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Publication > Issue > Articles

Phosphates: Surviving the slump

Summary

After a poor 2019, when global demand contracted by nearly 2.5%, phosphate markets are expected to rebound in 2020. Saudi Arabia and Morocco dominate new capacity additions while India and Brazil continue to be the key importers. US and Chinese production is in slow decline, meanwhile.

Abstract

Sulphuric acid demand continues to be predicated heavily upon phosphate fertilizer production, with about 60% of sulphuric acid going to make phosphates. The global phosphate industry has seen a period of falling prices and oversupply in 2019, as poor harvest and lower farm incomes and bad weather have reduced phosphate fertilizer applications. Keywords: ARIANE, DAP, MAP, BRAZIL, CHINA, SAUDI ARABIA, MOSAIC, NUTRIEN, OCP, GTC, EGYPT, ALGERIA, P2O5.

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The challenges facing refiners

Summary

The refining industry, the source of half of the world's elemental sulphur, continues to face major structural changes from changing feedstock and product slates and increasing regulatory burdens.

Abstract

The refining industry has in general benefitted from the lower oil price environment over the past few years. Because it derives its profit from the so-called crack spread – the difference between the price of crude oil and the price of refined end products – the downstream sector can withstand crude oil price volatility much easier than the upstream industry. Keywords: HSFO, MGO, GASOIL, IMO, MARPOL, VLSFO, FUEL, DIESEL, GASOLINE, DISTILLATE, API, ELECTRIC, SO2, REGULATION, DIGITAL, DIGITALISATION, PETROCHEMICAL, ARAMCO,

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Sulphur's price collapse

Summary

Jerry d'Aquin of ConSul Inc. looks at the impact of falling sulphur prices on the US market.

Abstract

US refiners produced 8.35 million metric tonnes of sulphur in 2018. Gas processing added another 600,000 tonnes, for a total of 8.95 million t/a. A lower amount is expected for 2019; refineries and gas should only achieve 7.9 million t/a and gas 300,000 t/a for a total of 8.2 million t/a, due to sweeter crude slates and operating issues. Keywords: FRASCH, REFINERY, REFINERIES, REFINER, WASTE, MOLTEN, SHOCK

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MESPON 2019

Summary

The Sixth Annual MESPON Forum took place 7-10 October at the Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi, where the global sour gas and sulphur community gathered for four days of networking, learning, and collaboration. This year's theme highlighted new trends, innovations and best practices in the field of sour gas processing that enhance operations.

Abstract

The Middle East Sour Plant Operations Network (MESPON), organised by UniverSUL Consulting and supported by ADNOC is one of the industry’s premier events for knowledge exchange and networking in the field of sour gas production, processing and sulphur recovery. Keywords: MESPON 2019, UniverSuL Consulting, ADNOC, conference report, sour gas, sulphur, innovation, Abu Dhabi, CO2 capture, EOR, artificial intelligence, digitalisation, innovation, sour gas treating, sulphur recovery, sulphur handling, dual column cryogenic distillation, DCCD, Tecnimont, mega size SRU, Comprimo, CO2 recovery, ADNOC Sour Gas, amine loss, INEOS, Claus tail gas treating, WSA, Topsoe, liquid sulphur degassing, Fluor, GAA, D’GAASS.

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Sulphuric acid plant health check

Summary

Sulphuric acid plant operators juggle multiple issues trying to keep their plants running efficiently and reliably. With the revolutionary ClearView™ process health monitoring solution, as well the DynSOx™ software for simulating dynamic operation, Haldor Topsoe strives to bring digital services with real and tangible operational benefits to the sulphuric acid industry. P. Szafran and M. Granroth discuss how together these digital services can help acid plant operators meet their daily targets.

