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Publication > Issue > Articles

Sourcing gas in Europe

Summary

Lower gas prices have eased the cost burden on European ammonia producers, and while Europe remains dependent upon imports from elsewhere, creeping liberalisation of gas markets is continuing to promote gas on gas competition and remove long term contracts linked to oil.

Abstract

Europe’s ammonia and methanol industry has been through some tough times over the past couple of decades, facing continually increasing competition from lower gas cost locations overseas at the same time that European gas prices tended to be among the highest in the world. However, in the wake of the oil price collapse, changes that had already been working their way through European gas market seem to have been accelerated, leading to a very different gas price environment for producers. Keywords: Hub, Russia, Gazprom, Norway, pipeline, LNG, import, export, consumption, production, price, pricing, Brexit, ammonia, methanol.

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Carbon reduction and the nitrogen industry

Summary

In the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate change, is it possible for there to be a level playing field for energy-intensive industries like ammonia production?

Abstract

In spite of some very notable sceptics, such as President Trump and many in his new administration, the escalating risk posed by man-made climate change has focused minds worldwide on trying to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Nearly a third of the world’s energy consumption and 36% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are attributable to manufacturing industries. The large primary materials industries, i.e., chemical, petrochemicals, iron and steel, cement, paper and pulp, and other minerals and metals, account for more than two-thirds of this amount, and within the chemicals sector, the nitrogen fertilizer industry has attracted particular scrutiny because of the energy-intensive nature of ammonia production. Keywords: Carbon tax, emissions, emission, trade, trading, Paris, Kyoto, Europe, leakage, CDM, credits, credit, benchmark, ammonia, nitrous, N2O, EOR.

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Africa natural gas and fertilizer outlook

Summary

Nelly Mikhaiel, Senior Consultant, Nexant, and Priyanka Khemka, Consultant, Nexant, look at the prospects for gas-based fertilizer production in Africa over the coming years.

Abstract

Africa’s burgeoning population, economic growth potential, and rich endowment with energy resources combine to render the region a hotspot for significant global gas supply and demand growth. Just 17% of the world’s population lived in Africa in 2015, but according to United Nations projections, more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur there. To feed, clothe, and transport the additional 1.3 billion people that will be added in Africa through 2050 will take vast amounts of energy; to increase their standard of living to the levels currently enjoyed by developed Western economies will require more still. Today, the region’s energy use – particularly natural gas – is fairly modest relative to the size of its population. Keywords: Ammonia, urea, Egypt. Nigeria, Guinea, LNG, supply, demand, production, consumption.

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Innovative urea technologies

Summary

In this article we report on new proprietary designs for urea plants from Saipem and Stamicarbon and how they are being implemented to benefit urea plant performance. Case studies are provided for Saipem's SuperCups solution and Stamicarbon's Launch Melt™ flash design.

Abstract

Keywords: urea process, urea reactor, trays, steam balance, Saipem, Borealis, Fauji Fertilizer Company, FFC, flash, energy efficiency, HP stripper, revamp, Linggu, Stamicarbon

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Urea and melamine plant modernisation

Summary

The modernisation of urea plants and their integration with melamine facilities have been a key activity for a good share of Casale's history. The experience gained with numerous plant revamping enables Casale to specifically customise all process schemes according to any licensor's technology and the specific needs of each plant. Process solutions have been implemented and successfully proved in several urea facilities and are now available for melamine plant modernisation. P. Bertini and S. Gamba of Casale discuss the options available.

Abstract

With a large number of revamping projects successfully carried out in the last decades, Casale is now the world leader in urea plant revamping, with a reference list comprising more than 150 plants revamping ranging from replacement of single equipment to massive increase in capacity. The same approach is being adopted for the recently acquired melamine technology where this concept was never investigated. Keywords: urea, melamine, plant modernisation, Casale, revamp, CO2 stripping, Split Flow Loop, Full Condenser, Casale, capacity increase, reliability, ammonia stripping, HP loop, MHP concept, total recycle process, melamine integration, Eurotecnica, Lurgi

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Toxic safe havens

Summary

Various gas detection mechanisms are used in ammonia plants to protect personnel and equipment from accidental release of toxic gas. One common method of mitigating risk posed by toxic hazards is to designate occupied buildings as a toxic shelter-in-place (SIP). The purpose of this article is to discuss toxic gas detection and its application within SIPs. M. I. Gandhi and A. G. Sarrack of Baker Engineering & Risk Consultants discuss the application of various gas detection technologies to strengthen the SIP by providing much-needed data in the form of gas concentrations at various locations within the plant and also within the SIP to prevent personnel from evacuating when it is safer inside the SIP, or to ensure that occupants evacuate when necessary.

