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Number 345 January | February 2017

What’s in issue 345
Welcome to our interactive
7 version of Nitrogen+Syngas ■ COVER FEATURE 1

Number 345
Issue 345 Nitrogen in
Southeast Asia
Please use either the buttons on the left or top
right of the page to navigate your way around this ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 interactive PDF
Nitrogen project
Copyright – Issued six times per year, or bi-monthly. All rights reserved. No part of
13 this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any
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14 – without the prior written permission of the Copyright owner.
Early detection of
16 process risks
Ammonia catalysts

Nitrogen in Southeast Asia


26 ISSUE 345
28 Nitrogen project listing
January | February 2017

30 Early detection of process risks

Ammonia catalysts
Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 London SE1 7SJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577
Web: w


5 What’s in issue 345



8 CONTENTS Nitrogen in
20 Southeast Asian nitrogen markets Southeast Asia

While nitrogen consumption in the region is relatively stable, several new
Cover: Balinese statue. ammonia-urea plants coming on-stream in Indonesia and Malaysia seem set
10 35007 / to turn Southeast Asia into a net exporter rather than importer. Longer term,
however, much depends on Indonesia’s gas situation, with a possible switch ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 towards greater coal-based production.
26 Asset management for steam methane reformers Nitrogen project
12 Thomas Fortinberry, AMETEK Land Business Development Manager – Industrial
Gas, discusses fixed thermal imaging for steam methane reformers and how listing
13 improved access to process temperature data can optimise efficiency, reduce
Johnson Matthey’s new breakthrough technology, downtime and extend asset life.
14 CATACEL JM SSR, a high performance structured 16
30 Old meets new in Venice
Casale’s fourth customer symposium, dubbed ‘Innovation Meets Experience’,
catalyst for steam reforming, delivers more activity
15 and better heat transfer at a lower pressure drop
brought delegates to the beautiful city of Venice in October to look at where the
syngas-based chemical industry might be heading over the next decade. Early detection of
16 than traditional pelleted catalysts.
33 Nitrogen index 2016 process risks
A complete listing of all articles and news items that appeared in Nitrogen+Syngas
Our CATACEL JM SSR technology is proven to ease

17 magazine during 2016.
operating limits on the reformer and can allow
36 Nitrogen project listing 2017
18 higher throughputs because of reduced tube wall Nitrogen+Syngas presents an annual round-up of new ammonia, urea, nitric ■ COVER FEATURE 4
temperatures, lower pressure drop and impressive Southeast Asia acid and other nitrogen-based plant construction.
19 resistance to carbon deposition. 21
Becoming a nitrogen exporting Early detection of process risks Ammonia catalysts
region. Dynamic Risk Analyzer™ (DRA), new software based on early risk detection
20 Our technical support team will work with you to technology, assesses the risk level of plant operations and identifies early
assess your needs and determine if CATACEL JM SSR indicators of developing process problems. By utilising such an early risk detection
21 technology is a good fit for your operation. system, the operating teams can assess and resolve process issues at their
initiation stages – driving a proactive risk management culture and workflow.
22 24
46 24/7 firebox monitoring
Topsoe Furnace Manager (TFM) is a proven personnel and process safety system
23 for ammonia plant primary reformers, providing firebox images and data 24/7.
It provides monitoring of burner flames and tube temperatures locally and
24 remotely without human interaction with the firebox and can provide immediate

economic benefits by avoiding outages and improving long term reliability.
Make more from less
Catalyst changes in the ammonia process offer an ideal opportunity to reduce
26 Catalyst changes pressure drop and/or energy requirements with the minimum of additional expense.
A good time to review your M. Cousins and J. Brightling of Johnson Matthey review the fundamentals that need JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 ammonia process. to be considered and look at case studies showing how the latest technologies and
plant operation philosophies can be utilised to make more from less.
29 3
4 Editorial Not a bargain
Read this issue online at: 4
6 Price Trends
30 5
8 Market Outlook
10 Nitrogen Industry News
31 Published by: 7
12 Syngas News
Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 9
16 People/Calendar London SE1 7SJ, England
18 Plant Manager+ Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Problem No. 40: Medium pressure absorber in Saipem urea plant
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577
Web: w

5 What’s in issue 345

Not a bargain

8 Nitrogen in
Southeast Asia

he Ukrainian government’s failure to secure it had received, leading to several major shutdowns
10 even a single bid for the Odessa Port Plant of supply. Russia’s Gazprom has gradually pushed
(OPZ) in its recent attempted sale is a sad its gas prices to Ukraine upwards to the same level ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 reflection on the decline of Ukraine’s nitrogen fer- that it sells into the rest of Europe, a point at which
tilizer industry. Until just a couple of years ago, Ukraine’s nitrogen fertilizer industry was no longer
12 Ukraine was the third largest exporter of ammonia competitive. As a result, the industry had to rely on Nitrogen project
in the world, after Russia and Trinidad, and the government subsidies or – in the case of Group DF/ listing
fifth largest exporter of urea, but that position has Ostchem, run by (now exiled) pro-Russian business-
slipped as exports have gradually dried up. man Dmitry Firtash – personal contacts with Rus-
The Ukrainian government first attempted to sia to secure more favourable rates. Since 2014
14 sell OPZ, which has 900,000 t/a of ammonia and Ukraine has gradually let gas supply contracts with ■ COVER FEATURE 3

660,000 t/a of urea capacity, back in 2009. How- Gazprom lapse and instead bought gas from Western
15 ever, the $624 million winning bid, by Ukrainian firm Europe secured at generous subsidised rates, now
Nortima, was disallowed by the government of Yulia amounting to two thirds of Ukraine’s imports. Even Early detection of
16 Ukraine’s Timoshenko, alleging ‘conspiracy’. The matter rested so, much of Western Europe’s gas has in turn come process risks
troubles go (aside from Nortima’s legal challenge) until the depo- from Gazprom, and even with the fall in global gas
17 sition of president Victor Yanukovich in 2014 brought prices due to the oil price crash, wholesale gas is
back much Ukraine back into serious conflict with Russia. Since currently crossing the Slovakian-Ukrainian border at
18 further then Ukraine has lost the Crimea and part of the $5.50/MMBtu. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s economy has ■ COVER FEATURE 4
east of the country to Russian-backed separatists almost halved since 2013 and it is now spending 8%
19 than 2014. and seems its economy nosedive, requiring a bail- of GDP on gas subsidies alone. The fighting in the
out from the International Monetary Fund which in east of the country has shut down two of its fertilizer
Ammonia catalysts
20 turn has led to the current round of privatisations to plants, and gas pricing and availability is affecting
try and raise money. The second attempted sale of the rest. Small wonder that investors stayed away

21 OPZ began in July 2016, but this time attracted no from the OPZ sale!
interest, and the government dropped the floor price Even if Ukraine’s disputes with Russia were to
22 for bids for a 99.6% share of the company from its end tomorrow, average gas prices in the country
original pitch of $530 million to just $200 million. were still $7.80/MMBtu for the first half of 2016,
23 Ten potential buyers were said to be “interested”.
However, OPZ still also owes $200 million to Naf-
according to Integer Research, putting it at the top
end of the cost curve for nitrogen producers, as
makes our lives more comfortable
24 togaz and Group DF over unpaid gas debts, and in gas prices had fallen further in other regions. In an Euromel®, the trademark of melamine produced at plants licensed by
spite of government attempts to assume or restruc- oversupplied market with ample coal-based supply Eurotecnica Group, the leading melamine technology provider since
ture this debt, concerns about other legal entangle- from China fighting for market share and the US re- 1978, is the sign of superior melamine quality as witnessed by licensees NITROGEN+SYNGAS
ments – including Nortima’s disallowed bid – also starting domestic plants based on cheap shale gas, the likes of QAFCO, MHTL, Grupa Azoty ZAP, KHPC, Petrochina, XLX
put investors off. OPZ was shut down during August the future for what was once the world’s third larg- Fertilizers, Hubei Yihua Chemical, Zhong Yuan Dahua and several others.
26 and September due to gas and debt disputes, losing est ammonia exporter continues to look bleak. ■ Euromel® melamine can be found in many objects that surround us, such
$300,000 per month, and while the company made as dinnerware and household appliances. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 a profit of $8.1 million in 2015, this dropped to a Euromel® brand is registered in 52 countries representing 88% of the
$16.1 million loss for 1Q 2016. OPZ’s gas contract melamine world’s consumption.
28 with Nafotgaz expires in December, and news about
renegotiation was also thin on the ground.
29 Ukraine’s troubles go back much further than
2014, however. After the breakup of the Soviet
Union, with Ukraine a net recipient of Russian gas,
fights over gas supplies and pricing have been
31 endemic, with accusations of Ukraine illegally siphon-

ing gas from transit pipelines and not paying for gas Richard Hands, Editor Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 London SE1 7SJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 TECHNOLOGY Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

4 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Web: w


3 Price trends
began to trend upwards, with the price
reaching $173/t in October.

6 Laura Cross, Senior Analyst, Integer Research, assesses price trends On the cost side, global energy prices natural gas Mike Nash, Global Business Director, IHS Chemical,
continued to rally over Q3 2016, with Euro-
and the market outlook for nitrogen. 10 assesses the market for methanol.
pean gas prices continuing to slide amid $/MMBtu Henry Hub ■ COVER FEATURE 1
increased competition and continued over-
NITROGEN tors to further idle capacity, and effectively supply, while the US gas market showed METHANOL number of firm offers. In Korea, the inven-
8 raising the urea export price floor. This has a moderate recovery in line with oil prices. tory level is very low and the spot market Nitrogen in
Explanations for the recent modest been helpful for international urea produc- The Russian border gas price in Ger- 6 The September contract natural gas refer- is tight. Domestic prices soared in line with Southeast Asia
9 uptick in urea prices are varied. Seasonal ers elsewhere. However, this glimmer of many fell by 39% year-on-year in October ence price was settled at $2.44/MMBtu China and major traders are under pres-
increases in urea demand are important, positive news may well be short-lived. In to $3.96/MMBtu. The Russian gas price 4 Natural gas, Henry Hub for Texas, and $2.85/MMBtu for Louisi- sure to find cargoes to fulfil contracts. In
10 but the role of China as a swing supplier late November, reports indicated that limits reflects Gazprom’s increasingly aggres- ana, down $0.45 from October. Methanol Taiwan, end-user inventory remains low but
means Chinese production costs have on coal output would remain in place until sive pricing policies in Europe, given the 2 demand in the Americas is at a seasonal low is still manageable. Selling indications are ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 been the main focus of attention. As one March, but this week it has been reported continued liberalisation and increased gas for construction, although the cold weather tracking the China price. Buying inter-
of several measures targeted at making that curbs will be reversed. The NDRC is competition from other suppliers. does drive anti-freeze and windshield wash est from end-users is limited since they are
Nitrogen project

