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Vancouver a good vantage pint

Summary

Canada's west coast commercial capital proved to be a successful venue for the Sulphur 96 International Conference 'and Exhibition staged by British Sulphur Publishing in October. Some highlights of the four-day gathering are recalled in this report of the proceedings.

Abstract

The Sulphur 96 conference held at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, Be on 20-23 October was certa~y one of the most successful sulphur meetings that British Sulphur has ever held. The statistics tell the story of a memorableevent in the series of sulphur industry gatherings; there were over 330 delegates registered from 35 different countries, and a very substantial total of 44 papers was presented in the course of three days. In fact, the level of interest in presenting papers at Sulphur 96 was so large that the conference had to move into parallel working for the second day in order to achieve the required number of eight half-day sessions. But before the presentations got underway there was a chance to renew acquaintances during the registration process, and while visiting recogthe adjacent exhibition in the foyer of the hotel's ballr<2:0m. Sixteen companies brought their hospitality stands to the exhibition and took the opportunity to talk to visitors against corporate backdrops supported by the latest in company videos, still photographic displays and hand-out literature.

And the process of catching up with old friends continued during the eve of conference reception sponsored by the organisers. The party ran well past its scheduled timing and the cordiality of the-occasion set the tone for what was to be several engaging days of talk and discussion.

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Venezuela adds to sulphur volumes

Summary

It is 20 years since the creation of a nationalised oil industry in Venezuela and the formation of the state oil company, Petr61eos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA). But the 1990s have seen a renewed interest in investment from private sector sources at home and overseas; and the recent assembly of several joint venture oil and petrochemical projects has ,underlined the country's ambitious plans for its hydrocarbon resources. ~ All this activity, reports Martin Horseman in this update story, will reinforce the scale of Venezuela's growing sulphur industry, which has recorded some notable capacity additions this year.

Abstract

Heavy and extra heavy crudes with significant sulphur contents make up a substantial proportion of Venezuela's enormous oil reserves, which are reckoned as the largest in the world outside the Middle East and the Former Soviet Union. The country's p'roven reserves of crude oil amount to some 65 billion barrels of which about 75% is classified as extra heavy (0-9.9° API gravity) or heavy (10.0 - 21.9°).

This resource pattern places importance on the ability of the domestic refining industry to produce lighter fractions from the predominantly heavy feedstocks, and to meet tighter regulations on fuel quality in export markets by ensuring the required degree of sulphur removal takes place.

The inventory of energy assets is boosted by estimated gas reserves of over 130 trillion ft3 ; and an almost untouched reserve of more than 250 billion barrels of bitumen and extra heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt away from the traditional oilfield areas. The Orinoco crudes, now the focus of several joint venture production projects, are likely to be major sources of future sulphur production. In addition, these heavy crudes and their contained sulphur feature in the boiler fuel product known as Orimulsion - an emulsion of bitumen in water.

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Thec Claus revisited - Part 3

Summary

Part 1 of this four-part series on "The Claus Revisited" dealt with challenges in preparing the Claus feed(s). Part 2 dealt with the front end reaction furnace and its key role in the Claus Process. In Part 3, J.B. Hyne and B. Gene Goar deal with the waste heat boiler and catalytic converters, and their essential roles in the process.

Abstract

Part 1 of this four-part series on "The Claus Revisited" dealt with challenges in preparing the Claus feed(s). Part 2 dealt with the front end reaction furnace and its key role in the Claus Process. In Part 3, J.B. Hyne and B. Gene Goar deal with the waste heat boiler and catalytic converters, and their essential roles in the process.

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Gasification: Solving the problem of sulphur-containing oil residues

Summary

Economic and regulatory pressures on refineries and utility producers around the world have prompted a surge in interest in gasification. A trend is emerging for crude oil refiners to gasify surplus residues for clean power production. Lisa Connock reports.

Abstract

Current and prospective legislation in the USA, Europe, and the Far East will require significant reductions in sulphur dioxide emissions from the combustion of heavy fuels. It is becoming increasing unacceptable to burn heavy fuel oil without expensive flue gas treatment to meet environmental standards. Consequently, demand for low-sulphur fuel oil is expected to increase significantly and highsulphur fuel oil demand will steadily decline as environmental pressures eliminate markets. At the same time, forecasts indicate that worldwide crude oil supply will become increasingly heavy and more sulphurous. As a result of these developments, refiners need to invest heavily to meet expected product demand and quality.

New environmental restrictions will continue to reduce the value of heavy, high sulphur hydrocarbons and eliminate many current means of waste disposal. For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to dispose of heavy sulphur rich oil residues in heavy (bunker) fuel oil.

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Shell's new sulphur degassing process

Summary

Stork Comprimo and Shell have together successfully improved the Shell sulphur degassing process. The original basic concept of one stripping column has been replaced by two columns with separation baffles. A patent application has been filed. The new concept allows for a large number of design variants.Tests have proved that the residence time can be reduced by one third which permits the use of a small sulphur degassing vessel or sulphur pit. Consequently the capital expenditure for the equipment can be reduced significantly for units larger than 50 tId. The essential simplicity of the process has been maintained: it does not use a catalyst and has 'no moving parts.

Abstract

The Shell sulphur degassing process, now 20 years old, has been installed in more than 120 units located in refineries and gas plants ranging in capacity from 5 tid to 4,000 tid.

The process removes hydrogen sulphide and polysulphides (H2Sx ) from liquid sulphur produced by the Claus process, leaving a residual content of less than 10 ppm by weight (ppmw) H2S. It is well known that dangerous amounts of hydrogen sulphide may build up around sulphur that has not been ,degassed as a result of the decomposition of the hydrogen polysulphides to hydrogen sulphide and sulphur during storage, transport or handling.

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