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COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No.



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Mannion , M B, & Fidler, M A

Mr, Associate Director, Halcrow,
Mr, Senior Engineer, Halcrow,


BP is seeking to develop a natural gas complex on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. As part of the
development, a harbour was required. At an early stage, the approximate harbour location was identified at an
existing port facility. The possible scales of liquified natural gas (LNG) and liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
production were also determined.

Alternative basin and jetty locations were considered. These looked at a range of possible LNG and LPG
shipping scenarios. Minimising land use was a priority. This impacted on jetty design, possible berth
arrangement, approach and turning circle requirements. Cost estimates were derived, including a risk-based
contingency analysis.

Possible locations were dependent on the interaction of the marine location with on-land process plant
efficiency. A Quantitative Risk Assessment was undertaken, parameters included risk of ship collision,
emissions, and proximity to potential impact areas.

Coastal conditions were numerically modelled to assess the influence of wave disturbance, siltation and
shoreline accretion/erosion on different layouts. Other considerations included the possibility of shipping
delays due to existing port traffic. Use of new layouts by gas carriers was assessed and existing port
operations reviewed, to identify future management needs.

Commercial considerations were a key driver throughout. Advantages and disadvantages of each option were
identified and balanced against the wider impacts of the overall development, to select the preferred
development option.

The paper focuses on the port planning factors involved and how these have been addressed and integrated,
to ensure that the best option is taken forward.


BP Egypt (BP) is seeking to develop a natural gas complex on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. As part of
the development, a harbour was required.

Halcrow was commissioned by BP in June 2000 to undertake a feasibility study of the civil/marine aspects of
a proposed LNG/NGL (natural gas liquids) terminal at Damietta Port on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast.
The study involved conceptual layouts for marine facilities, preliminary design, cost estimates, programme and
construction risk evaluation.

Previous studies by BP had identified Damietta as their preferred export location on the Egyptian
Mediterranean coast. It would benefit from the existing port facilities, compared to the significantly higher cost
of greenfield developments. Alternative locations with high wave exposure and susceptibility to siltation would
involve greater cost and take longer to construct.

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 1 – Satellite image of Damietta Port area


The following marine factors were considered :

· Proposed traffic levels at the facility

· Proposed range of ships
· LNG/LPG carrier characteristics such as manifold position, vessel draft
· Wave disturbance, siltation, tidal currents
· Effect of existing port traffic (risk of delay & ship collision)
· Ease of marine access, allowable downtime, acceptable ship motion
· Constructability, programme duration
· Cost estimates (capital, maintenance)

At the same time, non-marine factors had a large bearing on harbour position and the form of marine facilities.
Marine traffic levels are based on the proposed export volumes for LNG & LPG. The on-land process plant is
preferably located away from habitation, aligned to match prevailing wind directions and with an efficient
layout within the available land plot.

At Damietta Port (Figure 1 & 2), the study focussed on an undeveloped plot of land on the western side of the
Port. Damietta Port was formed in the early 1980’s by dredging out a large port basin with a depth of –14mCD
(ref. 1), protected by long breakwaters and with an 11km long access channel maintained to –15mCD. The
Port has a mix of container, grain and bulk cargo berths. Over 1800 vessels visited it during 2000.

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 2 – Damietta Port existing features


The existing channel is some 11km long and allows one way traffic at a maximum speed of 5 knots. The
channel width provides more than 5 times maximum beam and meets the maximum draft requirement as well.

Early discussions with the Port Authority indicated that LNG/LPG ships would be provided priority access,
thus avoiding expensive ship delays. Traffic simulation was therefore not required.

For future LNG/LPG operation within the port, the pilots will need to become familiar with the handling
characteristics of LNG/LPG carriers, the safety requirements and there will need to be sufficient allowance for
and availability of tugs. For 135,000m LNG carriers, 3 to 4 tugs will be required with a combined bollard pull
of the order of 120 tons.

The existing port turning circle provides an alternative for turning of incoming LNG/LPG carriers.