12 the gas sector more transparent, China’s now saying mines will be allowed to go The largest year-on-year decrease in nitro- demand. Overall supply in the Americas is well supplied by term contracts. In South-
National Development and Reform Com- back to production rates of 330 days per gen production costs was seen in Northwest
ammonia flat, with an improvement in operating rates east Asia, local supply recovered with the listing
mission (NDRC) is reported to have liber- year until March. In addition, it has been Europe. Typical ammonia ex-works costs for for South America helping to offset a reduc- KMI and BMC units quickly returning to nor-
13 800
alised gas prices to the fertilizer sector reported that the coal supply surplus will be European producers fell by $70/t year-on- $/t tion in North American production due to
euro mal production, but, driven by the strong
from 10 November 2016. Since much of alleviated by allowing increased exports. If year to $185/t in October 2016, primarily operating upsets at Celanese/Mitsui and Chinese market, prices in Southeast Asia
14 700

China’s gas-based urea capacity is already implemented, this would likely bring a direct due to a fall in hub-based feedstock gas 600
OCI Beaumont. Trinidad and Venezuela’s also increased. Asian spot prices are gen- ■ COVER FEATURE 3
struggling, the impact of this measure on and parallel effect on the urea market. costs. Local gas benchmarks including the plants are operating at 85% of nameplate erally posted in the range of $310-335/t
15 the international urea market is likely to be In a reversal of roles, the urea market UK NBP and Belgian Zeebrugge continued
capacity, and Methanex’s Chilean unit The notional Korea price moved to
relatively insignificant. In addition, since remained firmer than the ammonia market to fall on increased competition in the Euro- 400 around 50%; as the southern hemisphere above $330/t. Early detection of
16 most of China’s urea capacity is coal- over the last quarter. The Yuzhnyy ammo- pean gas market and rise of LNG imports, 300 moves into its spring months, gas avail- The European methanol market remains process risks
based, coal market developments tend to nia benchmark notably fell below the post- including those from the US. ability should be steady as the residential low on inventory but for the time being,
17 have a more profound urea market impact. financial crisis low of $182/tonne f.o.b. In China, the ex-works urea produc-
c&f NW Europe heating load decreases. Methanex has also demand is being met with supply as required.
Government measures introduced to the which was recorded in July 2009, averag- tion cost of anthracite coal-based capacity secured additional gas supply through May Some consumers are thought to be stockpil-
18 coal sector earlier this year to deal with the ing $168/t in October 2016. The urea mar- returned to around $180/t in October 2016 0
2018 that will allow them to run at rates ing inventory ahead of the higher 1Q West ■ COVER FEATURE 4
structural over-capacity in coal production ket appeared to be firmer, as the Yuzhnyy due to higher coal prices, after falling to closer to 60% going forward. European Contract Price. IHS Markit expects
19 have had a significant effect on coal prices, urea price rebounded over Q3 2016 before $155/t in Q2 and Q3 2016. The Chinese ex- The Asian market rose in line with the the 1Q 2017 contract price to settle at an
until now. A directive to reduce the number reaching $190/t in October 2016. The works production cost was on average $2/t urea very strong Chinese market. Buying senti- increase to 4Q (e248) due to lower invento-
Ammonia catalysts
20 of days per year that coal mines can oper- modest price gains have been supported higher in October 2016 than in the previous 600 ment for Chinese domestic product was ries in Northwest Europe and the Mediter-
ate from 330 to 276, has shortened the by a seasonal uptick in urea demand, year, aided by currency depreciation of the $/t Mid-East
active especially amongst traders, and ranean, and strong prices in China, which
21 market, driving up the price of coal, cok- and China’s role as a swing supplier. The US dollar relative to the yuan. The regions 500
domestic production declined since sea- have led Middle Eastern producers to reallo-
ing coal in particular. The rise in coal costs nitrates market also seems to have picked which are typically seen as the lowest cost sonal natural gas constraints took effect all cate their inventory to Northeast Asia, where
22 has in turn squeezed Chinese coal-based up. The AN Baltic Sea benchmark followed producers historically, posted the highest 400
over China. The gas constraints will impact the demand, and subsequently price, has
nitrogen producer margins, forcing opera- the trend of urea throughout Q3 2016 and increases in typical urea ex-works costs per most of the natural gas-based facilities in been higher. The increase in coal and natu-
23 tonne in October. The typical urea ex-works
300 fob Mid-East bulk
China, and will gradually be eliminated after ral gas prices in China have led to increased
Table 1: Price indications cost per tonne in Saudi Arabia increased by January, although this will vary from region cash costs and are likely to prompt stable
$10 to $74/t in October 2016, compared to region. Operating rates were about 52% or increased methanol prices as a result;
24 Cash equivalent mid-Nov mid-Sep mid-Jul mid-May
with the same month in 2015, primarily due of nameplate capacity or 66% of effective prices in Europe should follow this rise, in

25 Ammonia ($/t) to an increase in the state fixed gas price in capacity. Coastal inventory continued to order to close any arbitrage which opens NITROGEN+SYNGAS

f.o.b. Caribbean 175 195 245 280 Saudi Arabia from 1 January 2016. N D J F M A M J J A S O decline in line with the low level of import as a result. Globally the methanol market
f.o.b. Arab Gulf 175 165 305 335 The Russian ex-works urea cost remained volume in 4Q 2016. The soaring methanol is tight and production will need to catch
26 N.W. Europe 245 230 295 358 unchanged in October 2016 on average com- price was resisted by major downstream pro- up. Both US contract prices rose sharply India 187 225 340 383 pared to the previous year, despite falling diammonium phosphate ducers. Although most methanol derivatives in December, up by $0.14/gallon for Meth- JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 over the course of this year. The industry had increased market prices in the current week, anex and $0.18/gallon for Southern Chemi-
Urea ($/t) 700
expected that the state-regulated gas price us gulfare still under great pressure from
they cal; prices in Europe will need to increase
28 f.o.b. bulk Black Sea
f.o.b. bulk Arab Gulf*
190-199 of RUB119/MMBtu would rise by 2% in line 600 squeezed margins. The average operating from the current e248 contract price in order
f.o.b. bulk Caribbean (granular) 213 194 167 215 with inflation from 1 July 2016, however the rate of MTO units is at a middle to high level to stimulate a production ramp up.
29 f.o.b. bagged China 236 196 197 209 gas price remains unchanged since 1 July 500
although major MTO producers’ margins are In India, prices continue to rise in line
2015. Ukraine benefited from the diversifica- squeezed, and the sustained increase in with the gains made in China prices.
30 DAP ($/t) 400
tion away from Russian gas imports towards methanol prices is adding great pressures Demand is still soft but market confidence
f.o.b. bulk US Gulf 323 339 340 345
competitively priced reverse gas imports from 300 to MTO producers. However, most MTO pro- is slowly returning following the turmoil
31 UAN (e/t) Europe to secure lower feedstock prices, fob US Gulf, bulk ducers have to keep running to guarantee brought by the recent demonetisation in
f.o.t. ex-tank Rouen, 30%N 145 137 135 138 coupled with a significant depreciation in the 200 the olefin downstream production. India. Iran has restarted exports to India Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 Notes: n.a. price not available at time of going to press
local currency. Ukrainian ammonia producers
In reaction to the Chinese market, the this month, having previously diverted London SE1 7SJ, England
n.m. no market * high-end granular Source: Fertilizer Week
recorded a fall in ex-works costs of $88/t N D J F M A M J J A S O price in the rest of Asia increased as well, material to China, where producers could Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 year-on-year in October 2016 to $330/t. ■ and the market remains short with a limited sell methanol for a higher price. ■
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

6 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 7 Web: w

Market outlook Nitric acid catalysts ■ CONTENTS
5 Historical price trends $/tonne
and process plants ... What’s in issue 345
1,000 1,000 1000
Methanol (Methanex, N. America)

Ammonia (fob Caribbean)
Urea prilled (fob Yuzhnyy) Methanol Nitrogen in
Southeast Asia
750 750 750
11 Ammonia

Nitrogen project
500 500 500
Total capability PGM recovery ■ COVER FEATURE 3
15 250 250

and refining services—from catalyst

Early detection of
16 process risks
17 to storage tank—anywhere, anytime
18 0 0 0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

It’s what you’d expect from a worldwide—and world class—
Source: BCInsight precious metals refining organization: Ammonia catalysts
• Low pressure drop palladium recovery
21 AMMONIA UREA operating upsets iat OCI Beaumont and gauzes—design, installation, and refining
Celanese/Mitsui in North America. Sabin maximizes platinum
22 The global ammonia market experi- At press time there had been no fur- ● Longer term, the first wave of new Ira- • Refining of PGMs from process gas

enced price increases in November

ther announcement over an Indian urea nian methanol plant capacity is due to and acid filters
recovery from the catalyst
23 due to several temporary plant shut- import tender in December, although if come onstream in the 2017-2019, time-
Sabin’s low pressure drop palladium
downs and higher gas curtailments on this were to come to fruition it would frame, including the Kaveh Methanol • Recovery of PGMs from plant residues—
24 Trinidad. likely absorb urea volumes and provide Co. facility (2.3 million t/a) in Bandar storage tanks, vacuum cleanings, recovery gauzes are
● Firmer ammonia prices during Decem- some upward support to prices going Dayyeh, as well as the Assaluyeh and
sweeps, etc. custom configured
25 ber could lead to Russian producer, into the new year. Marjan Petrochemical Cos (each 1.65 NITROGEN+SYNGAS

