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

The Arabian Gulf; powerhouse of the future?

Summary

Nitrogen begins a two-part look at the nitrogen and methanol industries in the Arabian Gulf by focusing on the region's plentiful gas supplies.

Abstract

The world is currently facing a glut of crude oil. OPEC's share of the world oil market is falling, despite quota-breaking by many of its members. Producers are now faced with the prospect of Iraq returning to the world oil market, if only to sell a limited quantity to pay for humanitarian aid, and a consequent crash in oil prices towards $12 Ibarrel or even less. For this reason, many oil producers, particularly in the Middle East, have begun to look towards natural gas to recover their share of the global market for petrochemicals and as a hedge against the risk of an oversupplied, depressed oil market.

Global demand for gas continues to grow at a rapid rate. Consumption has virtually tripled since the mid-1960s, and has increased at an average of 3% per year for the past decade, even during periods of recession. Much of the new demand is coming from the fast-growing economies of Asia, particularly for power generation, while in the industrialised world gas is seen as cheap and clean com- _ pared to coal, fuel oil and the tarnished reputation of nuclear power.

Add to basket


Technology for tomorrow

Summary

The 8th Stamicarbon Urea Symposium took place from 6 to 9 May in Amsterdam. The event attracted over 170 delegates and provided a forum for the discussion of Stamicarbon's latest process developments, culminating with the launch of the new Urea 2000plus™ process.

Abstract

Stamicarbon has shown its commitment to remaining the world leader in urea process licensing with the launch of its new Urea 2000plus™ process at the recent 8th Stamicarbon Urea Symposium. Some 170 clients, contractors and key equipment suppliers from over 30 countries gathered in Amsterdam from 6-9 May to hear about the latest process improvements to the Stamicarbon CO2 stripping process and to share recent operating experiences. In total 29 presentations were given, 20 of which were authored by Stamicarbon clients, contractors or suppliers. The first two days, chaired by P. F. Hylarides (Vice President, Stamicarbon), were devoted to a wide variety of subjects. Bernard Brentnall, Chairman of British Sulphur Consultants, set the scene prior to the technical presentations by providing a world outlook for urea investment to the year 2000. The third day was reserved for the main highlight of the event, the unveiling of Stamicarbon's new urea process.

Add to basket


ICI experience in methanol - Part 1

Summary

In the first instalment of this two-part article, Keith Mansfield* describes the events and discoveries which led to the development of the low pressure methanol synthesis process.

Abstract

A lthough ICI was one of the first producers of synthetic ammonia and methanol, credit for the initial development of both of these processes goes to the German chemical company, IG Farben. The synthetic ammonia process was developed by it in Germany under the stimulus of the blockade imposed by the Allies in the First World War. This generated the experience with high pressure, high temperature processing which then allowed methanol synthesis to follow in train.

In 1923, IG Farben introduced the first catalytic process for methanol at Ludwigshafen in Germany. ICI commenced production at Billingham in the North East of England shortly afterwards. A second plant was later built by ICI at Heysham in the North West of England. These plants used the classical high pressure process with a catalyst consisting of the mixed oxides of zinc and chromium. The shortcomings of the high pressure process are largely due to the low activity of the ZnO/Cr203 catalyst. This makes it necessary to use a reaction temperature in the range 300-400°C. For thermodynamic reasons, high pressure (in practice about 350 bar) is then needed to permit reasonable conversions to be obtained. However, this high pressure process served the world's methanol producing industry for over 40 years, with hardly any change to the catalyst composition.

Add to basket


Revamping: apt response to India's energy problem

Summary

With feedstocks scarce and electricity even scarcer, Indian ammonia producers can ill afford the luxury of .any unnecessary inefficiency. But capital for replacement plants is also hard to come by. Revamping is an economical and therefore popular expedient, even in relatively new plants.

Abstract

Given a free choice between the feedstocks based on fossil fuels, there is probably not an ammonia producer in the world who would not elect for natural gas. The hardware for natural gas-based steam reforming is more compact (and therefore cheaper), more easily operable and more reliable than that for any other feedstock. The process is inherently more efficient in terms of total energy consumption, and it discharges less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per tonne of ammonia than any other. Except for the occasional charge of spent catalyst, there are no solid wastes to contend with, while (on account of the small number of contaminants in the feedstock, liquid effluents are the least complex and are, therefore, relatively easy to deal with. With such an array of advantages, it would take a very high natural gas price to tip the decision in favour of any other feedstock.

But that assumes that natural gas is easily available. Although most countries have discovered and developed sizable natural gas resources, there are one or two notable exceptions which either appear to possess no useful amounts of gas or have been slow to develop it. One such is India.

Add to basket