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03.01.2011  |  Meche, Helen,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [construction] [methanol] [pre-FEED] [LNG] [plastics] [EPC] [olefins] [ethylene cracker] [phenol]

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) has successfully completed a commercial-scale demonstration test in which more than 2,000 tons of high-ash coal from Queensland, Australia, was gasified at its Zao Zhuang plant in Shandong Province, China. The syngas produced during the test met all production performance specifications, including greater than 98% carbon conversion.

The test was conducted by SES in response to the significant interest it has received from Ambre Energy of Australia. Ambre Energy intends to build a coal-to-gasoline/LPG plant near Toowoomba, Australia, with a capacity of 18,000 bpd. During the test, SES demonstrated its ability to efficiently process Ambre’s low- to medium- rank, 42.6% ash-content coal.

Arrow Energy has issued an invitation to four Australian and international consortia to tender for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for its planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Curtis Island, off Gladstone, Queensland, Australia. The invitation to tender (ITT) represents the first phase in the development of Arrow’s multibillion-dollar LNG plant, which will convert coal-seam gas to LNG for export markets.

Four consortia will bid for this phase of the project: KBR/HQCEC/John Holland/Leighton; Chiyoda/CBI/Saipem; Technip/JGC/Clough; and Foster Wheeler/Worley Parsons.

The successful consortium will be responsible for designing the LNG plant. The decision on who will construct the plant will be determined at a later stage. FEED tenders close in February 2011.

Air Liquide has signed a long-term contract with Tongmei Guangfa Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., whose major shareholder is Datong Coal Mine Group Co. Under agreement terms, Air Liquide will invest around €60 million in a large air-separation unit (ASU) with production capacity of 2,000 tpd of oxygen to supply oxygen and nitrogen to the customer’s methanol-production project in Datong, Shanxi Province, China. Industrial production is scheduled to begin in July 2012. During Phase 1 of the project, 600,000 tpy of methanol will be produced.

KBR’s consulting subsidiary, Gran-herne, has been selected by GDF SUEZ Bonaparte Pty. Ltd. to execute the upstream pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) study for the Bonaparte Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project, a proposed floating liquefaction plant to be located in the Bonaparte Basin, Northern Territory, Australia. The project, being developed through a joint venture between GDF SUEZ and Santos Ltd., has a planned LNG capacity of two million tpy.

LANXESS continues to expand its Indian production site in Jhagadia, Gujarat State. The specialty chemicals group broke ground for new compounding facilities, with an initial capacity of 20,000 metric tpy. These facilities will start producing the high-tech plastics Durethan (polyamide) and Pocan (polybutylene terephthalate) at the beginning of 2012. The investment of more than €10 million will create 60 new jobs.

Fluor Corp. has an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Santos Ltd. for its Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) project in Queensland, Australia. Fluor’s EPC contract includes upstream facilities associated with the 7.8 million-tpy LNG project that will extract and liquefy gas from coal deposits for eventual export to Asia and other global markets. Fluor booked $3.5 billion in its fourth quarter of 2010 for this new contract.

KBR and SK Innovation have started up their advanced catalytic olefins (ACO) demo plant in Ulsan, South Korea. Operations to date have met the companies’ expectations for high-olefins production—particularly propylene, with improved economics relative to steam cracking—due to the technology’s higher total olefins yields and increased propylene/ethylene ratios approaching 1.0. The startup is said to mark the first commercial demonstration of ACO.

The demonstration unit achieved design feed rate as scheduled in late October 2010. The ACO process provides an attractive alternative to naphtha steam crackers and, in addition to offering higher olefins production, the process also produces a lower emissions footprint than a conventional cracker.

The keys to this novel technology are the development of a proprietary catalyst and optimization of operating conditions by SK innovation, coupled with KBR’s know how in fluid-bed reactor design and polymer-grade ethylene and propylene production.

IndianOil and LanzaTech have an understanding to collaborate in a technology demonstration that will enable Indian-Oil to produce fuel-grade ethanol. As a part of the collaboration, IndianOil will evaluate LanzaTech’s proprietary gas-fermentation technology in one of its refineries to produce fuel-grade ethanol.

Hyperion Systems Engineering was awarded a contract by The Linde Group to supply an operator training simulator for an ethylene cracker and associated units that form part of a polymer complex to be built in Dahej, India. The plant will manufacture 1.1 million tpy of ethylene, 400,000 tpy of propylene, 150,000 tpy of benzene and 115,000 tpy of butadiene.

Together with consortium partner Samsung Engineering of Korea, Linde will build the turnkey plant for India’s ONGC Petro-additions Ltd. When it comes online in late 2012, the Dahej plant will reportedly be India’s largest ethylene plant and the anchor of a larger petrochemical complex.

Lummus Technology, a CB&I company, has a contract with Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp. (FCFC) for the license and engineering design of a grassroots cumene and phenol plant to be built in Ningbo, China. The plant, which is expected to start up in 2013, will use Lummus Technology’s Polimeri Europa/Lummus cumene and phenol technologies to produce 450,000 metric tpy of cumene and 300,000 metric tpy of phenol.

KBR’s technology business unit has a contract with Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group, Co., Ltd., to provide licensing and related engineering services for a grassroots aniline plant to be located in Lucheng, Shanxi, China. The aniline technology is offered by KBR through a licensing alliance with DuPont. KBR will license this leading technology, and provide basic engineering and field-support services for Tianji’s 450 metric-tpd aniline plant. This award follows the successful licensing by KBR of an existing 150,000 metric-tpy aniline plant for Tianji in China.

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