New in Gas Processing Technology
BASF, Linde announce gas processing technology collaboration
BASF and The Linde Group’s engineering division have agreed on a collaboration to serve natural gas processing applications using BASF’s adsorbent technology and Linde’s adsorption and membrane technology.
This collaboration brings together two leading companies in the fields of adsorbents, adsorption and membrane technology. With the combined capabilities of materials expertise from BASF and engineering expertise from Linde, the two companies aim to expand their global leadership position in natural gas applications.
BASF’s Durasorb adsorbents will be used to improve Linde’s high-performance membrane processes. Membrane technology that can process gas high in CO2 is becoming increasingly important in the natural gas industry. The ability to treat gas high in both heavy hydrocarbons and CO2 will allow BASF and Linde to serve a part of the industry that relies on high-cost alternatives.
BASF and Linde will perform the required design work to ensure that the adsorbent is well suited to the membrane. Linde will supply both gas processing units to the customer: the membrane unit and the Durasorb-applying pretreatment unit upstream.
The two companies expect the arrangement to simplify the technical and procurement processes for the customer, as well as increase the reliability
and performance of the membrane process.
KLPE, ILF to deliver world-scale GSU and pipelines project
KLPE, an affiliate of the United Chemical Co. (UCC), has initiated Kazakhstan’s first world-scale gas separation unit (GSU) project. With a total capacity of 1,250 kilotons/yr, the GSU will supply feedstock to the polyethylene plant in the Atyrau Region. The project is being executed as part of a joint development agreement between the UCC and Borealis.
ILF Consulting Engineers (ILF) has been commissioned to carry out project management consultancy (PMC) services, including the supervision of a detailed feasibility study (DFS), which will support KLPE in the delivery of the strategically important project. The initiative is anticipated to pave the way for Kazakhstan’s establishment as a global player in the polyolefins market.
The heart of the project is the NGL recovery facility, located close to the Tengiz oil field, with a maximum feed gas capacity of more than 7 Bm3y for recovering ethane and heavier components as feedstock for the polyethylene project. In addition, a 180-km C2+ export pipeline to the polyethylene plant and a redelivery gas pipeline are within the project scope.
Los Angeles shies away from new gas plants
Los Angeles will abandon a plan to replace three aging gas power plants along its coast with newer natural gas technology, and will instead invest in renewable energy as it seeks to move away from fossil fuels, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in February.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP),
the city’s municipal utility, for years has been planning to modernize the Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor natural gas plants, in part because of a 2010 California law that power plants must stop using ocean water for cooling. The new, state-of-the art gas plants would have used air instead.
However, Los Angeles, which has already moved to eliminate coal from its energy mix, must also abandon natural gas if it wants to meet its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, Mayor Garcetti said. The natural gas units will be phased out by 2029.
In 2017, the LADWP sourced one-third of its power from natural gas plants, according to the California Energy Commission. The three coastal plants make up nearly 40% of that total. In the same year, the city sourced another one-third of its electricity from renewable energies like solar and wind.
ExxonMobil advancing integrated gas-for-power development in Vietnam
ExxonMobil, with JV partners PetroVietnam and PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp., is advancing plans for a multibillion-dollar integrated gas-for-power development in central Vietnam. The company has awarded a contract for front-end engineering and design, and is filing permits, planning applications and other preparatory work for the proposed development.
If approved, ExxonMobil will lead the construction and operation of the project, which will produce and treat natural gas from the Ca Voi Xanh field, located offshore in Block 118. The proposed project consists of an offshore platform, a pipeline to transport the gas to shore, an onshore gas treatment plant and pipelines that feed gas to third-party power plants to generate electricity locally.
The project could bring a number of long-term benefits to the country, including cleaner, reliable power to help drive economic growth and improved living standards, according to ExxonMobil Development Co. If the project moves forward, it is estimated to generate $20 B in revenue to the Vietnamese government, thousands of local jobs and improved energy security from domestic gas development.