TogliattiAzot boosting its export avail- ● Given the Chinese government’s deci- million t/a). Subsequent capacity is
• Non-destructive cleaning of plants and to reduce down time,
ability to 100,000 tonnes per month, sion to backtrack on coal mine pro- unlikely to come onstream before
26 having previously reduced it due to duction limits until March 2017, the 2022-2024. components using on-site PGM recovery increase production,
weak margins. domestic coal price has the potential ● There is likely to be a staggered services; refining of PGMs JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 ● Prices will remain under pressure in to fall again in RMB terms, which in approach to new capacities starting
and minimize
January and February once short-term turn would lower production costs to up in Iran, as the government has • Destructive recovery of PGMs from operating costs.
28 supply tightness is resolved, although Chinese urea producers. become more cautious about “flood- redundant or decommissioned
in March, seasonal demand is likely to ● Emerging seasonal demand for spring ing” the market with methanol. Most of plant equipment
29 emerge in preparation for the spring application in Europe, the US is likely these new projects will supply the grow-
application period in both the US and to provide upward support to prices, ing demand in China, until domestic
30 Europe. outweighing downward pressure from demand increases in Iran.
● Spring demand is likely to bring positive capacity expansions in North America. ● The election of Donald Trump to the Tell us about your nitric
31 sentiment to global ammonia prices US presidency could hinder US-Iranian
although additional capacity expan- METHANOL relations, potentially making it more dif- acid processing and Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 sions in the US and South America will ● Prices have risen sharply in China and ficult for Iran to secure investment and
production applications London SE1 7SJ, England
contribute to the continued ammonia the rest of Asia on gas curtailments technology for a large-scale methanol
Scottsville, NY 14546 USA Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 oversupply in the short-term at least. which are likely to last into January, and expansion. ■
Telephone: 585-538-2194 at Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

8 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Web: w


Nitrogen Industry News
5 UNITED STATES Systems will conduct the construction himself under investigation for corruption or 7 months of the year due to feedstock heater technology is unique and proven What’s in issue 345
under a contract worth $146.5 million. The in 2014 the plant was renationalised, and restrictions. However, as an international globally and we look forward to applying it

6 Air Liquide to supply technology new facility will recycle spent nitric acid that
is generated at the plant and provide strong
since then 50% of the company has been
sold to the Chinese Henan Zhongya Hold-
project, Kafco has generally escaped the
worst of these in previous years.
to this important facility for Agrochem.”

7 for Grannus ammonia plant nitric acid to produce a range of IMX fills.
Construction began in November 2016 and
ing Group, which has provided $360 mil-
lion for the modernisation and wholesale
In a letter to the Bangladesh govern-
ment, JICA vice president Tomiyoshi said
OCP in partnership with Ethiopian
Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions will transportation costs and associated risks. is expected to be completed in 2019. revamping of the complex and conversion that restoration of gas supply to the plant
8 license Lurgi technology and provide engi- The plants also have lower natural gas to coal gasification. The first stage, which “will not only manifest your government’s government Nitrogen in
Handover for Waggaman plant
neering services for hydrogen production consumption than other modern ammonia will take production to 320,000 t/a, began commitment to further promote the ‘Japan- Morocco’s state-owned phosphate com- Southeast Asia
9 at Grannus’ new 250 t/d ammonia plant technologies, allowing for reduced operat- KBR Inc. says that it has successfully com- earlier this year and is expected to be com- Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership’ pany OCP has signed a $2.4 billion part-
in Kern County, California. Air Liquide ing costs, according to Grannus. pleted performance tests and on October pleted in 2018. The second phase, which but also help in engendering stronger nership deal with the Ethiopian Ministry
10 will provide oxygen-based Lurgi GasPOX Matthew Cox, CEO of Grannus, LLC, 13th officially handed over to operators was instigated in November this year, will confidence among Japanese investors”. of Public Enterprise, aimed at building a
technology and associated gas clean-up said “We’re delighted to partner with Air Dyno Nobel the company’s new ammonia take production to 500,000 t/a, and is However, the Minister of Power, Energy large-scale fertilizer plant in Ethiopia in the ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 technologies, including a pressure swing Liquide Global E&C Solutions in the devel- plant in Waggaman, Louisiana. The plant due to be completed in 2019. and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid has hopes of increasing fertilizer usage across
adsorption unit (PSA) to produce high opment and delivery of our first plant, as uses KBR’s Purifier ammonia technology. replied only that the Bangladeshi govern- the continent. OCP said in a press state-
12 purity hydrogen for the ammonia process. their leadership in industrial gas and KBR was also EPC contractor on the pro- TURKEY ment is committed to supplying gas “only if ment that “this game-changing partnership Nitrogen project
It will also prepare process design pack- chemical technologies coupled with their ject, and completed the work from contract
Phase-out of fertilizer production?
gas is available”. He said that LNG imports is based on a common vision between listing
ages for the gas to hydrogen process. worldwide presence significantly strength- award to handover in a record time of 42 would ameliorate the situation, but that it Morocco and Ethiopia for sustainable agri-
Grannus was formed in 2012 to ens Grannus’ market entry ability.” months with no lost time incidents over the Following Turkey’s surprise ban of nitrate would be two more years before Bangla- cultural development across Africa and
develop “next generation” ammonia tech- Chad Briggs, Vice President of Sales 5 million man-hours required. import and sale in June, which covers cal- desh became able to import LNG. reinforces economic ties between the two
14 nology, based on partial oxidation rather and Technology, Air Liquide Global E&C “We are proud of this ground-breaking cium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and potas- countries.” Fertilizer use in Africa is much ■ COVER FEATURE 3
than steam reforming, with associated Solutions said “We are proud to sup- project which showcases KBR’s ammonia sium nitrate, as well as ‘straight’ AN, Turkish UKRAINE lower than any other region of the world,
15 power generation in order to generate port Grannus with our leading industrial plant technology and EPC services,” said prime minister Binali Yildum has suggested but has considerable scope for increase.
much lower emissions levels, particularly gas and hydrogen technologies for this David Zelinski, KBR President of Onshore, that Turkey may phase out production of OPZ racks up gas debts OCP said that the first phase of the Early detection of
16 for NOx. This will be the first commercial environmentally sustainable ammonia Engineering & Construction Americas. “The chemical fertilizers altogether to prevent Ukrainian ammonia producer PJSC Odessa $2.4 billion investment will enable the pro- process risks
plant for the company, as well as the first production plant. We believe that this completion of this project demonstrates them from falling into the hands of terror- Port Plant (OPZ) – currently slated for pri- duction of 2.5 million tonnes of fertilizer
17 ammonia plant to be built in California for technology has potential in many mar- KBR’s world class project execution and ists, as reported by local media. Yildrim vatisation – has complicated that already per year through 2022, rendering Ethio-
over 60 years. The plant’s 82,500 t/a kets worldwide.” customer service capabilities.” cited agronomic as well as security reasons fraught transaction by accruing another $15 pia self-sufficient in fertilizer and creating
18 output will provide 40% of California’s Grannus intends to increase plant for the proposed switch towards more use of million in debts for gas payments to Nafto- opportunities for exports. This plant, the ■ COVER FEATURE 4
agricultural ammonia requirements once it capacity designs to ‘world-scale’ and
Dakota Gasification urea plant now biological fertilizers, but it is unclear whether gaz Ukrainy, taking the debt to $21 million. Dire Dawa Fertilizer Complex, will produce
19 becomes operational in 2019. The move expand into adjacent markets including 50% complete Yildrim is only talking about currently banned OPZ has so far paid for only 23% of the gas locally mined potash and nitrogen fertiliz-
to smaller-scale, regional based produc- hydrogen, methanol and other down- The new $500 million urea plant being con- nitrate fertilizers or all mineral fertilizers, it consumed this year. Any buyer of the unit ers derived from Ethiopian natural gas, as
Ammonia catalysts
20 tion is hoped to allow farmers to reduce stream chemicals. ■ structed at Dakota Gasification’s Beulah, and where this would leave Turkey’s con- will be required to pay the company’s debt well as consuming phosphoric acid to be
North Dakota Great Synfuels complex is siderable domestic fertilizer industry, which to Naftogaz as part of the deal. A auction for supplied by OCP, “taking full advantage
21 now 50% complete according to local press produces ammonia, urea, mono- and diam- the privatisation of the plant, with an ask- of both countries’ complementary natu-
CF starts up Donaldsonville in North America and around the world, reports. Construction work began in 2014, monium phosphate, ammonium sulphate, ing price of $200 million, is scheduled for ral resources.” The second phase of the
22 CF Industries says that the new ammonia while strengthening our cash generation but three weeks of adverse weather has triple superphosphate and NPKs, as well as December 14th 2016. Interested parties investment, with an additional $1.3 billion,
plant at the company’s Donaldsonville, now and into the future.” led to damage to the site which incurred ammonium nitrate. are said to include local firms PJSC Ukrnaf- will increase total production to 3.8 million
23 Louisiana nitrogen complex started-up in Total annual gross ammonia capacity three months of delays on the first phase toburinnia and Glenshee Holdings Ltd. t/a by year 2025, according to the state-
September 2016, and has now achieved at Donaldsonville is now 4.3 million t/a, of construction. PAKISTAN ment, allowing exports into the regional
24 consistent, stable operation at its name- up from 3.1 million t/a. The Donaldsonville EGYPT market. Tonnages for production capacities
plate capacity of approximately 3,600 t/d. complex has flexibility to switch produc- TAJIKISTAN Concern over Kafco shutdown of individual components were not given.
Foster Wheeler to supply steam
25 At time of writing, the plant had produced tion from merchant ammonia to upgraded
Chinese investment to increase
Japan’s International Corporation Agency NITROGEN+SYNGAS

