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Publication > Issue > Articles

On the waterfront

Summary

Martin Horseman looks at the shiploading facilities for sulphur in the port of Vancouver, BC.

Abstract

One of the strengths of the sulphur industry in West Canada is its access to handling and storage facilities with longstanding experience of bulk product terminal operations. The logistics of getting the sulphur waterborne in large quantities have been a particular challenge to add-on to the long hauls from the railheads in Alberta and British Columbia. The carefully programmed reception of the lengthy unit trains - designed to bolster the economics of the traffic; the large scale of the stockpiling and shiploading installations; and the attention to environmental controls have all played a part in overcoming the difficulties of distance and geography.

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West Canadian sulphur - lots more on the horizon

Summary

Developments in recovered sulphur production in Alberta and British Columbia, plus the prospects for a renewed interest in the potential output from oil sands projects, are surveyed by Martin Horseman.

Abstract

Recovered sulphur produced from oil and gas industry resources in the West Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia has occupied a pre-eminent position in world markets for more than 20 years, and it continues today as probably the most decisive component of the global sulphur situation. On the face of it, this attribution of a market-leading role to the West Canadian product is surprising, given the fact that for many in the energy business the fortunes of what is a low value by-product seem something of a nuisance. And adding to the complications is the logistics disadvantage of production accumulating at such a distance from tidal water - the average haul for exportbound sulphur traffic from the Alberta rail heads to Vancouver, for example, is over 900 miles.

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All 'forms' of sulphur

Summary

An updated list of sulphur forming plants around the world has been compiled by Martin Horseman.

Abstract

The world sulphur industry's capacity to supply its elemental product in a variety of alternative forms to dry bulk sulphur continues to show a steady expansion. The array of formed sulphur products now available - including prills, pellets, pastilles, granules, slates, and flakes - has transformed the handling characteristics of the bulk product during storage and transportation. And the attendant safety benefits in avoiding the type of fire or explosion risk that can arise from sulphur dust build-up during the movement of lump sulphur has strongly reinforced the appeal of these alternative sulphur forms. In addition, formed sulphur products brought with them an extra commercial appeal, of minimising in-plant handling losses, plus the neighbourhood advantages of being much more friendly to the environment.

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Concentration and recovery of nitration spent acids

Summary

The majority of organic nitrations require the use of sulphuric acid or oleum in the nitration acid. The sulphuric acid is not consumed, it is discharged in a diluted contaminated form. Pressures are increasing to reconcentrate and reprocess such spent acids. Colin Evans discusses some of the aspects which must be considered when contemplating acid recovery.

Abstract

The majority of organic nitrations require the use of sulphuric acid or oleum ,in the nitration step. Even in relatively rare nitric acid only nitrations, sulphuric acid is often used as the dehydrating agent to produce 99% nitric acid. The sulphuric acid is not consumed, but is discharged as a contaminated, diluted spent acid stream.

Nitration spent acid traditionally resulted from the manufacture of explosives such as trinitrotoluene (TNT) and nitroglycerine. However, significant quantities of nitration spent acid now arise from the manufacture of dinitrotoluene and mononitrobenzene which are precursors in the production of TDI and MDI respectively for the polyurethane industry. Nitration is also a common feature in the manufacture of intermediates in herbicide and dyestuffs production.

Increasingly, as environmental legislation becomes more stringent, nitration spent acids must be treated and recovered, either for recycle to the process of origin or for use in another process.

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Sulphur recovery from natural gas

Summary

Over the past decade, Gas Research Institute has been involved in the research and development of various aspects of sulphur removal technology from natural gas. Dennis Leppin, Principal Project Manager, Gas Processing, GRI, and Elizabeth Cicchetti, Associate Communications Specialist, GRI, Chicago, Illinois, provide an overview of GRI's current sulphur-related programme.

Abstract

Gas Research Institute (GRI), a not-for-profit research, development, and commercialization organization of the United States gas industry, has been involved in various aspects of sulphur removal technology development since 1985. GRI's mission in this area is to develop processes, products, and technical information that will lower the cost of removing and recovering sulphur from natural gas. In its efforts, GRI is assisted by an advisory group, with industry representatives from Chevron, Amoco, Texaco, Mobil, Shell, UPRC, Unocal, and other key gas producers. The advisors help GRI select projects and keep it informed about critical industry needs. GRI funding for gas processing related research has been approximately $4-5 million per year, with sulphur-related programmes funded at $2-3 million per year of this amount.

Approximately 15% of natural gas exceeds pipeline specifications and needs to be further processed. The natural gas industry in the U.S. spends roughly $100 million each year cleaning up natural gas with high sulphur content. A recent study! indicated that the cost of chemicals in the Lower-48 states for scavenging H 2S (removing less than 100 lbs/day) is approximately $50 million/year.

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Comprimo Users' Sulphur Workshop

Summary

For the first time for several years, Stork Comprimo - one of the leading sulphur recovery plant contractors - invited its customers to a seminar in Amsterdam. Sulphur was invited too, to eavesdrop on the proceedings.

Abstract

Sulphur recovery is one of the most actively and thoroughly discussed areas of process technology, across a whole spectrum of different kinds of meeting, from large, in.... dependently-organized open forums like the Gas Processors' Association conferences, the Laurance Reid Gas Conditioning conference, NPRA meetings and British Sulphur's own series of annual sulphur conferences to selective seminars for invited audiences sponsored and organized by individual sulphur plant contractors. The latter type of meeting was pioneered back in the late 1970s jointly by Comprimo and Western Research and was continued on a regular (and frequent) basis by Western Research. Other leading sulphur plant contractors such as TPA and Parsons have instituted similar periodic events, but it has been some years since Comprimo has taken the stage in the role of sponsor and organizer.

This year Stork Comprimo - as the company has been renamed since Stork bought out the former minority shareholders' interests - made a welcome and successful comeback to the seminar world with its Users Sulphur Workshop, held on 12-14 May at the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel. It was hosted by a team of ten Stork Comprimo personnel and attended by some 75 delegates drawn from oil refiners, gas plant operators and licensed contractors based in Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Qatar, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Those who convened on the Sunday afternoon were rewarded with a 90-minute boat tour, complete with refreshments and snacks, through the historic canals and port area of Amsterdam. It was much enjoyed in spite of a rather overcast sky.

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The Claus revisited - Part 2

Summary

Part 1 of this four-part series on "The Claus revisited" dealt with an introduction to the topic and challenges in preparing the Claus feed(s). It appeared in the July-August 1996 issue of Sulphur (No. 245). In Part 2, J. B. Hyne and B. Gene Goar deal with the Front End Reaction Furnace and its key role in the Claus Process. Several issues involved in the combustion process of the Claus thermal stage are discussed, such as: (1) design considerations, (2) optimization, (3) measuring and monitoring the operation, (4) oxygen enrichment, and (5) ammonia destruction.

Abstract

Part 1 of this four-part series on "The Claus revisited" dealt with an introduction to the topic and challenges in preparing the Claus feed(s). It appeared in the July-August 1996 issue of Sulphur (No. 245). In Part 2, J. B. Hyne and B. Gene Goar deal with the Front End Reaction Furnace and its key role in the Claus Process. Several issues involved in the combustion process of the Claus thermal stage are discussed, such as: (1) design considerations, (2) optimization, (3) measuring and monitoring the operation, (4) oxygen enrichment, and (5) ammonia destruction.

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