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08.01.2012  |  Thinnes, Billy,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [oil] [liquids] [GHG] [greenhouse gas] [permitting] [piping] [GEOs] [gas turbine] [regulations]

Production of oil, other liquids, to increase in US

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released its 2012 annual energy outlook. The EIA projects US domestic production of petroleum and other liquids to grow by 3.1 million bpd from 2010 to 2035. Total production should grow rapidly until 2020, as production of crude oil and natural gas liquid (NGL) from tight oil formations (including shale plays) increases sharply. After 2020, total US production will grow more slowly, to 12.7 million bpd in 2035, as tight oil production levels off even with continued increases in crude oil prices. As production of other liquid fuels increases, the crude oil share of total domestic petroleum and other liquids production is expected to decline from 56% in 2010 to 47% in 2035. NGL production is slated to increase by more than 900,000 bpd, to 3 million bpd in 2035, mainly as a result of strong growth in the production of both tight oil and shale gas, which contain significant volumes of NGLs.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not revise greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting thresholds under the Clean Air Act. The final rule affirms that new facilities with GHG emissions of at least 100,000 tpy of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) must continue to obtain prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permits. Existing facilities that emit 100,000 tpy of CO2e, and that make changes increasing their GHG emissions by at least 75,000 tpy of CO2e, must also obtain PSD permits. Facilities that must obtain a PSD permit, to include other regulated pollutants, must also address GHG emissions increases of 75,000 tpy or more of CO2e. New and existing sources with GHG emissions above 100,000 tpy of CO2e also must obtain operating permits.

The GHG tailoring rule will continue to address a group of six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The EPA is also finalizing a provision that allows companies to set plant-wide emissions limits for GHGs, which should streamline the permitting process.

GE has signed a commercial alliance agreement with Norway-based Sargas to provide a gas turbine for one of the world’s first gas-fired plants with integrated carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The Sargas plant will combine a configuration of GE’s existing aeroderivative gas turbine package with Sargas’ combustion and carbon-capture technology, enabling low-emissions power generation, the companies said. Sargas says its technology captures CO2 at pressure, which requires lower capital investment costs and can be built quickly with existing or slightly modified subsystems and equipment. In combination, the new configuration of the gas turbine in the Sargas plant can capture CO2 for oil recovery with high efficiency and low parasitic load.

Intergraph is teaming up with Bayer Technology Services to lobby for a standardized piping environment in the German chemical process industry, the companies have announced. The standardized environment would include all piping disciplines, the firms said, aiming to provide consistent piping data on the basis of PAS and EN codes by using a professional management system. Such a move would ensure crucial time savings and improved safety for all partners, the companies said. Many well-known companies active in the respective industries have shown interest in the project, and some of them have already agreed to the conditions in principle, Intergraph said.

“With new EN codes and improved, powerful 3D systems on the market, we feel that this agreement comes exactly at the right time,” said Gunter Mauss, vice president of Intergraph Process, Power & Marine. “By creating this level of standardization, we are able to provide an environment that offers substantial benefits for all parties involved.”

CONCAWE recently released a report on gasoline ether oxygenates (GEOs), which are added to certain fuel formulations to improve combustion efficiency and increase octane rating. The report presents data on the production capacities and use of GEOs in 30 European countries. CONCAWE reveals that there are about 55 facilities with GEO production capacity in the EU, with 50% of that capacity located in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Europe’s total GEO production capacity grew from 4,108 KT in 2002 to 6,049 KT per year in 2010. The report also notes how the use of GEOs has evolved from methyl tertiary butyl ether to ethyl tertiary butyl ether in some countries. In certain markets, there is also a trend afoot to phase out GEOs almost entirely, in favor of direct ethanol blending.

BP and JBF Petrochemicals have signed an agreement for licensing of BP’s latest-generation purified terephthalic acid (PTA) technology. JBF intends to build a 1.25 million-tpy unit at the Special Economic Zone in Mangalore, India, to produce PTA, the primary feedstock for polyesters used in textiles and packaging. JBF expects the Mangalore plant to come onstream at the end of 2014. The PTA market has continued to grow at a high rate over the years, with over 80% of the demand currently in Asia (with about 50% in China alone), according to BP. “The market is now of such a scale (greater than 50 million tpy) and continuing to grow, at close to 7%, that three or four new world-scale plants per year will be needed,” said Nick Elmslie, CEO of BP’s global petrochemicals business.

With China’s natural gas consumption set to almost triple over the next eight years, the Asian giant will draw from all available sources to keep up with demand, according to a new report from the energy industry analysis firm GlobalData. According to the company’s latest research, China’s natural gas consumption was 131.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2011, already a steep rise from the 2000 figure of 24.5 bcm. Consumption levels are predicted to soar even higher to reach 375 bcm by 2020, thanks to the country’s desire to increase the share of natural gas in its energy mix, the analysts said.

In 2011, China consumed approximately 131.7 bcm of natural gas, although it only produced 100.9 bcm—a disparity that will only grow in the future. Accordingly, major Chinese national oil companies, such as China Petrochemical Corp. and its subsidiary, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec); China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and its subsidiary, PetroChina Co. Ltd. (PetroChina); and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), are actively involved in the partial or full acquisition of overseas assets in an attempt to guarantee long-term national gas security. HP

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