LNG carriers can vary in capacity from 20,000m3 to 135,000m3. LNG carriers of up to 135,000m capacity
were considered. This meant that an upper envelope of maximum overall length of 300m and beam of 50m
were allowed for (ref. 2). Tug manoeuvring room at either end was set at 125m. A maximum vessel draft of
13.4m was allowed for.
A minimum LPG size of 24,000m was catered for (length 155m, beam 26.5m, draft 11.7m). Critically, it was
decided that the facility should be able to accept a wide range of possible LNG and LPG vessels, rather than
a restricted number of identified gas carriers. Many previous facilities have been designed to suit a limited
number of vessels, however the gas market has an increasing trend in provision of more flexible facilities
capable of dealing with spot trade.
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Initially, a two-phase development was planned, as set out below :

Phase 1 Phase 2
LNG capacity (mtpy) 6.5 13
LPG capacity (mtpy) 0.37 0.74
Ships/year 113 226
Frequency (days) 3.5 1.8
Table 1 : Shipping frequency

This was based on 2 train production of 6,459,000 tonnes/year LNG and 367,000 tonnes/year propane, and
3 3
the use of 135,000m LNG and 70,000m LPG carriers.

Therefore Phase 1 required one jetty, a second would be needed for Phase 2. Each jetty would provide
combined LNG and NGL loading.

At a later stage, the amount of land available to BP and partners at Damietta for development of LNG and
NGL facilities decreased, so that a single jetty was considered.
Basin size depends on a combination of

· Safety distance between jetty manifold and edge of existing dredged channel
· Design vessel length & beam
· Turning circle
· Tug manoeuvring requirements

Safety distance is a key consideration, particularly for LNG cases. The consequences of damage to LNG
carriers is well known, whilst damage to the jetty or loading facilities can have major economic cost impact.
The LNG industry has a remarkable safety record to date.

The fairway between berthed vessels for the two jetty case was kept at least three times beam. The basin
entrance matched the adjacent turning circle, jetty and therefore basin preferred alignment is towards open
sea – to allow rapid exit in case of emergency.
A range of harbour positions was considered, then narrowed down to three options, based on the combination
of considerations given above. These options were then considered in more detail (ref. 3).

Layout 1 (Inset Harbour) is based on a 500m safety distance from jetty manifold position to edge of dredged
channel. The basin is located south of the western breakwater spur, aligned towards NE. It provides less land
for process plant.

Layout 2 (Outer Harbour) is very similar to Layout 1, except that the basin has been moved north so that it is
north of the western breakwater spur. This would give more land, but requires a new breakwater section and
partial demolition of the existing breakwater.

Layout 3 (Layby) reduces the safety distance to 200m, with the jetty or jetties aligned due North. It is cheaper
to build than Layouts 1 or 2, with a different risk profile.

Data necessary for evaluation of the layout options was collected. This included a topographic survey, existing
geotechnical data, a preliminary ground investigation and met data (wind, waves, temperature, currents,
suspended sediment, shoreline change, bathymetry). Materials sourcing, constructability, programme
including permissions were considered, taking account of recent local and regional experience.
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 3 – Layout 1
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 4 – Layout 2 (Outer Harbour)

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 5 – Layout 3 (Layby)

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061


9.1 General
To assist port planning, a preliminary met ocean study was undertaken, following collection of available wave,
water level, sediment and current data (ref. 4, 5). The extent of shoreline change along the northern boundary
was also assessed.

9.2 Wave modelling

Halcrow’s MWAVE wave refraction model takes account of wave diffraction, refraction, breaking and seabed
friction. It transformed offshore data to nearshore positions, for the existing situation and each of the three
layouts. This allowed consideration of wave downtime at each berth and preliminary design of shoreline
protection and (for Layout 2) breakwater amendments.

The results of the wave modelling showed that all three layouts were acceptable. Significant wave height at
the berth was less than 2m for the 1 in 50 year extreme event, for ships alongside. Achieving wave height less
than 1.5m for loading was therefore not a concern.

The most critical direction is for waves from the north west. This illustrates the benefits of the shelter provided
by the existing breakwaters. Design wave heights for shoreline protection were less than 1m south of the
western breakwater spur.

Figure 6 – Tidal modelling output

9.3 Tidal modelling

Halcrow’s DAWN three dimensional hydrodynamic model generated tidal currents inside and outside the Port,
for the existing situation and three options. This assisted assessment of ease of navigation, consideration of
handling characteristics of gas carriers being provided by BP Shipping.
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

The model was then used to consider sediment transport (and therefore siltation and dredging impacts) by
addition of wave driven currents, typical seabed grain sizes and suspended sediment concentration.

Given the limited tidal range at Damietta, it was found that wind generated currents from the north west were
the most significant for navigation, effecting passage at the end of the western breakwater.