50,000 tonnes of ammonia since start-up. products, and, with the commissioning and (JICA) has expressed concern over the shut- reformer INDIA
This is the final new plant to be commis- start-up of the new ammonia plant, iis now urea output down of of the multi-national Karnaphuli Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a
26 sioned as part of CF’s capacity expansion the largest nitrogen facility in the world. The OJSC Azot/Tajik Azot nitrogen com- Fertiliser Company Ltd (Kafco) ammonia- contract by the Egyptian National Company
Technology bids in for Talcher
at Donaldsonville, and – along with three plex in Sarband has begun the second urea plan at Chittagongt. The shutdown for Fertilizers and Chemicals (Agrochem) to Bids have been received to supply the tech- JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 similar sized ammonia plants in Saudi Ara-
Nitric acid recovery plant at phase of its planned revamp and expan- was forced by a suspension of natural supply materials and detailed engineering nology for the new $1.3 billion Talcher coal
bia, is the largest ammonia plant by name- munitions factory sion project, which will see urea produc- gas feedstock supply to the unit, which is for a new steam reformer heater for its gasification-based ammonia-urea plant at
28 plate capacity in the world. UK defence and security company BAE tion reach 500,000 t/a. The complex was a joint venture between governments and fertiliser facility in Alexandria, Egypt. The Odisha. Shell, General Electric and Thys-
“The start-up of the new ammonia plant Systems is building a facility to recover originally built under the auspices of the private companies from Bangladesh, Japan, reformer, based on Foster Wheeler’s Ter- senKrupp AG, as well as a fourth, unnamed
29 signals the completion of our Donaldson- nitric acid for insensitive munitions at the Soviet Union in the 1960s, and consists Denmark and the Netherlands. Kafoc was race WallTM design, will operate as the company, have all reportedly submitted
ville capacity expansion project,” said Tony Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennes- of 110,000 t/a of ammonia and 180,000 forced to close in June after the govern- primary reformer for Agrochem’s 250 t/d bids for the unit, which were invited by
30 Will, president and chief executive officer, see. Construction of the Insensitive Muni- t/a of urea capacity in two trains. It was ment told gas suppliers to turn off the taps. ammonia plant, based around a relocated state-owned Projects Development India Ltd
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. “With all three tions Weak Nitric Acid Recovery Facility is a bought by Ukrainian fertilizer magnate Bangladesh is chronically short of gas, and unit. The scope of work is scheduled for (PDIL) in September. The unit is planned to
31 new plants from the expansion running major part of a multi-year effort to increase Dmitry Firtash in 2002 and became part often diverts gas from fertilizer production to completion at the end of 2016. produce 1.3 million t/a of urea, considerably
consistently at or above nameplate capac- the production capacity of Insensitive Muni- of the Group DF/Ostchem group of com- power stations during the summer to make Jonathan Lewis, CEO of Amec Foster helping with India’s growing deficit in urea Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 ities, Donaldsonville’s expanded asset tion eXplosives, or IMX, which are designed panies, but it was forced to cease opera- up for electricity shortfalls resulting from low Wheeler said: “We have a proven track production. The government has reportedly London SE1 7SJ, England
base and unmatched logistics capabilities to be more stable and safer to handle than tions in 2008 due to lack of natural gas water levels in hydroelectric dams. Many of record in the design and supply of fired set a deadline of November 20th 2016 for Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 are ideally positioned to serve customers conventional munitions. Operator BAE feedstock availability. After Firtash found the country’s urea plants are closed for 6 heaters. Our proprietary terrace wall fired selection of the technology licensor. ■
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

10 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 11 Web: w

Syngas News
5 MOZAMBIQUE What’s in issue 345
6 Bids in for floating LNG project, possible GTL to follow
Bids have been submitted for financing SACE and France’s Coface. The upstream gas from Coral. Eni is also currently in dis- ■ COVER FEATURE 1
of Eni’s $9 billion Coral floating liquefied portion of the project will be financed by the cussions with ExxonMobil over selling half of
natural gas (FLNG) project in Mozam- Area 4 consortium on balance sheet. Both Eni’s 50% stake. Andarko is also developing
8 bique, although questions have been the government and operator Eni are con- a $20 billion, 12 million t/a onshore LNG Nitrogen in
raised about the total value of the loan fident a final investment decision on the project, with a final investment decision Southeast Asia
9 given the country’s ongoing attempts to 3.3 million t/a Coral South project can be expected in Q4 2017, once land use issues
restructure its $1.7 billion of commercial reached before the end of the year, despite with affected properties are resolved.
10 debt – Mozambique’s national oil com- Mozambique’s financial crisis. Longer term, Mozambique’s govern-
pany has a 10% stake in the Coral project. At present, the development consortium ment has plans to develop downstream ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 According to Interfax, Eni is looking is not offering to land gas for use by Mozam- gas-based chemical capacity in Mozam-
for around $4 billion from project finance bique – the gas will all be exported from the bique using gas from the offshore fields,
12 banks for the $5-6 billion FLNG vessel FLNG tender. However, success will unlock with urea, power and a 38,000 bbl/d Nitrogen project
itself. Banks will be lending under the cover the larger onshore Mamba LNG project, also Shell GTL plant all under development. A listing
of guarantees from export credit agencies being developed by Eni, from which Eni will gas price of $2.65/MMBtu is reportedly
including China Exim, Korea Exim, Italy’s give Mozambique its equivalent ‘share’ of the under discussion. ■
WORLD the agreement, CB&I will become a licensor process uses a novel transport reactor
15 for eight of Haldor Topsoe’s syngas-based design and a high capacity, regenerable,
LNG is a “second revolution” technologies, which complement CB&I’s attrition-resistant sorbent, and can achieve Early detection of
16 existing technology portfolio of more than up to 99.9% sulphur removal from syngas process risks
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has 90 technologies and 3,500 patents. CB&I at temperatures as high as 650°C and over
17 changed its previously cautious tone on the also will work with Haldor Topsoe on the a wide range of sulphur concentrations and
liquefied natural gas market, as it comes to engineering, procurement and construction operating pressures. The process was dem-
18 represent an ever-larger share of gas trade. of plants in North America. onstrated on a 60,000 Nm3/h synthesis ■ COVER FEATURE 4
At the launch of the IEA’s new World Energy “This strategic alliance expands CB&I’s gas stream in a coal/petcoke gasification
19 Outlook, director Fatih Birol said that US portfolio to include syngas-based technolo- plant at Tampa Electric’s Polk Power Plant
shale gas had been the gas industry’s first gies and gives us additional competitive in Florida, where it operated successfully for
Ammonia catalysts
20 revolution, and LNG would be its second. offerings for the industry,” said Patrick K. more than 3,500 hours. The integration of
He pointed in particular to the huge wave Mullen, CB&I’s Chief Operating Officer. this technology with a downstream activated- Topsoe Furnace Manager
21 of new LNG capacity due on-stream from “We have a long history of technology amine carbon capture process enables fur-

You’ve never seen

the US and Australia over the next few collaboration with Haldor Topsoe and are ther reduction of total sulphur in the syngas
22 years, followed by Mozambique, Tanzania confident that through our combined exper- to sub-ppmv concentrations, suitable for
and Canada. This would place global LNG tise, this new partnership will bring tremen- stringent synthesis gas applications such

your furnace like this

23 trade ahead of that of pipeline gas, with dous value to our customers.” as chemicals, fertilizers, and fuels.
“serious implications” for world gas trade. “Casale already has a strong presence in
The IEA is projecting LNG output to grow by
Licensing agreement on fertilizer and methanol plants based on gasi-
24 desulphurisation technology
135 bcm in the next 25 years, with 55% fication, where we are a leader in the supply

25 of this coming by 2021, and subsequent Casale SA has signed a global licensing of sour gas shift and synthesis technolo- NITROGEN+SYNGAS

expansions mainly coming from brownfield and cooperation agreement with non-profit gies,” said Ermanno Filippi, chief technology How often do you physically examine your furnace? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have access to an up-to-
expansions. In spite of oversupply and cost research institute RTI International which officer of Casale. “This agreement allows us date tube wall temperature and a picture of every burner whenever you need it from the safety of
26 overruns, the market continues to move for- grants Casale the rights to be the exclusive to further expand our offering in these plants your control room? Well, now you can, thanks to the Topsoe Furnace Manager.
ward, with new floating production, regasi- sub-licensor for RTI’s warm gas desulphuri- in the field of synthesis gas cleaning and JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 fication and storage units allowing access sation process technology for coal and other conditioning, and to offer the warm gas des-
Online monitoring protects your furnace 24/7 and ensures operation at ideal conditions in a safe
environment. Early warnings of failures will provide you with peace of mind and protect your investment.
to new markets, and pricing and contract high-sulphur feedstocks. The technology ulphurisation process for IGCC (integrated
28 changes. Birol said LNG would have to be enables high-sulphur gas streams, such as gasification combined cycle) and other gas- Advantages of the Topsoe Furnace Manager:
priced “competitively” with coal in order to synthesis gas from coal or petcoke gasifica- ification-based units. This agreement builds • Asset protection
29 secure market share in Asia. tion, to be cleaned at elevated temperatures upon a very successful long-standing rela-
• Operational excellence
(250-650°C), reducing or eliminating the tionship between Casale and RTI.”
30 UNITED STATES need for substantial gas cooling and expen- • Energy efficiency improvements
sive heat recovery systems. This increases
Memorandum signed for hydrogen • Safety improvements
31 CB&I signs alliance agreement with overall process efficiency, reduces green- process commercialisation Scan the code or go to
Haldor Topsoe house gas emissions, and also reduces Hazer Group Ltd has signed a non-binding Contact our experts today Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 CB&I has signed a long-term agreement with capital and operating costs of the entire gas memorandum of understanding (MoU) London SE1 7SJ, England
Haldor Topsoe to expand CB&I’s licensing clean-up block by up to 50% compared to with Pan American Hydrogen Inc,a Texas- Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 capabilities in the syngas sphere. As part of other technologies, according to RTI. The based global supplier of modular hydrogen
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577
12 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January- February 2017 Web: w


generation plants, to jointly develop and driven by strong demand for plastics and TRINIDAD & TOBAGO SOUTH AFRICA reported a $1 billion loss for 2014-15, PetroSA says that it began using imported What’s in issue 345
commercially deploy the Hazer Process for other chemicals, particularly in China. albeit improved to a ‘mere’ $30 million loss heavy condensate as a feed in 2Q 2016,
hydrogen generation. The process enables Honeywell UOP’s Advanced MTO process Methanol production hit by gas Fluor to build oxygen train at for 2015-16. Output at the GTL plant, pre- enabling it to debottleneck condensate pro-
6 the conversion of natural gas and similar combines UOP/Hydro’s established MTO shortages Secunda viously known as Mossgas, fell 17% over cessing capacity – previously 12,000 bbl/d,

