31 months, the official said.

The project is part of the Shah sour gas field development, which is essential to help Abu Dhabi meet gas demand in the emirate, which has surged as the government builds gas-fired power stations, desalination plants and develops industries such as petrochemicals.

The Shah project aims at producing one billion cubic feet a day of sour-or sulphur-rich-gas and stripping out the sulphur and transporting it to processing and export facilities.

Sour gas is highly corrosive and more costly and challenging to process as it requires special handling and infrastructure.

The toxic sulphur will be a by-product from the sour gas development. The new granulation plant, to be located about 16 kilometres southeast of the existing Habshan gas plant complex, will have capacity to process 11,000 tonnes a day of liquid sulphur recovered from the Shah and Habshan onshore gas fields located in Abu Dhabi emirate.

Dodsal's contract also covers construction of storage for liquid sulphur and granulated sulphur among other facilities.

Partial delays

"This plant will be the largest granulator site built in the UAE. It will convert the liquid sulphur to granules and then these will be transported via railway to Ruwais," the official said.

"It has been decided that the sulphur will be transported by rail from Union Railway."

The sour gas field development has faced delays partially due to the question over whether the sulphur will be transported to export facilities at Ruwais on the UAE's Arabian Gulf coast via pipeline or railway.

State-run Union Railway is tasked with developing a 1,100-kilometre railway network across the UAE. Adnoc and Gasco officials couldn't be reached for comment.