Abstract

Many facilities in the chemical and petrochemical industry handle acutely toxic materials. Multiple gas detection mechanisms are available in the process industry, with applications ranging from modelling gas releases, to detecting an accidental release in a process facility, which may trigger a shutdown or mitigation function. Many of those technologies are used for gas detection in ammonia plants, in order to protect personnel and equipment. Toxic shelter-in-place (SIP) or toxic safe havens are vital for deployment of gas detection as part of a strategy to manage risks from toxic releases, as they can help shelter or safely evacuate personnel based on the ammonia gas concentration during a release scenario. Keywords: ammonia, safety, toxic gas, detection, monitoring, shelter in place, SIP, evacuation, ventilation, detectors, alarm, response time, ammonia release, heating, ventilation, air condition, HVAC

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Nitrogen+Syngas 2017

Summary

CRU's Nitrogen+Syngas 2017 International Conference and Exhibition takes place in London at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel from 27 February to 2 March. As global nitrogen prices remain under pressure, the commercial programme will focus on the challenges and opportunities for the market. The technical programme will cover the full nitrogen value chain, including syngas, ammonia, urea, nitrates and finished fertilizers, with a particular focus on improving operational efficiency and enhancing performance and output.

Abstract

Now in its 30th year, and with a record attendance of 700 delegates in 2016, the Nitrogen+Syngas Conference and Exhibition is firmly established as the premier event for the nitrogen and syngas industry, providing an annual opportunity for the industry to meet, learn and network. Running alongside the conference is a world class exhibition bringing together more than 80 technology, engineering, materials and equipment suppliers providing services to the global nitrogen and syngas markets. Keywords: Nitrogen+Syngas 2017, conference preview, syngas, ammonia, urea, nitrates finished fertilizers, urea clinic, site visit, technical showcase, commercial programme, technical programme

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New dual pressure process for nitric acid process

Summary

The process chemistry for the production of nitric acid may have been developed over 100 years ago, but developments to the production process continue to take place. Weatherly's new dual pressure nitric acid production process is designed to deliver larger nitric acid plants (>1,000 t/d) as part of larger fertilizer complexes with lower operating costs and less capital cost than competing designs.

Abstract

Nitric acid is an essential raw material for the production of fertilizers. Approximately 80% of total world consumption of nitric acid is used for the production of ammonium nitrate (AN) and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) fertilizers. Fertilizer producers have been under increasing pressure to remain competitive by securing favourably priced feedstocks and reducing cost of production. As a result, fully integrated, large fertilizer complexes are becoming more popular. Keywords: nitric acid process, dual pressure, mono-pressure, large plants, fertilizer complex Weatherly, heat recovery, vertical reactor, compact footprint, plot space, zirconium tubes, air compression, ammonia vaporisation, NOx gas, acid condensing, N2O abatement, power recovery, tail gas

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The KAPP CO2 chiller

Summary

KAPP Heat Transfer Engineers, together with UreaKnowHow.com, have developed the KAPP CO2 chiller, a debottlenecking tool for any urea plant that is limited by the CO2 compressor capacity during summer conditions when the CO2 feed temperature exceeds design conditions. Three options are presented with short payback times.

Abstract

In most urea plants the CO2 compressor is the bottleneck for further capacity increase. In summer the CO2 inlet temperature is typically higher than the design figure. In these conditions, cooling the CO2 feed to return to design temperature will increase the CO2 density and increase the capacity of the CO2 compressor. Some CO2 chillers make use of existing cold energy sources such as the ammonia refrigeration compressor. In summer, however, these cold energy sources can also be a bottleneck. Keywords: urea plant, debottlenecking, KAPP Heat Transfer Engineers, UreaKnowHow.com, CO2 compressor, CO2 chiller, cooling, CO2 density, cold energy source, feed ammonia

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 41 Leakage of a high pressure flange connection

Summary

Among the many problems that threaten the daily operation of a urea plant, fluid leakage is perhaps the most common, especially the leaking of high pressure flanges in the urea synthesis section. A high-velocity jet emerging from a flange due to a failed gasket, a pinhole in an elbow, corroded threads of a level transmitter, etc., are familiar scenes that the maintenance crew encounters and must rectify.

Abstract

Isa Norozi from Khorasan Petrochemical Company, Iran initiates this roundtable discussion: We are experiencing corrosion on the bolts of the high pressure flange in the HPCC liquid line to the urea reactor. 3 out of 12 bolts were corroded and we are going to replace these with new ones. The corrosion happened via a small leakage from the flange inside the insulation sheet. The process pressure inside the pipe is 145 bar and HSE groups have not given permission to replace the bolts. The bolts are close together. Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for replacement of this type of bolt during normal operation? Keywords: leaks, leakage, high pressure flange, failed gasket, corrosion, maintenance, urea carbamate, Furmanite, HP equipment, bolts

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Strategies for hydrogen production

Summary

A look at the production options open for hydrogen generation in refineries and elsewhere.

Abstract

The main producers and consumers of hydrogen at present (discounting ammonia plants, where syngas generation is built into the process), are oil refineries, where it is used primarily in hydrodesulphurisation units/hydrotreaters, which remove a substantial amount of the sulphur present in the petroleum products. Hydrogen can be added to the tail gas treating unit (TGTU) of a sulphur plant when the streams to be treated are leaner (i.e., have a lower H2S content). It is also used in hydrocracking, to upgrade heavy gas oils into more valuable streams such as gasoline and diesel. Keywords: Power, refinery, gasify, gasification, reforming, reformer, IGCC.

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