The modelling shows that the existing port basin layout is not liable to siltation and that the three layouts will
not alter this pattern. The Port Authority indicates no maintenance dredging to date south of the western
breakwater spur whilst near the end of the western breakwater, maintenance dredging of 1 to 1.5 million
metre cubed is required per annum, in order to maintain the entrance channel declared depth.

9.4 Shoreline change

The shoreline to the west of the western breakwater (i.e. the northern boundary of the development site) is
generally accreting. Since port construction, the northern beach has accreted 9 to 15 metres per year.
Therefore the feasibility study did not allow for shoreline protection on the northern edge of the development.


The risk and consequence of marine collision was assessed for the layouts (ref. 6). The possible marine
hazards during harbour transits and whilst at berth were identified and include grounding, collision (vessel to
vessel) and impact (vessel to object, such as jetty).

The consequence of striking of typical LNG or LPG carriers by existing port traffic (container vessels, bulk
carriers or Ro-Ro vessels) was assessed, for different angles of collision and speeds. Data for a range of
other ports worldwide was used, to make a qualitative assessment for LNG/LPG carriers. The study
highlighted that insufficient data exists on the LNG specific risks.

Layout 3 was deemed to have twice the level of marine risk compared to Layout 2. BP undertook an overall
Quantitative Risk Assessment, taking into account the full range of risks at the site, for each layout.


11.1 Jetty Layout

Due to the range of LNG and LPG ships being considered, six mooring and four breasting dolphins were
recommended. The layout of the jetty and dolphins was based on standard guidance (ref. 7, 8, 9), with the
additional consideration that manifolds will not necessarily be centrally located on the LNG/LPG carriers.

The manifold variation allowed for in this case was +5m to –33m off centre, based on a defined set of possible
vessels. The mooring dolphins must be capable of adequately restraining vessel movement whilst at berth,
taking account of wind, waves and currents. The mooring dolphins would be fitted with quick release

A jetty head of 30m wide by 25m deep permitted space for an LNG/LPG loading platform for loading arms and
associated topside facilities (transfer pipelines, valves, fire fighting equipment, navigation equipment, vessel
access, lighting, services and space for maintenance crane access). The approach trestle width was 15m, the
trestle being short at this location. The distance from LNG berth to top of slope was circa 75m, using the
steepest achievable slopes based on site soil conditions and slope stability.
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 7 – Jetty Layout

11.2 Jetty Design Form

The jetty design is partly dictated by site soil conditions. At Damietta, these typically included a 12m upper
layer of sand (loosely compacted in the top 5m, denser with depth) above compressible Nile clays to circa
30m, with lower layers becoming more competent with depth.

The alternatives can be divided into two main groups, gravity retaining structures and suspended deck

The following gravity retaining options were considered

· Solid blockwork wall (sits on rockfill to spread load, heavy 80 to 100 tonne blocks required)
· Hollow blockwork wall (lighter load)
· Concrete caisson structure (large monolithic structure floated into position)
· Sheet piled cofferdam (interlocked web piles in closed 20m diameter cell, centre filled, high settlement
unless ground treated with surcharging and/or drains)

These rely on self-weight to resist overturning and sliding forces, more suited to sites with competent
foundations (not Damietta).

Suspended deck options were :

· Driven tubular piles (large diameter, hollow, precast, cost competitive over water or in poor soils)
· Prestressed concrete driven (high end resistance, more expensive if two different forms of piling are used)
· Bored cast in situ (more suited to hard ground where other methods are not feasible)
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

This form is more suitable for structures over water or in poor ground conditions. Vertical forces are taken by
end bearing and/or pile skin friction (for Damietta, skin friction predominates). Lateral forces (berthing or
mooring) are typically taken by raking piles.

Of the above, the hollow blockwork, caisson, cofferdam and driven tubular pile options were considered in
detail. The driven tubular pile solution was chosen, considering a combination of cost, technical performance
(particularly settlement criteria) and constructability.


The marine works cost estimates included dredging, site preparation, shoreline protection, and jetty.
Estimates were prepared initially for the three options for two jetties, then later revised to allow for a single
jetty facility.

The option of LPG only jetties was also considered, especially as the NGL facilities would come on stream
earlier than the LNG facilities at Damietta. Such a facility would have lower dolphin loads and therefore
reduced size, also the number of dolphins would reduce. In the end, the focus was on providing a jetty to
serve both needs. For all options, maintenance dredging was not a concern.

