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Russia's nitrogen and methanol industries

Summary

The past few years have been a period of considerable change in the Russian nitrogen and methanol sectors, as the gas market within the country changes, and the nitrogen and methanol industries adapt to new market conditions and revamp or close ageing plants. Nevertheless, Russia is and looks set to remain a major player in the world ammonia and methanol industries.

Abstract

Russia remains the largest reservoir of gas in the world. It had proved reserves in 2004 of around 48,000bcm, representing around 27% of all gas on the planet. Gas production in 2004, meanwhile, was 589 bcm, giving Russia a reserve: production ratio of over 80 years. Most (about 85%) of this gas production comes from the Timen region, but reserves are actually mostly further east. Gas production bottomed out between 1997–2001, and following new investment in infrastructure has begun to grow from that point. It is currently continuing to increase year on year, at about 1.5–2.0%, and is projected to reach pre-fall of communism levels of around 640bcm per year by 2010.

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Keeping it cool

Summary

Large scale ammonia storage is generally conducted in refrigerated tanks at or just below atmospheric pressure. Here Nitrogen & Methanol looks briefly at some of the issues involved in the storage of ammonia.

Abstract

Ammonia is produced in a continuous process but it is transported in batches – sometimes, as in cargo vessels, quite large batches. As a result there is always going to be a need for storage facilities at both production sites and major shipping ports. Furthermore, as a gas with a low boiling point, storage of ammonia as a liquid requires either pressurised vessels or refrigeration. However, major shipping points need to store extremely large volumes; typically 10–60,000 tonnes of ammonia at a time. The maximum practical volume for a pressurised storage vessel is about 1,500 tonnes. As a result, it is most practical to store large volumes of ammonia in low (usually atmospheric) pressure refrigerated storage tanks, where large volumes can be contained in a single tank. Refrigeration helps keep the pressure low, and conversely low pressure helps to keep the temperature low.

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