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10.01.2012  |  Meche, Helen,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [construction] [cellulose ethanol] [LNG] [butadiene] [polymers] [refining] [petrochemicals] [gasoline] [GTL]

Clariant has inaugurated what is said to be Germany’s biggest pilot plant for producing climate-friendly cellulose ethanol from agricultural waste. Located in Straubing, Bavaria, and supported by the Bavarian government and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the futuristic project will produce up to 1,000 tons of cellulose ethanol from around 4,500 tons of wheat straw based on Clariant’s sunliquid technology. It represents an investment of around €28 million. The sunliquid process is an innovative biotechnological method that turns plant waste products, such as grain straw and corn straw, into second-generation cellulose ethanol.

Marquard & Bahls, through its subsidiary Bomin, and The Linde Group, will establish a joint-venture (JV) company to build infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Europe’s maritime sector. The transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities. The 50/50 JV is due to start its operations in the latter part of 2012, with its headquarters based in Hamburg, Germany.

The JV will set out to establish an LNG supply chain and to provide reliable, safe and environmentally friendly fuel to ship owners and operators. Linde will contribute its vast experience in cryogenics and its best-in-class engineering know-how, while Bomin will support the JV with its excellent track record in maritime bunker-fuel trading and operations. The new company will establish operations in a number of key ports throughout the so-called “emission control areas” in Northwest Europe.

CB&I has an award from BASF for the engineering, procurement and construction management of a new butadiene-extraction plant in Antwerp, Belgium. The contract, which is valued in excess of $50 million, is an essential part of the total BASF investment amount, which will be in the high double-digit million euro range. The plant is scheduled to start up during 2014.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has a five-year enterprise frame agreement (EFA) from Shell Global Solutions International B.V. to provide engineering and project management services to Shell’s European downstream assets.

The contract has the options to be renewed for an additional five years and/or to be extended to other Shell businesses such as upstream, and beyond Europe to the Middle East and Africa. Under the EFA, Jacobs will provide services ranging from feasibility studies and small plant modifications to discrete projects for Shell’s major refining and chemical sites in Pernis, The Netherlands, and in Rhineland, Germany.

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has been selected by Lukoil to provide technology to produce blending components used to make high-octane gasoline and petrochemicals at Lukoil’s facility in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Lukoil will license an integrated suite of Honeywell’s UOP technologies to produce high-quality gasoline-blending components, propylene and other petrochemicals.

The new units, expected to start up in 2015, will produce more than 1 million metric tpy of gasoline-blending components and more than 170,000 metric tpy of propylene. In addition to technology licensing, Honeywell’s UOP and a number of its affiliates will provide engineering design, catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, staff training and technical service for the project.

Honeywell’s UOP technology to be used in this project includes: Honeywell’s UOP FCC process, to convert straight-run atmospheric gasoils, vacuum gasoils, certain atmospheric residues and heavy stocks recovered from other refinery operations into high-octane gasoline, propylene and light fuel oils; Honeywell’s UOP HF Alkylation process to produce a high-quality gasoline-blending component, typically referred to as alkylate; Honeywell’s UOP Caustic Merox process to remove sulfur from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) streams; Honeywell’s UOP Huels Selective Hydrogenation Process (SHP) to minimize acid consumption in the alkylation unit, produce 2-butene and maximize alkylate yields; and Honeywell’s UOP Butamer process to convert butane to isobutane, a primary feedstock used to produce alkylate in the HF Alkylation process.

LANXESS has chosen Burckhardt Compression to deliver one process gas compressor for its chemical production site in Leverkusen, Germany. The compressor will be used to compress ethylene from 17 bara to 495 bara. In addition, Burckhardt Compression (Deutschland) GmbH has been awarded an order from LANXESS to revamp two existing process gas compressors.

A gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Uzbekistan was named OLTIN YO’L GTL at a formal ceremony in Tashkent involving representatives from the three joint-venture (JV) companies: Uzbekneftegaz, Sasol and PETRONAS.

The naming of the JV project followed a ceremony to mark the start of infrastructure development by the Government of Uzbekistan at the proposed GTL plant site at Shurtan in the south of Uzbekistan. It also aimed at supporting the project schedule to enable a final investment decision, which is expected during the second half of 2013.

When commissioned, the 38,000-bpd plant will produce a combination of GTL diesel and GTL naphtha and, in an important development in the application of GTL fuels, GTL kerosine for the aviation sector.

Neste Oil has completed the first phase of its project to build a pilot plant for producing microbial oil. Plant construction is on schedule and on budget. The first phase will enable the growth of oil-producing microorganisms, and the following phases will concentrate on raw material pretreatment and oil recovery. The goal is to develop the technology so that it is capable of yielding commercial volumes of microbial oil for use as a feedstock for NExBTL renewable diesel. Commercial-scale production is expected by 2015 at the earliest.

The pilot plant is expected to be fully complete in the second half of 2012, and it represents an investment of approximately €8 million by Neste Oil.

Microbial oil technology is attractive because of its efficiency and sustainability. Neste Oil has carried out pioneering research in the field and has applied for numerous patents covering its microbial oil technology. A number of partners have been involved in this work, including Aalto University.

In May 2012, ThyssenKrupp Uhde won a front-end-engineering and design contract for a single-train polypropylene (PP) plant based on LyondellBasell’s Spheripol process technology for ZapSibNeftekhim L.L.C, a wholly owned subsidiary of SIBUR.

The 500,000-tpy plant is planned to be constructed in Tobolsk, Russian. The plant will produce a wide range of high-quality PP brands.

Evonik Industries has laid the foundation stone for a new, large plant to produce functionalized polybutadienes in Marl, Germany. The plant, with a capacity of several thousand metric tpy, is scheduled for completion in mid-2013. The investment, in the company’s largest production site worldwide, is in the mid double-digit million euro range.

The new plant can make optimum use of the existing infrastructure and raw material supplies, and utilize synergies with the current polybutadiene plants in the Marl Chemical Park. HP

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