feedstocks into hydrogen and high qual- process with the Total/UOP Olefin Crack- the year to 7.9 million barrels, barely half but aiming to reach 18,000 bbl/d in 2016- ■ COVER FEATURE 1
ity graphite, using iron ore as a process ing Process to significantly increase yields Trinidad’s methanol production reached Fluor Corp says that it has been awarded of the site’s 45,000 bbl/d capacity, as a 17, and ultimately 25,000 bbl/d. The board
catalyst. The focus of the collaboration and feedstock efficiency. At the heart of its lowest level for two years in Septem- a contract by Sasol Group for the engineer- result of continuing feedstock constraints. has also approved a funding and strategic
8 initially will be on small, pilot plant scale the technology are proprietary catalysts ber according to Ministry of Energy and ing, procurement and construction (EPC) of Production has come under extreme pres- partnership strategy to enable the company Nitrogen in
projects capable of producing 0.1 tonnes/ which make it possible to efficiently adjust Energy Industries figures. Production of the Additional Oxygen Capacity Train project sure in recent years as a result of depleting to pursue strategic partners, particularly from Southeast Asia
9 day of hydrogen, with the scope for further the ratio of propylene and ethylene pro- methanol in September was 330,000 at its Secunda plant in South Africa, for an gas resources, exacerbated by the failure hydrocarbon-rich countries in Africa, the Mid-
development of larger-scale opportuni- duced so operators can most effectively tonnes, down 6% from August’s 351,000 undisclosed sum. Fluor will book the con- of an initiative known as Project Ikhwezi to dle East, Brazil, Russia, India and China. An
10 ties. The two companies will also jointly meet demand for those products. tonnes, and the lowest level for 2015-16. tract value in the third quarter of 2016. The replenish gas resources. The run of low oil expression of interest has been issued for
develop a technical roadmap for integra- The figure was 25% down on September Additional Oxygen Capacity Train 17 project and product prices has also been a major industry participants to take equity in some ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 tion of the Hazer technology into standard UNITED KINGDOM for the previous year, when production comprises the construction and commis- drain on the company’s resources. of the group’s upstream assets. ■
hydrogen generation units as designed by was 438,000 tonnes. Overall methanol sioning of the world’s largest air separation
12 Pan American. Johnson Matthey wins IChemE award production for the first three quarters of unit at the Secunda Synfuels Operations Nitrogen project
Renewable hydrogen plant
Johnson Matthey’s innovative process tech- 2016 was 3.56 million tonnes, as com- site. Fluor will provide EPC of the outside listing
nology for methanol production has been pared to 4.07 million tonnes for 2015, a battery limits facilities for this project includ-
The city of San Bernardino, California, awarded the Outstanding Achievement in 12.5% fall. The Trinidad & Tobago Metha- ing the integration of Train 17’s product
has entered into a strategic partnership Chemical and Process Engineering Award nol Company (TTMC) train 1, with a capac- streams with other live operations. These
14 with Hydrogenics Corporation to build by the Institute of Chemical Engineers ity of 480,000 t/a, has been down since include high pressure oxygen, high pressure ARE YOU AT ■ COVER FEATURE 3
North America’s largest 100% renew- (IChemE) at the IChemE Global Awards, April, while the 580,000 t/a M4 unit did and low pressure nitrogen as well as dry air.
15 able hydrogen plant in Palm Springs. The held in Manchester on November 3rd. not produce during September, while the Also included in the scope is the supply of RISK FOR
2.5 MW ‘zero impact production’ hydro- The technology uses a gas heated 1.9 million t/a M5000 plant was operating electricity with associated infrastructure and Early detection of
16 gen facility will use Hydrogenics’ proton reformer to save energy, cut costs and at less than 30% capacity for the month. utilities upgrades to the air separation unit. UNPLANNED process risks
exchange membrane (PEM) electrolys- deliver a step change reduction in carbon Gas curtailments have been the reason “Fluor is bringing its proven integrated DOWNTIME?
ers to convert wind and solar energy into dioxide emissions during methanol produc- for the production decline. The country’s solutions approach to support this pro-
renewable hydrogen. Construction is set tion and is the result of over 20 years of gas production actually increased by 16% ject’s advancement,” said Al Collins,
18 to begin in 2017, and the first phase will research. It won the category against com- in September to 3.2 billion cfd, but this is president of Fluor’s Energy & Chemicals ■ COVER FEATURE 4
produce 1 tonne per day of hydrogen, petition from Shell and Ferrari for Industry 15% down on the previous year’s figure. business in Europe, Africa and Middle
19 allowing StratosFuel to distribute enough Project of the Year at the global awards East. “We are leveraging our extensive
renewable hydrogen to refuel hundreds ceremony and then went on to win the AUSTRALIA knowledge of the Secunda facility and our
Ammonia catalysts
20 of fuel cell electric vehicles in southern overall prize of Outstanding Achievement in innovative global procurement and design
California. Chemical and Process Engineering, beat- Japanese-backed project for approaches to develop a capital-efficient In today’s competitive syngas markets, the costs
21 ing 120 entries that made the final stage hydrogen from coal solution for our client.” associated with unplanned downtime are high.
CHINA of the awards. Japan’s $400 million push to run the Tokyo “This significant award will allow Fluor
22 Jilin Connell to license MTO
Olympics on hydrogen-powered vehicles to demonstrate its integrated solutions Quest Integrity Group’s Reformer Care solution is an integrity
INDONESIA has led to a Kawasaki Heavy Industries approach and ability to execute lump- management system for the entire steam reformer. Our proprietary
23 technology project to use Australian coal to generate sum EPC projects with excellence,” said inspection technologies capture 100% of the data for the internal
Honeywell UOP says that Jilin Connell Feasibility study on methanol project hydrogen for shipment to Japan. The so- Alejandro Escalona, general manager,
and external tube surfaces. Combined with our advanced
Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. will become the Petronas has signed a memorandum of called Kawasaki Hydrogen Road aims to Fluor South Africa. “The benefits to both
24 engineering analysis and assessments, Quest Integrity enables
ninth company to license its ‘Advanced’ understanding with the Sarawak State gasify brown coal from Victoria to produce the project and to Sasol include schedule
you to minimize the risk of unplanned downtime and make
25 methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process to con- Government-owned corporation Yayasan hydrogen, which would then be shipped predictability, cost certainty, reduced risk, NITROGEN+SYNGAS

vert domestic coal resources to ethylene Hartanah Bumiputera Sarawak (YHBS) to to Japan. The project would also feature single-point accountability, optimization of confident real-time operating decisions.
and propylene, precursors for plastics jointly conduct a pre-feasibility study for carbon capture and storage (CCS) to deal commercial process, improved interfaces
26 manufacture. The new plant, scheduled a proposed methanol plant project in Bin- with the carbon dioxide liberated from the and reduced cost for the owner. This award • Failure mechanisms identified and quantified
for completion in 2017, will be located in tulu, Sarawak. The study will be conducted process, to be pumped into depleted res- marks the continuation of a successful • Fitness-for-service and remaining life assessments in JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 Jilin City in Jilin Province, and will convert to assess the overall technical and com- ervoirs in the Bass Strait. The government relationship that has spanned more than accordance to API 579/ASME FFS-1
coal-based methanol into 300,000 t/a of mercial viability of developing a methanol of the state of Victoria is said to be inter- half a century and includes some of South • Temperature correction software for more accurate tube
28 ethylene and propylene. The new plant’s and derivatives complex at the Samalaju ested in the project as a means of using Africa’s landmark projects.” temperature measurement
offtake will be supplied to ethylene oxide Industrial Park, 65 km from Bintulu. Pet- coal which will no longer be required by the
29 and propylene oxide manufacturers cur- ronas is also aiming to build an ammonia- Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe
Mossel Bay to switch from gas to
Ensure your steam reformer is operating at full capacity –
rently operating in the same industrial urea complex at the same site as part of Valley, due for closure in March 2017. condensate for longer.
30 park. Jilin Connell was established in the Sarawak Government’s plans to trans- At the moment the project is at the South African national oil company Pet-
November 2006 and its product portfolio form the site into a regional petrochemi- feasibility study stage, with Kawasaki, Iwa- roSA, says that it is planning to use more
31 currently includes aniline, nitrobenzene, cal hub, and recently signed a heads of tani, J-Power and Shell Japan working in heavy condensate as a feedstock at its
nitric acid and ammonia. It also operates agreement with developer Huchems Fine collaboration with the governments of the gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility at Mossel Bay, Southbank House, Black Prince Road
a 60,000 m3/hour coal gasification unit. Chemical Malaysia (Huchems) for the sup- state of Victorian and the Australian fed- as domestic gas resources dwindle. The CHALLENGE CONVENTION London SE1 7SJ, England
Global demand for ethylene and propyl- ply of 58 million cfd of natural gas to the eral government on the front end engineer- switch forms part of a planned turna- Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 ene is growing 4-5% per year, with growth nitrogen plant. ing design (FEED) study. round for the loss-making company, which
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

14 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January- February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January- February 2017 15
www.nitrogenandsyngas.com1/25/2016 8:35:35 AM Web: w
Nitrogen Syngas Feb 2016.indd 1

Save $95 when you ■ CONTENTS
4 Save $95bywhen
register you
July 14
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has hired ardship and sustainability programmes, dairy science and agricultural sciences, What’s in issue 345
5 Dr Sally Flis as its Director of Agronomy.
This will be a new position which the Insti-
but also provides guidance to TFI’s gov-
ernment and public affairs departments
Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL) has
Save $95bywhen
July 14
6 tute says has been created in order to regarding relevant policy, legislation, publi- announced that its board of directors has
register by July 14
support agronomic efforts related to the cations and outreach. appointed Asher Grinbaum as the compa- ■ COVER FEATURE 1
adoption of its 4R Nutrient Stewardship Dr Flis has more than 15 years’ worth ny’s interim CEO, effective from September


practices across the US. of experience working in agriculture, most 11th. Mr Grinbaum’s appointment follows
8 “In the last six years, adoption and recently as the feed and crop support the resignation of Stefan Borgas as CEO Nitrogen in
support for the 4R Nutrient Stewardship specialist at Dairy One in Ithaca, New and member of ICL’s board earlier in the Southeast Asia

