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Degradable S enhances micronutrient action

Summary

Having developed a range of sulphur bentonite granules for direct application, the North American company Tiger-Sul has turned its attention to harnessing the sulphur nutrient to improve the performance of micronutrients. The results to date are encouraging.

Abstract

The review of the applications of sulphur in agriculture (Later than we think? Sulphur No. 309, Jan/Feb 2007) noted that Tiger Industries/Tiger-Sunbelt Industries (Tiger-Sul) is the leading North American producer of pastilled sulphur bentonite, which its sells under the brand-name of Tiger 90. As well as being the largest manufacturer of degradable sulphur, Tiger-Sul sells a combination product of micronutrients with added S under the Envirosul® brand-name.

Tiger-Sul pioneered sulphur bentonite drop forming technology in the 1980s for agricultural use, and the company today operates two plants, one at Calgary, Alberta and the other at Atmore, Alberta. A third facility is currently under construction near Johannesburg, South Africa, as part of a licensing agreement with the local company, Chemical Initiatives.

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Beware of a bigger surplus

Summary

The recent tightness in global sulphur supply now appears to be coming to an end as gains in production forecast in the years ahead, particularly from natural gas, will significantly exceed expected demand growth. Mike Kitto, British Sulphur Consultants, explains the basis for these forecasts.

Abstract

Earlier forecasts pointed to a surplus in sulphur supply in the near term, which would change to a deficit after 2010, due to the increased use of acid gas re-injection technology, strong demand for sulphur in China, and the new use of sulphuric acid for extracting nickel. These forecasts have now been revised, and the latest indications suggest that the surplus of sulphur will continue beyond 2010 and at a near-term higher peak than had been originally forecast of 3.5 million tonnes globally, and 2.5 million tonnes after 2010. The factors behind these revised forecasts are explained below.

World sulphur production in 2005 totalled 71.4 million tonnes S/S-equivalent. Most output is in the form of by-product ­material from hydrocarbon processing operations and base metals smelters, of which recovered sulphur from oil and gas processing comprises 65% of the total. (Fig. 1) Volun­tary production in the form of the deliberate mining of elemental sulphur and pyrites provided just 9% of total output in 2005. Sulphur markets remain characterised by an imbalance between production and demand, total output having exceeded consumption in every year since 1992. Indeed, historically, there is minimal correlation between sulphur production and consumption.

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North America faces a nickel-plated future

Summary

Mining and metal refining in North America has experienced a period of plant start-ups and closures, along with major changes in ownership. Here we consider the developing shape and potential market impact of future supplies of sulphuric acid in the region.

Abstract

The production of sulphuric acid accounts for around 90% of world sulphur-in-all-forms (SAF) use, the vast majority of acid being produced on site for captive use. An ­increasingly significant component of internationally traded sulphuric acid is by-product ­material from base metal smelters, produced as a means of reducing SO2 emissions. In 2005, the base metals in­dustry produced around 49.7 million tonnes H2SO4 as a by-product. Most of this comes from copper smelting, but zinc, nickel, lead and molybdenum smelting are also important.

Smelter acid represents approximately one quarter of total new sulphuric acid production. In 2005, this is estimated to have totalled 192 million tonnes, of which around 109 million tonnes were produced from brimstone, while pyrites and mined sulphur provided 16 million tonnes of acid, and recycled product just under 2 million tonnes. Table 1 shows the estimated global production of sulphuric acid in 2005.

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ASRL Review

Summary

Technology for utilisation of excess sulphur and new approaches for sour gas production that eliminate CO2 emission. [Contributed by Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd]

Abstract

A major area of activity in the ASRL research program is examination of technology that could utilize excess elemental sulphur or use sour gas more efficiently. Periodically, large stockpiles of sulphur have accumulated in Alberta as a result of fluctuations in world demand but much of the blocked sulphur has been moved into the market at a profit during high demand periods. The majority of the accumulated sulphur arose from sour natural gas production but now very large tonnages of excess sulphur are anticipated as oil sands developments gather pace. Already, close to 8 million tons of sulphur are stockpiled in Northern Alberta as a result of oil sands exploitation but, as synthetic crude oil production increases from the current 1 million bbl/day to 2.5 million by 2012 and eventually to a steady state production of 5 million bbl/day by 2025, sulphur production could rise to a potentially unmanageable 50,000 tons per day.

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Strategies for sour gas field developments

Summary

With the wide choice of different solvents and process configurations available nowadays, technology selection for acid gas treatment in sour gas field developments has become more complex. Sulphur discusses the main issues and reports on current technology and recent industry experiences.

Abstract

Natural gas is the fastest growing primary energy source, providing a relatively clean fuel for worldwide energy demand. By 2020 world natural gas consumption is projected to almost double the 1999 consumption of 84 trillion cubic feet. Essentially, all sulphur components and, in part, carbon dioxide have to be removed before natural gas is liquefied (LNG), fed to a pipeline, or used as a feedstock for the production of base chemicals, such as methanol or fertilizers. Figure 1 represents a general scheme for an oil and gas production facility1.

The use of natural gas is growing for a variety of reasons including price, environmental concerns, fuel diversification, market deregulation, and overall economic growth. The amount of natural gas traded across international borders continues to grow. Numerous international pipelines are either planned or under construction.

The natural gas produced in gas fields is a mixture of hydrocarbons, mostly C1 through C6+, inerts (N2, He, H2, Ar, O2), water, sour gases (CO2 and H2S), organic sulphur species (RSH, RSR, RSSR), heavy hydrocarbons mercury and other impurities. The composition of the mix depends upon the location of the fields and the well ages.

The H2S content in natural gas typically ranges from 0.1 to 5 vol-%, whilst the CO2 ranges from 0.67 vol-% to more than 15 vol-%. The gas specification for sales gas requires a concentration of less than 4 ppmv H2S.

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Sulphur recovery projects

Summary

Sulphur's survey of recent, current and future construction projects maps the developing shape of brimstone production from fuel processing plants worldwide.

Abstract

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