Vietnam Electricity, PetroVietnam and Sembcorp are in discussions to build and operate the power plants. The proposed base development is expected to generate 3 GW of power, equivalent to about 10% of Vietnam's present total power demand. A final investment decision, targeted in 2020, will be based on regulatory approvals, government guarantees, executed gas sales agreements and economic competitiveness, among other factors.
Eni and SABIC collaborate on gas conversion technology
Eni and SABIC have signed a joint development agreement to further develop an innovative technology for natural gas conversion into synthesis gas that can be processed into high-value fuels and chemicals, such as methanol.
The partnership will involve, among other activities, the construction of an industrial demonstration plant that will be built and operated inside an Eni industrial premises. The development project will advance the technology, which is based on the short contact time catalytic partial oxidation (SCT-CPO) of natural gas, to further sustain the Eni and SABIC business by using, in a more efficient way, the lower-emissions fossil fuel.
The technology was initially developed by Eni after an intensive research and development (R&D) period. This R&D was coupled with SABIC's short contact time reactor R&D and the company's extensive knowledge of the integration of synthesis gas generation into processes to produce derived chemicals.
The joint technology will help develop synthesis gas into high-value applications to achieve lower CAPEX and OPEX, higher energy efficiency, a lower CO2 footprint and wide feedstock flexibility.
Air Products to provide technology for Golden Pass LNG
Air Products will provide its proprietary LNG technology, equipment and related process license to Golden Pass Products LLC, a JV between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, for the 16-MMtpy Golden Pass LNG export project in Sabine Pass, Texas.
Air Products will supply its proprietary AP-C3MR natural gas liquefaction technology and equipment, and three of its MCR main cryogenic heat exchangers, to be installed at the heart of the proprietary propane precooled mixed-refrigerant liquefaction process for the three-train facility.
The LNG heat exchangers and related equipment for the Golden Pass project will be manufactured at Air Products’ Port Manatee, Florida facility.
The LNG technology is to be operational when the Golden Pass facility starts up in 2024.
Larger power blocks for combined-cycle plants
Combined-cycle electric generating systems operate in groups commonly referred to as power blocks. Since 2014, the average size of a natural gas-fired combined-cycle power block has increased significantly, according to the US EIA.
The average combined-cycle power block installed between 2002 and 2014 was approximately 500 MW. After 2014, power block capacity increased, reaching an average of 820 MW in 2017.
Power blocks have increased in size as the performance of combined-cycle units has continued to improve. Present and projected natural gas prices and supply provide a competitive advantage for the combined-cycle technology. The most common configuration involves two combustion turbines supporting one steam turbine.
The EIA uses an identifier called a unit code to group the component units of combined-cycle power blocks to better understand their design and operational characteristics. Most of the installed capacity of gas-fired combined-cycle units comes from power blocks that have capacities of 600 MW–700 MW.
Of the 644 gas-fired combined-cycle power blocks installed across the US, 16% are within this range. Two-thirds of the power blocks installed in 2017 were 600 MW or higher, helping drive the increase in average capacity when compared with power blocks installed in earlier years.
Factors such as operating cost and performance affect the sizing of a combined-cycle power block for a particular application. The heat rate of a generator, measured in Btu required to generate 1 kWh of electricity, is the metric most commonly used to represent the efficiency of commercial generators.
The trend toward larger combined-cycle power blocks can largely be explained by the efficiency gains (lower heat rates) available from larger power blocks. For example, the capacity-weighted average heat rate of power blocks less than 500 MW is 6% higher (or less efficient) than that of power blocks larger than 1,000 MW. Larger power blocks also generally have lower per-unit capital costs, making them more attractive investments.
Smaller power blocks still play an important role in providing electricity. Generators have a minimum output level below which continued operation creates risks of instability, inefficiency and high emissions. Smaller blocks, which inherently have lower minimum loads, are commonly associated with greater flexibility because they can operate through low demand periods without needing to be shut down.
LNG supplier Venture Global gets approval for Louisiana facility
Venture Global LNG Inc. announced that the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued the order granting authorizations under Sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act for the company’s Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility and associated TransCameron Pipeline in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.
The project has also been contracted with binding 20-yr sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) with Shell, BP, Edison SpA, Galp, Repsol and PGNiG. Venture Global plans to immediately commence construction activities, with the aim of delivering LNG to global customers from 2022.