Attend the SAVE THE inDATE

9 program has grown tremendously, and
we continue to see widespread growth
York, where she provided technical sup-
port for three laboratories and developed
month. Until recently, Mr Grinbaum served
as executive vice president and as the chief
Attend the 62nd Annual Safety in Ammonia Plants and
10 as growers, the fertilizer industry work to reference materials for use by animal operating officer (COO) of the company. Mr 62nd Annual
Related SafetySymposium
Facilities Ammonia Plants and
increase yields while minimising environ- nutritionists, agronomists and producers. Grinbaum will act as interim CEO until such ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 mental impact,” said Chris Jahn, TFI Presi-
dent. “The addition of Sally to the team
Previously, she was responsible for devel-
oping 35 nutrient management plans in
time as a permanent CEO is appointed.
Mr Grinbaum, a resident of Israel’s
Attend10the Related
- 14,62nd
2017 Facilities
• Marriott
Annual atSafety Symposium
the Brooklyn Bridge • Brooklyn,
in Ammonia PlantsNewandYork
September 10 - 14, 2017 • Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge • Brooklyn, New York Nitrogen project
12 gives us the needed bandwidth and experi-
ence to continue to support TFI members,
New York and Vermont, while also working
to help plan large-scale nutrient manage-
Negev region, has worked at ICL for over
40 years, during which time he has held a Related Facilities Symposium listing
13 growers, and other stakeholder organisa- ment initiatives in Vermont. She received number of senior management positions. The Ammonia Safety Symposium is dedicated to making the plants that manufacture ammonia and
tions in their implementation of 4R princi- her Ph.D. in plant and soil science at the He began his employment as an engineer September 10 - 14, 2017 • Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge • Brooklyn, New York
ples in the field.” University of Vermont, and her dissertation at ICL’s Bromine Compounds unit, and
related chemicals
The Ammonia as safe
Safety as possible.
Symposium is dedicated to making the plants that manufacture ammonia and
14 In this role, Dr Flis will provide guidance focused on the effects of copper sulfate since then he has held a variety of man- related
• Learn more
chemicals about
as process
safe plant safety
as possible. ■ COVER FEATURE 3
and support for 4R Nutrient Stewardship used in dairy footbaths on manure slurry agement positions, including CEO of ICL
15 The•Ammonia Safety
Meet leading Symposium
industry is and
partners dedicated
making the plantsammonia
manufacture that manufacture
and relatedammonia
chemicals and
initiatives and industry efforts related to ecology, soil copper fractions, and plant Fertilizers from 2004 to 2007, and, prior • Learn
more about
chemicals as
safe as
safety Early detection of
fertilizer use in the field and for directing growth and composition. She completed thereto, CEO of ICL Industrial Products. He Listen to high-quality presentations on safety aspects of ammonia plants and related facilities
16 agronomic 4R initiatives with stakeholders. her master’s and bachelors’ degrees at holds a BA in mechanical engineering and •• Meet leading industry partners and experts who manufacture ammonia and related chemicals process risks
This position primarily supports TFI’s stew- the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an MBA from Ben Gurion University. ■ •• Learn
Listen more
Roundtable to about process
plant safety
will encourage openonexchange
safety aspects of ammonia
and discussion onplants andoperational
catalyst related facilities
17 • Meet leading industry partners and experts who manufacture ammonia and related chemicals
Roundtable integrity
sessions and
will industry
open exchange and discussion on catalyst operational issues,
Calendar 2017 JULY
• Listen to high-quality presentations on safety aspects of ammonia plants and related facilities
mechanical integrity and industry incidents.
You will leave with concrete examples and ideas on how to avoid or manage a potential plant incident,
19 Roundtable
as well ansessions will
of encourage open exchange and discussion on catalyst operational issues,
willas overview available products to ensure safety measures.
mechanicalleave with concrete
integrity examples
and industry and ideas
incidents. on how to avoid or manage a potential plant incident, Ammonia catalysts
9-10 24-27 Contact: Sue Appleton,
20 5th IMPCA Mississippi Conference
as well as an overview of available products to ensure safety measures.
SynGas Associtation Meeting 2017, Johnson Matthey Plc,
America, NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, USA
You will leave with concrete examples and ideas on how to avoid or manage a potential plant incident,
21 Contact: IMPCA,
TULSA, Oklahoma, USA PO Box 1, Belasis Avenue, Billingham,
For more
as well information
as an overview of about theproducts
available 62nd Annual Safety
to ensure safetyinmeasures.
Ammonia Plants and Related
Contact: SynGas Association Cleveland, TS23 1LB, UK
Avenue de Tervueren 270 Tervurenlaan, Tel: +1 225 922 5000 Email: Facilities
For more Symposium, pleasethe
information about contact Ilia F. Killeen
62nd Annual Safetyatin646-495-1316 or
Ammonia Plants and Related
1150 Brussels, Belgium. Web:
Tel: +32 (0) 2 741 86 83 SEPTEMBER Facilities Symposium, please contact Ilia F. Killeen at 646-495-1316 or
Fax: +32 (0) 2 741 86 84 MAY
10-14 For more information about the 62nd Annual Safety in Ammonia Plants and Related
24 22-24
62nd AIChE Annual Safety in Ammonia Facilities Symposium, please contact Ilia F. Killeen at 646-495-1316 or
23-24 85th IFA Annual Conference,
Plants and Related Facilities Symposium,
25 IFA Production and International Trade MARRAKECH, Morocco NITROGEN+SYNGAS
Conference, PARIS, France Contact: IFA Conference Service,
Contact: AIChE Customer Service
26 Contact: IFA Conference Service 28 rue Marbeuf,
Tel: +1 800 242 4363/
Tel: +33 1 53 93 05 00 75008 Paris, France.
+1 212 591 8100 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 Tel: +33 1 53 93 05 00
27-30 Email:
Fax: +1 212 591 8888
28 IFA Global Safety Summit, AMMAN, Jordan
Contact: IFA Conference Service OCTOBER
29 Tel: +33 1 53 93 05 00 29-30
Email: 1-6
International Fertiliser Society Technical
30 27-March 2 Conference, LONDON, UK Ammonium Nitrate/Nitric Acid Conference,
Contact: International Fertiliser Society, AUSTIN, Texas, USA
Ntrogen+Syngas 2017, LONDON, UK
31 Contact: CRU Events PO Box 12220, Colchester, Contact: Hans Reuvers, BASF,
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7903 2444 CO1 9PR, UK. Karl Hohenwarter, Borealis Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7903 2172 Tel: +44 1206 851819 Email: London SE1 7SJ, England
Email: Email: Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
© 2017 AICHE 0283_17 • 01 . 17
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577
© 2017 AICHE 0283_17 • 01 . 17 Web: w
16 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017
© 2017 AICHE 0283_17 • 01 . 17



Plant Manager+ What’s in issue 345

● The outlet temperature of E-7 (process) is optimum at about ● Distillation tower (C-2) feed check ammonia wt-%
5 78-80°C. ● Check water balance of vacuum section (i.e. steam to booster
● The bottom temperature of C-1 should be 75-82°C. ejector)
6 ● Cold water to C-3/E-11 (inerts washing column) is increased.

