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

Phosacid alliances develop in the Maghreb

Summary

The launch of its latest joint venture to produce phosphoric acid further strengthens Morocco's pivotal role as the leading demand market for brimstone and as a key supplier of intermediates to the world's phosphate fertilizer industry. Chris Cunningham reviews OCP's latest expansion projects.

Abstract

Other countries may eventually surpass Morocco to claim the title of world’s leading individual destination for sulphur exports. But the North African centre of phosphoric acid production is set to maintain a lead role in the development of Africa as the biggest growth market for brimstone exporters in the early years of the century.

Work in progress and planned expansion by Moroccan parastatal Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) at its Jorf Lasfar and Safi production sites is expected to add around 750,000 tonnes of sulphur demand to a (4Q 1999) level of 2.5 million t/y. With an estimated 300,000 t/y of extra sulphur consumption due on stream in Senegal and further likely demand in South Africa, the continent’s potential is emerging rapidly.

For its part, OCP has completed a year of expansion, despite ripples of uncertainty that have tipped the global balance of fortunes in the phosphates business. Although Morocco, together with neighbouring Tunisia, is the world’s biggest resource of phosphate rock, and OCP is the leading producer of phosphoric acid, industry in the Maghreb has not been content with its established role as a supplier of raw materials and intermediates.

Add to basket


Sterlite improves its acid quality

Summary

Sterlite Copper, Tuticorin, India has been producing premium quality acid from its copper smelting operation since April 1999. The new grade has purity levels equivalent to sulphur-based acid. New technology has been installed to reduce the NOx levels in the acid, thereby producing an acid quality which meets the requirements of the sulphonation industry. Satish Kumar, Senior Process Engineer, at Sterlite Copper's sulphuric acid plant, discusses the the journey which led to a breakthrough in improving Sterlite's acid quality.

Abstract

Sterlite Industries India Limited, a multifunctional and multi-locational group, focuses its attention mainly on the strategic business areas of telecommunications and non-ferrous metals. Sterlite’s copper smelter which has a production capacity of 100,000 t/a copper is one of India’s largest and most modern copper smel­ters. Sterlite Industries’ main pro­ducts are continuous cast rods, telecom cables, optic fibre cables and aluminium sheet. The smelter has some inherent advantages such as lower operating costs and low capital investments. In addition to its core business – the production and refining of copper from primary concentrates – Sterlite also produces and markets major byproducts from copper production. The production plant is located in the ­immediate vicinity of the city’s harbour, about 10 km from the city. Because of its close proximity to the city, the ­implementation of pollution control measures were given priority from an early stage.

The salient features of Sterlite Copper are:

  • 100,000 t/a copper smelter
  • 350,000 t/a sulphuric acid plant
  • 100,000 t/a phosphoric acid plant
  • 460 t/d oxygen plant
  • A zero discharge effluent treatment plant.

 

Add to basket


Sulphur forming

Summary

Sulphur's survey of recent and upcoming installations of sulphur forming equipment.

Abstract

Sulphur forming is about as far downstream as you can get in the oil and gas processing industries. Hence our snapshot of new and imminent installations of forming equipment is a valuable indicator of regional ambition in the primary energy industry.

Of more direct interest, it is a record of new stocks of sulphur-for-trade on their way – or soon to be on their way – to the dockside.

Add to basket


Improving sulphur plant performance

Summary

New and improved process technologies, catalysts and advanced process control all play an important role in the optimisation of sulphur plants for better plant ­performance and ­enhanced sulphur recovery efficiencies. Lisa Connock reports.

Abstract

The “ideal” sulphur recovery efficiency capabilities for the modified Claus pro­cess are approximately 99% for three-stage plants and 97.5% for two-stage plants. Unavoidable losses will slightly reduce actual recovery efficiencies but true recovery efficiency capabilities are still significantly higher than those ­traditionally expected throughout the industry.

Based on the analysis of numerous detailed sulphur plant tests, Sulphur Experts has deduced that the potential causes of recovery efficiency losses can be divided into seven categories:

  1. Poor reaction stoichiometry
  2. Catalyst deactivation
  3. Operating the first converter too cold
  4. Operating the second and third converters too hot
  5. Bypassing gases around the conversion stages
  6. High final condenser temperature
  7. Liquid sulphur entrainment

Left unchecked, any one of these categories is capable of causing a significant reduction in sulphur plant efficiency.

This summary can be used as a simple checklist by sulphur plant operators and engineers to determine the potential efficiency losses in their own facilities, and conversely the potential for optimisation of recovery efficiency.

Add to basket


Tampa's solid option

Summary

Phosphate fertilizer producers' plans to build a solid sulphur remelt facility in Tampa signal major changes to the Gulf Coast's brimstone market. Chris Cunningham sifts through the detail of a new venture and some of the issues arising.

Abstract

It may be a little early for an obituary, but the future health of North America’s last Frasch mine has ­become the subject of particularly ­intense speculation. News in mid-December that two dominant names in the American phosphates industry – IMC Global and Cargill – had announced their intention to form a sulphur-remelting joint venture has turned the industry’s thoughts towards the medium-term future of Freeport-McMoRan’s Main Pass 299 mine, offshore Louisiana.

Relatively expensive production of sulphur from Main Pass is the ­established vector for the high prices paid by Florida’s phosphate producers on a market dominated by the mine’s owner.

The issue raised by the proposed sulphur remelting site is the likely downward pressure it will bring to bear on the market. The economics of production at Main Pass are widely believed to be on the margins of feasibility. It may not take too much pressure for the mine to follow its recently-closed onshore cousin, Free­port’s Culberson mine, into oblivion.

Add to basket