The 10-MMtpy Calcasieu Pass facility will employ a comprehensive process solution from GE Oil and Gas LLC, part of Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), that utilizes midscale, modular, factory-fabricated liquefaction trains. Venture Global has executed an integrated turnkey EPC contract with Kiewit to design, engineer, construct, commission, test and guarantee the Calcasieu Pass facility.
The company is also developing the 20-MMtpy Plaquemines LNG export facility and associated Gator Express Pipeline in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The Plaquemines LNG facility received its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on November 13, 2018 and expects to receive its final EIS on May 3, 2019, according to the FERC’s notice of schedule for environmental review. Plaquemines LNG has executed a binding 20-yr SPA with PGNiG.
German gas demand to rise on coal exit plan
German gas demand could increase by up to 8% in the period to 2022 to replace orchestrated closures of coal-fired power plants recommended by a government-appointed commission, according to gas lobby group Zukunft Erdgas.
In early 2019, the commission recommended that coal-burning capacity be more than halved by 2030. Nuclear reactors are also due to close by 2022.
Gas-fired power station capacity amounts to 30 GW, of which only 38% were utilized last year vs. 80% of brown coal plants and 40% of hard coal plants.
Calculations by Zukunft Erdgas assume additional gas demand of 30 tWh/yr to 81 tWh/yr for gas to go into power generation by 2022, depending on how quickly gas takes the share formerly held by coal. Germany is Europe's biggest
Germany expects additional gas import volumes from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under construction, and from three LNG import terminal projects competing for permission.
Low-carbon renewable natural gas from wood wastes
GTI, an environmental technology research organization, recently released a site-specific engineering design, titled "Low-carbon renewable natural gas (RNG) from wood wastes."
GTI led a team of engineers and scientists to produce a "blueprint" for converting an existing biomass facility into an RNG production site, using wood waste feedstock and existing infrastructure. A biomass power plant in Stockton, California was the host site for the engineering design effort.
In addition to providing data about the process technologies, the integrated plant and production costs, the study highlights the environmental benefits of the low-carbon fuel produced. Funded by West Coast utilities and a state government agency, the engineering design study was conducted to better understand the value, benefits and costs of utilizing wood wastes to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
New RNG production facilities using the commercial technologies outlined in the analysis could eliminate 99% of conventional air pollutants compared to existing operational biomass power plants.
The RNG product, which has low carbon intensity, could be used for carbon emissions reductions in the transportation, industrial, commercial and residential energy sectors. According to the analysis, California has the potential to produce tens of billions of cubic feet of RNG per year from the wastes that are being used for biomass-based electricity.
The gasification technology provides an additional option for addressing the woody biomass waste in California, while providing a clean renewable energy source that can further help the state meet its greenhouse gas objectives. Depending on the equipment configuration of the wood waste-to-RNG production facility, RNG can be produced with a carbon footprint that is near zero or even negative, according to GTI.
Phoenix Petroleum to build first LNG terminal in Philippines
Philippines-based fuel retailer Phoenix Petroleum has won government approval to build the country’s first LNG import terminal, in partnership with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC). Phoenix also plans to build a 2,000-MW gas-fired power plant as part of the integrated project.
Phoenix’s Tanglawan Philippine LNG Inc. unit, which will undertake the project, is partnering with a unit of CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd., China’s largest LNG importer and terminal operator. The LNG facility is expected to have a capacity of 2.2 metric MMtpy, with commercial operations targeted to start by 2023.
Phoenix Petroleum plans to break ground in 2019 for the LNG regasification and receiving terminal south of the capital city of Manila. The Philippines relies heavily on coal as a fuel source, but the LNG import terminal will add fuel flexibility in the form of more environmentally friendly natural gas. The Philippines is also looking to import LNG to feed gas-fired power plants in Batangas, south of Manila, as domestic gas supplies from its Malampaya field are set to run out in 2024 at the earliest.
The Malampaya gas field, which lies near the disputed South China Sea waters and is operated by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, fuels plants that supply about 40% of the power for the country’s main island of Luzon.