Recently we carried out a modification to C-3 (inerts washing col- ● Check also upstream.
Problem No. 40 Medium pressure absorber in Saipem urea plant umn): ammoniacal water was taken from E-8 (LP condenser). The
following advantages were noticed: If you have sufficient margin in TV 101 then reduce the outlet
8 The function of the medium pressure (MP) absorber is to sepa- MP decomposer/ MP absorber ammonia
liquid NH3 ● C-1 temperature control; temperature to 70°C. But the inlet temperature must be watched Nitrogen in
process soln separator from BL
rate pure ammonia from ammonium carbamate before both of from stripper vacuum
to vent stack
● reflux to C-1 reduced by 2 m3/hr. i.e. reduction of recycling – design is 40°C but you reduced to 35°C. Southeast Asia
9 these streams are recycled to the synthesis section. Control MP steam+
from LP
to 1st vac
system CW CW
condensate flow;
of the process conditions of the MP absorber is one of the key poser CW ● LP pressure control and the total cold water flow to C-4 (LP Shahbaz Soomro from FFC, Pakistan joins the discussion: What
condensate CW
control parameters in a Saipem urea plant. CO2 carryover to inerts washing column) is stopped; about flushing of the C1 trays? Were there no problems of C1
the ammonia receiver is not permitted in the process as it will to LP
decomposer to 1st
receiver absorber ● V-3 (L.P carbonate solution tank) level control; trays choking after this modification?
vacuum CW CW
11 create corrosion problems and upset conditions in the ammo- concen-
MP condenser ● P-7 (inerts washing ammoniacal pump) now stopped the solu-
nia recovery and pumping system. This round table discussion carbonate soln
tion transfer by deferential pressure of MP and LP; Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India replies: After
12 considers the problems and solutions in this process section.
from soln tank to carbamate (HP)
condenser reactor feed pump to ammonia preheater
● power saving due to stopping the motor. this modification the temperature of the 3rd tray (from top) came Nitrogen project
down drastically. High temperature favours the carryover of CO2. listing
Muhammad Umar Munir from Pakarab Fertilizer, Pakistan pro- To date, there is no problem of choking and this modification is
Nasir Hussain from Pak Arab Fertilizers Multan, Pakistan starts 72-80°C. If the bottom temperature is below 70°C the ammonia vides more figures and information: That clarifies a lot. I’ll come recommended by Saipem. In India, two plants have been imple-
the round table discussion: Please tell me about problems with will not evaporate and goes to the HP carbamate pump leading to back once I get lab results, but in the meantime I would like to mented with this scheme.
14 the medium pressure absorber in a Saipem urea plant. What is the cavitation risks. For the complete troubleshooting process refer to show you the operating conditions from this morning: ■ COVER FEATURE 3
allowable CO2 carryover to the ammonia receiver? the website. The tray temperatures are okay so I am not expecting any carry Manikanta Vema from Kribho Fertilizers, India asks for further
15 over and the higher middle temperature is probably due to the information: Thank you for the information about your C3/E-11
Siddharth S from TATA Chemicals ltd, India replies: High tempera- Muhammad Umar Munir from Pakarab Fertilizer, Pakistan pro- same phenomenon as the bottom one. modification. I would like to know what the overall effect is on the Early detection of
16 tures above the first tray and high levels and/or partial choking of vides more information and asks another question: The MP total steam as a result of this modification apart from the power process risks
Temperature, °C Design Operating
the trays may cause CO2 carryover from the MP absorber. If the absorber (C-1) at our plant has a bottom temperature of ~82- saving of the P-7 motor?
17 problem persists there could also be some passing between the 84°C. The middle tray temperature is also high i.e. 60°C but the
Bottom 70-75 82.0
Middle 45-50 55.0
joints of the tray segments and inlet pipe sparger joints (gasket top tray temperatures are okay. I have requested the lab results Tray 1 45-50 49.0
Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India replies:
18 may be damaged). Proper sealing on the joints is a must. This and will share them with you but according to the sheet prepared Tray 2 40-46 45.0
The following advantages were observed: ■ COVER FEATURE 4
may be checked during shutdown by observing the water retention by Prem Baboo, there is a probability of CO2 carryover. The correc- ● Water reduced in the process by 1.0-1.5 m3/hr.
Tray 3 40-45 42.0
19 period on the trays (normal retention time for water should be more tive action recommends checking the E-7 temperature. I carried ● Reflux reduced in C-1 (MP absorber) by about 2.0-3.0 m3/hr.
than 20 minutes). During normal operation there should be no CO2 out this check and it is running at 82°C (E-7 outlet).
Vapour overhead line 40-45 47.0
● Overall (steam to distillation, steam to LPD, etc.) LS (low pres-
Ammonia catalysts
20 carryover to the ammonia receiver. My question is: What is the optimum temperature at the E-7 These are the results of the MP absorber bottom effluent: sure steam 4.0 bar) reduced 2.0-3.0 t/hr. Also LS generation
outlet? Also, is there any other reason that could contribute to NH3 44 wt-%, CO2 26.7 wt-%, H2O 29.3 wt-%. in E-5 (HP carbamate condenser) increased by 1+1 =2 t/hr.
21 Girish Prakash from TATA Chemicals Ltd., Babrala, India shares this observation? The tray temperatures corresponding to these results are: ● Waste water feed reduced by 1.5 to 3.0 m3/hr.
more experiences: Level fluctuations in the column during start- Bottom: 86°C; Tray 1: 54°C; Tray 2: 47°C, and other temperatures ● KS (105 ata) reduced by 0.5 to 1.0 t/hr.

22 up/upset conditions are very common for this equipment. You Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India replies to the are the same as given by you.
need to pay attention to the actual liquid level in the column. question and shares a valuable document: Good question. The Apparently, there is an increasing trend of C-1 bottom tem- The above modification was only carried out in line-II Plant (expan-
23 bottom temperature 82-84°C is not a problem – it is slightly higher peratures. Moreover, the water content seems to be on the high sion), line-I modification approval under progress.
Mohd Saiful Mohd Sofian from PC FK, Malaysia raises a ques- than the design temperature of 75°C. It is beneficial because the side with relatively less ammonia. This means there is minimal
tion: Has anyone implemented any improvements in this unit? higher the temperature the more ammonia is evaporated from the chances of P-2 cavitation but what impact does a higher water Manikanta Vema from Kribho Fertilizers, India asks a new
There is a patented technology claiming to be able to eliminate bottom to the top and the less recycle there is. The top tempera- content have? question: After this P-7 modification, have you faced any problems

25 this problem. Does anyone have any more information? ture is OK. The 2nd tray temperature being higher is not a problem with C-1 tray temperatures, because the P-7 water helps to flush NITROGEN+SYNGAS

and is likely due to the fact that you have more water going to C-3 Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India shares more the trays to avoid partial choking?
Girish Prakash from TATA Chemicals Ltd., Babrala, India explains (inert washing column). This ammoniacal water is increasing the information: The higher percentage of water may be due to distur-
26 what he has done in his plant: We have made internal improve- 2nd tray temperature. bances in the common section. If your top temperature of C-1 is Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India answers to the
ments without any external help. If you have any particular thing in The E-7 (MP condenser) process outlet design temperature is maintained there is no problem at all. The main sources of water question: After P-7 (aqueous ammonia pump) stopped we did not JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 mind, please share so that we can also benefit. 78°C and the cooling water outlet design temperature is 66°C. E-7 for the ammonium carbonate solution tank are: experience any problems of trays choking. This ammoniacal water
is the critical equipment item, where control of sedimentation of ● Common section (waste water section) reflux accumulator was taken from tray No 2 (from top). Due to absorption the tem-
28 Azad Panchal from GNFC, India asks a question: Can anyone tell the cooling water is important which is influenced by the opening ammonia wt-% is low: design is 35 wt-% but in practice 32-35 wt-%. peratures of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th trays (from the top) were running
me why the upstream temperature is kept as high as 88-90°C in of control valve TV 101. If the TV 101 opening is reduced there is ● Your LP section pressure is low resulting in water carryover higher, so the possibility of CO2 carryover was greater than now.
29 the MP absorber? a chance of sedimentation and scaling of phosphate/silica. In this to V-3 (ammonium carbonate tank), the pressure/temperature Due to the higher tray temperatures the reflux quantity was also
case you must control the flow by opening TV 105. equilibrium not matching. higher. ■
30 Prem Baboo from National Fertilizers Ltd, India answers the Below are some points for your attention:
questions and shares some documents: The MP absorber is the ● Ensure sufficient cooling water flow in E-7, to avoid sedimentation.
31 heart of the Saipem urea synthesis section. This is the vessel ● The cooling water outlet temperature of E-7 should not exceed This series of discussions is compiled from a selection of round table topics discussed on the website.
where pure excess ammonia is separated from ammonium carba- 66°C as at higher temperatures scaling takes place. promotes the exchange of technical information to improve the performance and safety of urea plants. A wide range of round table discussions Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 mate. To operate at the right temperature is key for good perfor- ● The inlet temperature of the cooling water to E-7 should be no take place in the field of process design, operations, mechanical issues, maintenance, inspection, safety, environmental concerns, and London SE1 7SJ, England
mance of this absorber. The top temperature must be maintained less than 35°C to avoid crystallisation on the shell side (carba- product quality for urea, ammonia, nitric acid and other fertilizers. Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 at 42-43°C, while the bottom temperature is maintained at about mate solution).
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

18 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 19 Web: w



Southeast S Feedstock resources What’s in issue 345

outheast Asia, as defined geograph- There are other potential dark clouds; and Indonesia in the early days, but more
5 ically by the 10 member states of economic forecasts for the region have been recently from Brunei. It has also meant
the Association of South-East Asian revised downwards due to the likely demise Southeast Asia remains relatively resource that a lot of gas reserves were not able
6 Nations (ASEAN), can sometimes be over- of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) once rich in terms of gas and coal reserves, the to be connected to centres of demand,

Asian nitrogen ■ COVER FEATURE 1

shadowed by the industrial giant of the Chi- Donald Trump enters the White House in former as shown in Table 2, but develop- leaving them ‘stranded’, and consequent
7 nese economy to the north, or the growing January 2017, and China’s military encroach- ment of the regional gas economy has development of downstream ammonia and
Indian economy to the west. However, the ment on the South China Sea and its build- been hampered by geography – the chains methanol production, more on which later.
8 region is nevertheless home to 631 million ing and fortifying of artificial islands and of islands and mountains that have com- Gas reserves are concentrated in two Nitrogen in

people at last estimate (2015). If it were a reefs has the potential for armed clashes plicated pipeline building. This led to an of the ASEAN countries; Malaysia and Southeast Asia
9 single nation, it would be the world’s sev- with other states of the region, especially early focus on liquefied natural gas produc- Indonesia. However, Brunei and Myan-
enth largest economy, larger than Brazil or Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia. tion and export, particularly from Malaysia mar also have considerable reserves and
10 India, and by 2050 this figure is forecast to
rise to fourth largest. Real GDP growth from Table 2: Gas reserves and production in Southeast Asia, Table 3: Urea production and demand, ASEAN countries, ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 2000-2013 has averaged 5.1%; below that 2015 (billion cubic metres) 2014, million t/a
of India or China, but ahead of the other
12 ‘BRICs’, Russia and Brazil. The slowdown Production Exports Reserves Production Consumption Imports Exports Nitrogen project
in the Chinese economy has had repercus- Brunei 12.7 8.7 275 Indonesia 6.8 5.8 0.1 1.1 listing
sions further south, slowing ASEAN growth
13 Indonesia 75.0 32.4 2,840 Malaysia 1.2 0.7 0.4 0.9
to an average of 4.7% in 2015 and 4.5%
this year, but on the whole – while growth Malaysia 68.2 34.2 1,170 Myanmar 0.2 0.2 0 0
14 rates have not been as eye-catching as they Myanmar 19.6 13.4 530 Philippines 0 1.1 1.1 0 ■ COVER FEATURE 3
were in the 1990s, prior to the regional Thailand 0 2.2 2.2 0
15 economic crash of 1997-8 – growth has
Papua New Guinea 9.8 9.7 140

been steady and stable, especially in

Thailand 39.8 - 220 Vietnam 2.2 2.2 0.2 0.2 Early detection of
16 Indonesia, which represents 35% of the Vietnam 10.7 - 615 Total 10.4 12.2 4.0 2.2
process risks

regional economy. As well as rapidly grow- Source: BP Source: IFA

17 ing populations and economies, the region
also has considerable natural resources in
18 terms of oil, gas, coal and metal deposits, Fig 1: Southeast Asia’s natural gas industries ■ COVER FEATURE 4
which has helped boost growth.
19 In recent years, particular attention
While nitrogen consumption in the region is relatively stable, among investors has focused on the five KEY:
Ammonia catalysts
20 several new ammonia-urea plants coming on-stream in largest economies (apart from Singapore); 17 16 Kyaw Zwar 12 Bac Giang
12 Nitrogen plant
those of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philip- 11 Ninh Binh Nitrogen plant (proposed)
21 Indonesia and Malaysia seem set to turn southeast Asia pines, Thailand, and Vietnam – what were LNG export terminal
into a net exporter rather than importer. Longer term, once known as the ‘Asian Tigers’, and now
Kangyidaunt 15 14 Yangon LNG export terminal
22 the ASEAN-5 – where GDP growth has aver-
(proposed or under construction)
however, much depends on Indonesia’s gas situation, with a aged 6.3% from 2012-2015, higher than
13 Kyun Chung