The dredging element made up 30 to 60% of the cost, with the jetty typically at 25%. The Layout 2 cost was
roughly double the Layout 3 cost, but did have the advantage of allowing sufficient dredged space for the
future addition of a second jetty.


On comparison of programme, Layout 2 had the longest duration, at 17 months, due to the need to build the
new breakwater section first before dredging and jetty construction. Layout 3 had the shortest duration, at 11
months. The final harbour selection had to take into account the following factors.

· Layout 1 uses too much of the available land and was therefore not favoured

· Layout 2 has a lower marine collision risk, but longer construction programme and higher cost. It provided
greater opportunity for expansion to a second jetty.

· Layout 3 has a higher marine collision risk, but shorter construction programme and lower cost There is
however little room for expansion.

The preferred option for LNG development was Layout 3. Mitigation to reduce marine risk to acceptable levels
included provision of a guard tug. Confirmation of preferred option relied on consideration of integration of
NGL and LNG facilities, balancing commercial considerations with layout risks and consequences, the effect
of mitigation and overall schedules. The preferred option for a combined LNG-NGL facility was also Layout 3.

As of July 2003, due to delays in commercial finalisation of the LNG development, an NGL only option has
been progressed, with a single jetty in the Layout 3 position. For NGL only, the shipping frequency decreases
significantly and therefore the marine risk reduces to an acceptable level. The preferred option for NGL only
development was therefore Layout 3. Halcrow prepared design & build tender documents for a variation on
Layout 3. Dredging and reclamation are in progress, with jetty construction due to commence shortly. Halcrow
are acting as client’s technical advisor. LNG facilities continue to be considered, dependant on commercial
considerations. If progressed, then Layout 2 will be favoured for an LNG focused development. The
opportunity for a combined LNG-NGL facility has now passed.
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 8 – Layout 2 Detail

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

Figure 9 – Layout 3 Detail

COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061

The planning of marine terminal facilities for the export of LNG and NGL can involve a complex mix of
parameters, from ship sizes and projected throughput to jetty location, cost and construction duration. Land-
side process plant layouts and commercial considerations must also be included.

Due to the nature of the investigations required, the provision of a sea berth can often become a critical
activity in the development of an LNG or NGL project, and early consideration of the location and form of the
berth is recommended.

Typical examples of activities with a long lead-time are site investigation surveys and coastal process
modelling, such as wave penetration and sediment movement studies.

Early investigation of the various options for a sea berth can provide the opportunity to devise layouts that are
sympathetic to the natural environmental processes with a view to reducing both construction and
maintenance costs. Typical aims would be the optimisation of breakwater heights and lengths and the
reduction of maintenance dredging. There is also the opportunity to research underlying problems more
rigorously and devise more imaginative and cost effective solutions.

New berths located within existing ports can produce considerable cost savings; however interaction with
existing shipping movements and the division of responsibilities for operations and maintenance should be
clearly agreed between all parties.

The Damietta project illustrates the operational flexibility now demanded by the promoters of such projects. A
facility was designed to accommodate a wide range of both LNG and LPG carriers to respond to changing
market demands and structures, but with the penalty of a marginal increase in capital costs.

[ 1 ] Admiralty Chart No. 2578

[2 ] CLARKSON (1999) ‘The Liquid Gas Carrier Register’

[3] HALCROW (November 2000) ‘Egypt LNG Infrastructure Study. Final Infrastructure Study Report’

[ 4 ] COASTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (2000) ‘Damietta Met Data Report’

[ 5 ] HALCROW (November 2000) ‘Egypt LNG Infrastructure Study. Data Collection Report’

[ 6 ] EAGLE LYON POPE (May 2001) ‘Damietta Draft Marine Risk Assessment’ Report No. ELP-55025-0401-
57008-Rev 0 for BP

[ 7 ] SIGGTO (January 1997) ‘Information Paper No. 14. Site Selection and Design for LNG Ports and Jetties’

[ 8 ] OCIMF (1978) ‘Guidelines and Recommendations for the Safe Mooring of Large Ships at Piers and Sea
Islands’ Witherby & Co. Ltd.

[ 9 ] BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION (1988) ‘British Standard Code of Practice for Maritime Structures –
Parts 1 to 6 – BS6349’
COPEDEC VI, 2003, Colombo, Sri Lanka Paper No. 061


Damietta, harbour, planning, LNG, NGL