New Projects Reflect Greater Need for Low-Sulfur Fuel Worldwide
Entering the new year, 59 gas processing plants and oil refineries in 18 countries worldwide have installed, or are set to install, an AmiPur™-PLUS for continuous removal of Heat Stable Salts (HSS) from amine circuits, allowing operators to meet emission standards or other process requirements.
The most recent AmiPurs, currently being designed and built by Eco-Tec, include systems for PT Pertamina (Indonesia), TAIF NK (Russia), and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia).
"AmiPur's permanent, continuously performing purification system lies in plain contrast to what the competition is offering today, which is a temporary system and periodic service," says Sunil Dandekar, Eco-Tec Regional Sales Manager. "Operators are increasingly recognizing the long-term economic benefits AmiPur is delivering to plants in their regions and all over the world."
Most recently, Indonesian oil and gas company, PT Pertamina, selected AmiPur to reduce impurities at its gas-processing facility in Merbau. The company was particularly impressed by the proven track record of AmiPur for nearby company Krakatau Steel. Russian company TAIF NK, as well, selected AmiPur for its refinery in the republic of Tatarstan, partly because of its proven performance for nearby Russian refinery OJSC TANECO. And Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Saudi Aramco, will install AmiPur for its plant in Yanbu, thanks in part to the EPC's positive experiences during production of a system sold in 2010 for a refinery in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
Growing Low-Sulfur Demand Driving Upgrades
Interestingly, the recent AmiPur projects lie in growing regions where the ability to refine higher-sufur (‘sour crude') is growing in importance. Particularly, the new AmiPur system for Saudi Aramco's Yanbu refinery will play an integral role in its initiative to process sour crude to produce ultra-low sulfur fuels for export to Europe (‘Euro IV' standard), which is meant to meet current and future product specifications. New emissions standards, dependent on cleaner (sweet) crude, have been in effect in Europe for some time; and sweet crude is especially well suited for producing diesel fuel, which is far more popular in Europe, and growing in demand worldwide.
Saudi Aramco currently holds the world's largest proven crude oil reserves and production, yet Saudi Arabian crude is mostly for sour grades of oil. The need to re-tool refineries with the capability to process sour crude and deliver low-sulfur fuel has heightened. This was underscored last year when Libyan crude, which is among the lightest and sweetest in the world, was lost for a time during internal turmoil, thus having a disproportionate effect on world oil prices. At the time, Saudi Arabia's capacity was alleged to be too heavy and sour to substitute for Libyan oil.
As well, Asian refineries are not particularly well equipped for refining sour crude higher in sulfur content. Indonesia, in particular, remains one of the largest oil and gas producers in Asia, with 350 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas resource making it the top ranking country in Asia for gas reserves. The new Pertamina-AmiPur project in Merbau, Indonesia, reflects this need to better equip processing plants there, to meet demand for low-sulfur fuel.
According to a Jan. 2012 Bloomberg-news report, Russian offshore oil and natural gas reserves could more than double in the next 15 years. As the world's biggest oil producer and second-biggest gas producer, Russia is considering adjusting laws to allow more companies into offshore exploration and form ventures for field developments. In turn, Russia could add 6 billion barrels of reserves and gain additional revenue for its oil and gas companies. Continuous amine purification, through Eco-Tec's AmiPur, may factor into plans as these Russian companies upgrade plants with the means to refine sour crude, to meet low-sulfur fuel demand, especially in Europe. The recent TAIF-AmiPur project may be a reflection of this trend.
Eco-Tec is a globally recognized manufacturer of water purification, gas processing, and chemical recovery systems for industrial operations. Eco-Tec provides proven integrated technologies based on proprietary technologies that offer significant cost reduction and superior process efficiency. Eco-Tec has provided more than 2,000 systems in over 54 countries, and is represented in all major markets. For more information, visit www.eco-tec.com
Eco-Tec's Amine Purification System – AmiPur™ – using advanced Recoflo® ion exchange technology, continuously removes Heat Stable Salts (HSS) from amine solutions, allowing for consistent, optimal performance of amine units with minimal operator attention required. Low HSS content dramatically reduces corrosion, thereby extending the life of process equipment and reducing maintenance and filter replacement requirements.