BC Insight - Nitrogen+Syngas, Sulphur, Fertilizer International
Login
BCInsight Ltd
China Works
Black Prince Road
London, SE1 7SJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

Publication > Issue > Articles

Finding the best solution

Summary

The use of alkanolamine based solvents for the selective removal of H2S from acid gas streams is commonplace and well established in the oil refining and gas processing industries. The current range of commercially available formulated selective solvents can be applied in grassroots plants to reduce investment and operating costs and in retrofits to debottleneck and improve H2S removal. New trends in amine treating applications include offshore H2S removal and acid gas removal for re-injection. Lisa Connock reports on the latest trends and developments.

Abstract

The removal of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and other undesirable compounds is an essential processing step in petroleum refining, natural gas production, petrochemical operations and power generation. Conventional H2S removal technology comprises scrubbing processes with regenerative amine or physical solvents, direct liquid oxidation processes, catalytic conversion, chemical or physical adsorption and non-regenerative H2S scavenging with liquid solvents or metal oxides.

Of the many gas sweetening processes available, the majority utilise circulating regenerative aqueous alkanolamine based solvents (amines), which absorb the gas stream target contaminants. Amine solvents are alkaline and therefore sweetening tends to result in the absorption of other acidic gas stream contaminants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), in addition to H2S.

Over recent years the technologies for gas sweetening with amines have become more sophisticated with major advances in the development of more selective solvents. There are many industrial applications where the removal of H2S from the process gas stream is the only objective. For example, in gas streams with low ratios of H2S to CO2, such as Claus plant tail gas, acid gas enrichment and many natural gas production streams, selective H2S removal offers many commercial and environmental benefits. In grassroots units, selective solvents can lead to substantial investment and operating cost savings. In retrofit situations they can be used for debottlenecking and better H2S cleanup.

Add to basket


Japanese sulphur

Summary

Supply of elemental sulphur from Japan is almost entirely linked to the country's oil refining industry. With refiners entrenched in cost cutting and the wider economy locked into recession, production and export of Japanese sulphur is under pressure.

Abstract

Until seven years ago a correlation in any sulphur export market could hardly be closer than that between Japanese supply and Chinese demand. This was an apparently closed market, albeit based on a thenmodest Chinese phosphate fertilizer industry taking a small fraction of Japanese sulphur production.

Whilst imports from Canada and the Middle East have leapt dramatically since 1996, the growth of sulphur supply from China’s traditional source, Japan, has been steady at best, because export availability of elemental sulphur from Japan is largely limited to domestic oil refining capacity. This availability is in turn defined by a balance between domestic demand for oil products and sulphur. And both remain suppressed by a continuing downturn in the Japanese economy.

The closely linked supply of sulphuric acid from Japanese and Korean non-ferrous metals producers to Chinese phosphate producers has recovered and grown recently – at the cost of limited supplies to other regional markets – but sulphur supply to China has approached stasis.

Add to basket


Kyoto debate makes Canada sour

Summary

When major development of sulphur-rich energy resources hits political problems, production and trade in the by-product is also thrown into uncertainty. Chris Cunningham reports on a heated debate over greenhouse gases and the oil sands industry.

Abstract

The leases are sold, official permits are emerging, the first sulphur removal unit is in place; the next and much bigger phase of Canadian oil sands development is ready to roll.That was the apparent certainty behind what is scheduled to become one of the world’s major sources of ‘new’ oil and sulphur - until late August arrived.

Not entirely unexpectedly, premier Jean Chrétien then chose as Canada’s lead story for the Earth Summit in Johannesburg an announcement that the country would, before the end of the year, ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It is four and a half years since Canada signed the protocol which has since been ratified by the European Union and Japan.The US, famously, and Australia have declined to join in, whilst Russia’s position is still unclear. If Russia did join the “yes” vote, then countries accounting for more than 55 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 would have signed up and Kyoto could become a formal international treaty.

Add to basket


Sulphur on the agenda in Rome

Summary

The Eternal City of Rome was the chosen venue for the joint Parsons E&C and Siirtec Nigi seminar on sulphur treatment in gas processing, which took place in September. Sulphur was invited to take part. Lisa Connock reports on some of the key technical and commercial issues discussed at the event.

Abstract

Aprominent group of more than 80 professionals involved in the gas processing industry assembled at the Grand Hotel Ritz in Rome on 25 September 2002 to attend a seminar on Sulphur Treatment Related to Gas Processing. The seminar was jointly organised by Parsons E&C and Siirtec Nigi with guest speakers from ExxonMobil, BOC and Prosernat.The meeting was conveniently timed to precede the GPA’s European conference.

Amer Sarssam of Technology Services Company chaired the day’s proceedings with welcoming comments by Adalberto Bestetti, President of Siirtec Nigi. The agenda comprised eight presentations on key technical and commercial issues relating to sulphur in gas processing. The programme provided a mix of technology applications, operator experience and commercial comparisons with ample time provided after the presentations for discussions. Selected highlights of the seminar are discussed below.

Add to basket


What future for oil, gas and sulphur?

Summary

At September's World Petroleum Congress 2002 the hydrocarbons industry considered its future. Jim Hyne went down to Rio de Janeiro to sift the conference's ideas for portents for the sulphur industry.

Abstract

As part of the WPC 2002 programme, M.J. Groeneveld of Shell gave a review and forecast paper entitled “Will the Carbon Age (Oil and Gas) Terminate Before Depletion of Reserves?”.

This is an interesting question for all sulphur users because they have become so dependent on elemental sulphur recovered from oil and gas refining that when that process stops it will have a mighty impact on sulphur supply. Even when it begins to slow down, will there be a need to revitalise the Frasch mines of the world?

Well, fear not: Shell assured its Rio audience that the demise of the Carbon Age was not at hand. Mr Groeneveld recognised the role that wind and solar and biomass and all the other ‘renewables’ might play in future energy supply, but oil and gas would continue to flow even though much of it might come from places on earth over which the developed world has less and less domain.

Add to basket