Abstract

The current trend for increasing digitalisation of industrial plants results in the generation of more and more data that on its own can result in increased confusion rather than clarity. The key to taking advantage of digitalisation is to leverage the torrent of data and new computational capabilities to solve real operational issues. Keywords: sulphuric acid plant, digital services, ClearView, DynSOx, connected services, Haldor Topsoe, dynamic conditions, fluctuating conditions, mass balance, energy balance, steady state detection, operational benefits, reliability, WSA, interbed cooler, combustor, DCS alarms, acid plant operator, simulation.

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Hydrocarbon removal from sour water systems

Summary

Hydrocarbon contamination of sour water streams feeding sour water strippers is a well-known challenge in the refining and gas processing industry. The source of this challenge is the formation of a stable oil emulsion in an aqueous phase that may contain both H2S and NH3. The typical approach to the problem involves large residence time tanks with the assumption that droplet settling will occur over a long enough time frame. In practice, droplet settling is very slow due to a variety of reasons, and as a result, operators encounter sour water heat exchanger fouling, stripper fouling, hydrocarbon excursions to sulphur recovery units along with other operating challenges. M. Thundyil, D. Seeger and E. McIntosh of Transcend Solutions present a case study of the TORSEP™ oil and solids removal system for contamination removal from a sour water feed stream. The case study illustrates the effect on heat exchanger fouling along with the effect of the variation of several system parameters on operating performance and economics.

Abstract

Keywords: sour water system, hydrocarbon removal, hydrocarbon contamination, sour water, sour water stripper, sulphur recovery unit, heat exchanger, fouling, refinery, TORSEP, oil and solids removal, solid separator, Endur Tetra, Envision, emulsion separator, Transcend Solutions

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Improve asset integrity by predicting corrosion

Summary

Using case studies of a refinery amine unit and a sour water stripper (SWS), U. M. Sridhar of Three Ten Initiative Technologies LLP, N. A. Hatcher and R. H. Weiland of Optimized Gas Treating Inc. demonstrate the capabilities of a mechanistic, chemistry-based, truly predictive model for calculating corrosion rates for various amines and for sour water. At a time when asset integrity is much sought after, the utility of this fully predictive model is to prevent failures before they occur, rationally select materials of construction, enhance plant safety, and mitigate risk.

Abstract

Corrosion is a major concern in gas treating and refinery sour water systems, caused mainly by the acid gases CO2 and H2S. One of the major factors influencing corrosion rates is the chemical activity of the dissolved acid gases themselves and the ions they form when they dissolve into the solvent. Activities depend on temperature, the amine type, its concentration, and acid gas loadings. Flow velocity, pipe roughness, heat stable salts, metallurgy, and suspended solids also affect corrosion rates. Keywords: refinery, gas treating, sour water system, amine unit, sour water stripper, sour water, acid gases, corrosion, predictive model, asset integrity, predictive corrosion model, corrosion rate, overhead condenser, pumparound condenser, Optimized Gas Treating, Three Ten Initiative Technmologies.

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Refinery green fuel integration with a sulphur complex

Summary

M. van Son and S. Sreejit of Comprimo present a case study involving the design and potential integration of the sour water and acid gas treatment units for a renewable diesel facility with an existing refinery sulphur complex. The case study evaluates the potential for operating cost reduction by integrating an enrichment loop in the acid gas treatment plant as well as for using the existing infrastructure of the refinery to limit emissions.

Abstract

The renewable diesel market has been growing and is driven by fluctuating oil prices, the mandates of governmental agencies to use renewable fuels and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. In recent years, the integration of renewable diesel facilities with the existing infrastructure in refineries has proven lucrative and there are a number of projects in various phases of operation, engineering or construction. Keywords: renewable diesel, refinery, green fuel, sulphur complex, sour water, acid gas treatment, AGT, emissions, project hazard analysis, acid gas enrichment, AGE, Selectox, LO-CAT, Thiopaq, integration, sour water stripper, sour water concentrator, Process Hazard Analysis Software Tool, PHAST, caustic scrubber, Comprimo.

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