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Publication > Issue > Articles

North Field sulphur takes shape

Summary

The contract for equipment to serve what will become the world's largest sulphur forming site has been awarded to Enersul.

Abstract

When Qatargas elected to make the short hop along the Gulf to Bahrain for last May’s Sulphur Middle East conference, to give a detailed account of its Common Sulphur Project, it was destined to create a stir in the meeting room that would quickly spread around the world of sulphur.

Meetings during Sulphur’s mid-year travel schedule almost inevitably opened with a wide-eyed: “What’s happening in Qatar?” By the end of October when the Sulphur 2005 conference convened in Moscow, the shock waves from Bahrain were still on the move. Speakers were talking of the threat of massive over-production of brimstone hitting markets that would not be ready to absorb it. Impending gloom for traders would strike around the end of the current decade – about the time that Qatargas plans to complete the Common Sulphur Project.

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Steady as she goes

Summary

A year of peaks and few troughs marked a successful year for the supply side of sulphur trade.

Abstract

Considering that the markets for sulphur and sulphuric acid do not have much influence on how much raw material is available for trade, they have managed to stay remarkably in balance in recent years. And the year 2005 was not so different from its predecessors. If there is a general ­lesson to be learned from last year’s global trade sulphur it is that suppliers and customers ­appear to have sufficient confidence in the stability of the market to support some semb­lance of a price band.

There were times in mid-year when the whiff of over-heating set in, particularly involving trade between the Middle East and India. But the fundamentals eventually applied and price levels were settling down again towards the end of the year.

Nonetheless, there remains the promise of stormier times ahead when huge energy projects in the Middle East, central Asia and northern Canada begin significantly to place their sulphur. The time is not yet here but, as detailed announcements of progress in planning and construction in each of these regions began to emerge, it is unlikely to be far away.

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Cost effective SOx removal

Summary

Standards for sulphur emissions from oil, gas and chemical processing facilities continue to tighten in many countries. In refineries one of the major sources of sulphur emissions is oxygen-containing SO2 flue gases. This article reports on the current status of the ClausMaster process for SO2 removal and introduces the various configurations of the Fluor SOx removal process.

Abstract

In many refineries, stringent SO2 regulations for sulphur recovery complexes limit sulphur emissions via SRU stack gases to a maximum 250 ppmv (O2-free, dry basis). Consequently, the major SO2 contributors in most refineries are typically flue gases from FCC units, steam boilers and other process units, such as the Phillips S Zorb Process for ultra low sulphur gasoline or diesel desulphurisation units. Often, these SO2-containing flue gases also include oxygen, which complicates the SO2 removal process and technology and may result in a more capital intensive SO2 removal unit.

There are many novel technologies re­cently developed for removing SO2 from such flue gases but most of these have not yet commercially demonstrated that they are technically viable and cost effective. Many of these novel processes also generate undesired byproducts, which must be disposed of in a safe and cost effective manner.

To remove sulphur dioxide from an oxygen containing gas stream, the technologies commonly employed are either caustic processes such as Amerex, Belco, Croll-Reynolds, Envirochem and Turbo­sonic, or non-caustic regenerative SO2 scrubbing pro­cesses such as Cansolv, Labsorb and Claus­Master. While the capital investment for a caustic process is low, its operating and disposal costs may be prohibitively expensive. The current non-caustic processes are largely more capital intensive and have greater operating complexity. A report on the Cansolv and Labsorb regenerative SO2 scrubbing processes was published in Sulphur No. 293 (Jul-Aug 2004) pp. 37-44. The ClausMaster process and the Fluor SOx Cleanup pro­cesses are discussed below.

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Taking control­ of your sulphur plant

Summary

Process control and emissions monitoring play a key role in the optimisation of any Claus-based SRU. Sulphur looks at the control systems applied to modified-Claus plants, reports on the latest analytical techniques and analysers, and describes a new control system called Double Air De­mand (DAD), which uses an additional air demand analyser to improve the dynamic behaviour of a Claus unit.

Abstract

The sulphur recovery industry has seen a dramatic increase in investments to further enhance Claus-based process designs, modern plant technology, process equipment, and analysers to increase the recovery efficiency of sulphur recovery units (SRU) and tail gas treating (TGT) units worldwide. Every tenth of a percentage increase in the recovery efficiency results in significant reduction in the emission of harmful pollutants.

Pollution levels and the effects they are having on nature have reached alarming proportions in some regions of the world, and many countries have taken, and continue to take steps to reduce the emission of these pollutants, and minimise the damage caused by them.

Process control and emissions monitoring play a key role in the optimisation of any Claus-based SRU process, as the increase in recovery efficiency leads to a direct reduction in emissions of toxic pollutants to the atmosphere.

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