LNG import terminal

23 possible switch towards greater coal-based production. the developing world average. It would be a
LNG import terminal
mistake, however, to paint the region with
too broad a brush. As Table 1 shows, there (proposed or under construction)
24 Table 1: ASEAN nations: statistics Ca Mau Pipelines
are also considerable differences between 10
Phu My
9 Major gas basins
25 the countries of the region. Singapore is NITROGEN+SYNGAS

Population, million GDP, 2015 ($ billion) GDP growth, 2015 a tiny but wealthy trading hub, while even
Gurun FLNG
smaller but oil- and gas-rich Brunei has suf-
26 Brunei 0.4 17 -0.5%
fered from the collapse in world oil prices. 5
Cambodia 15.6 16 7.0% Lhok Seumawe JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
The differences are visible even among the
27 Indonesia 257.6 861 4.8% ASEAN-5; while Indonesia, Malaysia, the 6
Laos 6.8 12 7.0% Philippines and Vietnam registered strong
28 Malaysia 30.3 296 5.0% growth over the past few years, Thailand
Bontang 1
Myanmar 53.9 65 7.0%
has been in the midst of political turmoil Palembang 4
29 and those troubles have permeated its
Philippines 100.7 291 5.8%
economy, leading to a sharp slowdown,
30 Singapore 5.5 292 2.0% and the death of King Bhumibol this year Gikampek
Thailand 68.0 395 2.8% has exacerbated these concerns in spite 2
31 Vietnam 91.7 193 6.7% of a recovery in the economy.
Total 630.5 2,438 Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 London SE1 7SJ, England
Source: United Nations, World Bank Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Above: Gas processing in Malaysia.
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

20 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 21 Web: w

16 2016



relatively low demand, and both coun- nei’s oil production peaked in 1979, but lower global gas price environment. Mean-
26 What’s in issue 345
tries have consequently become sizeable gas production has been relatively con- while a lack of pipeline capacity means
exporters. Thailand, Singapore and to stant, and well within the country’s sig- some associated gas is still flared. Cur-
6 a lesser extent the Philippines are con- nificant reserves. Apart from LNG exports, rently Indonesia is trying to shift gas from 25

versely all net importers of gas, with little the only downstream chemical production the east of the country to the west, and has ■ COVER FEATURE 1
or no production of their own, while Viet- to date has been the 850,000 t/a Brunei looked to LNG as a way of doing that. Even 24
nam produces enough gas for its own use Methanol Company plant, which began so, the government of Indonesia believes
8 but does not import or export any. Table operations in 2010, co-financed between that the country will become a net gas Nitrogen in
2 also shows figures for the non-ASEAN Petroleum Brunei and Japan’s Mitsubishi importer some time next decade. 23
Southeast Asia
9 nation of Papua New Guinea, which like and Itochu. For that reason Indonesia has become
Brunei has relatively modest domestic More recently, however, Brunei has interested in unconventional gas produc- 22

10 needs and reserves and production in been looking to expand gas production, tion, which seems to have worked so well
excess of this, and which is also becom- with an eye in further downstream develop- for the US and Australia. The government is ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 ing a regional gas production hub. ments. A sixth LNG train has been under licensing shale blocks for fracking, although 21

Figure 1 shows the development of the consideration for some time, and a nitrogen the industry there is in its early days so
12 region’s gas industry. As can be seen, fertilizer complex has been under discus- far. As noted above, the country also has 20
Nitrogen project
the pipeline network – in spite of various sion and study for over a decade, with Mit- huge coal reserves, mostly in the west, in listing
regional initiatives – remains relatively subishi, Matsui and IncitecPivot all involved Sumatra, and on the eastern side of Bor-
underdeveloped. However, there has been at some stage. More recently India has neo (Kalimantan), and with it considerable 19

considerable investment in LNG capacity, been considering investing in urea capac- volumes of coalbed methane. Indonesia’s
14 and this growth continues. Malaysia is ity in Brunei for export to India, trying to coal production has tripled over the past 18 ■ COVER FEATURE 3
looking to take advantage of floating LNG mirror the success of the Oman-India Ferti- decade, rising from 90 million tonnes of oil
15 (FLNG) ships to access some remote off- lizer Company, and in parallel with similar equivalent in 2005 to 280 mtoe in 2014,
shore gas fields, while both the Philippines discussions with Iran and various African although production dropped back last year 17 Early detection of
16 and Vietnam now have plans to import LNG countries. Projected capacity at present for on lower exports to China. Again, however, process risks
to help meet future gas demand. the nitrogen plant is 2,200 t/d of ammonia so far coalbed methane production has

On the coal side, Indonesia is the and 3,900 t/d of urea (1.25 million t/a) been relatively small-scale, with local and
regional giant, with massive local and Brunei says it hopes to have the plant national bureaucracy slowing the pace of
18 resources and production – Indonesia is up and running by 2020, but no contracts development. In the meantime, Indonesia
actually the world’s third largest coal pro- appear to have been signed as yet. has looked towards coal gasification as a
19 ducer, after China and the USA, and has chemical feedstock as a way of possibly 14
Ammonia catalysts
edged Australia into second place as the Indonesia duplicating China’s success in that regard.
20 world’s largest exporter (mainly to China). Indonesia has enormous reserves of low-
Vietnam has more modest domestic pro- The Indonesian archipelago sprawls across grade coal, which are largely underutilised
21 duction and was until recently the only 5,000km of ocean, making it the world’s as a result of high moisture and lower heat-

Big changes
ASEAN country to operate ammonia capac- fourth largest nation in extent, and it has ing value content. 12

22 ity based on coal. However, Indonesia, a large and diverse population approach- Indonesia’s nitrogen industry is the
with ageing gas fields and rising domestic ing 260 million. The country continues to region’s largest by some way, spread


23 demand for power, is now looking more develop industrially, becoming a net oil across five main sites on Sumatra, Java,
seriously at coal gasification as a supple- importer in 2004. Although it has the larg- and on the east coast of Kalimantan (Bor-
ment to its gas-based ammonia produc- est gas reserves in the region, gas produc- neo), operated by the government operates

tion. Japanese developer IHI started up tion and consumption peaked in 2010 and via state holding company Pupuk Indone-

25 a 50 t/d demonstrator coal to ammonia have since then fallen slowly; production sia. The five sites are (see Figure 1): NITROGEN+SYNGAS

plant last year, Pupuk is converting steam from 85 bcm to 75 bcm and consumption 1. PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (Kaltim),
generation at Kalim 5 to coal, and there from 43 bcm to 39 bcm, although falling established in 1977 at Bontang on the CATALYST SOLUTIONS THAT DELIVER VALUE:
26 are firming plans for further switches to consumption is as much about lack of sup- east of Borneo. Kaltim has five ammo- CLARIANT CATALYSTS. 8

coal down the line. ply as lack of demand due to relatively high nia-urea trains with a total capacity of Our products are small, but they deliver big value. Use our JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 domestic gas prices. LNG exports have 3.4 million t/a of urea, most of them high-performance catalysts to make more of what you want 7

28 Brunei also fallen – until 2005 the country was the built in the 1980s, but the most recent
and less of what you don’t, all with less energy. We are ready
world’s largest LNG exporter, but exports of which (Kaltim IV and V) started up in
for your big challenges.
The small Sultanate of Brunei on the have fallen at the same time that other pro- 2002 and 2015 respectively. In 2014, 6

29 northern coast of Borneo was at the fore- ducers such as Qatar, Australia, Malaysia the company was also made responsi-
front of gas discovery and development in and Nigeria have overtaken it. Indonesia’s ble for the 660,000 t/a Kaltim Pasifik 5

30 the ASEAN region, with large oil and gas mature gas fields are declining, especially Ammoniak (KPA) plant at the same site.
reserves discovered in the 1960s and LNG the Arun field in north Sumatra, while its 2. PT Petrokimia Gresik at East Java,
31 exports beginning in 1972 from the Lumut less developed gas fields are mainly off- built in 1972 originally using fuel oil as 4

LNG plant. The five trains there have the shore – more expensive and technically dif- feedstock until gas supplies became Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 capacity to produce 9.5 bcm per year, with ficult to access, as well as further from end available. Its current, replacement 3 London SE1 7SJ, England
8.7 bcm exported in 2015, mostly to Japan use markets – and they have struggled to ammonia-urea plant, completed in 1994, Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567

centimeter 1:1
33 and Korea under long term contracts. Bru- attract foreign investment, especially in a has 460,000 t/a of urea capacity.
2 Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

22 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Web: w


3. PT Pupuk Kujang at Cikampek in West ammonia-urea plants have a notional total lion this year. Meanwhile Ninh Binh, owned ple, it can also be seen that the region as a What’s in issue 345
Java. Production at the site dates back capacity of around 650,000 t/a; 66,000 t/a by Vinachem (Vietnam National Chemical whole was a net importer of urea in 2014,
to 1975. There are two ammonia-urea at Sale and Kyung Chaung, 200,000 t/a at Co), was built from 2008-2012 at a cost of with most imports coming from China, and
6 trains, with a combined capacity of Kyaw Zwa, and 165,000 t/a each at Myaung $670 million, including $250 million in Chi- to a lesser extent the Middle East.

1.14 million t/a of urea. Daga and Kan Gyi Dauk. However, Kyung nese loans, and has a nameplate capacity These patterns have changed over the ■ COVER FEATURE 1
4. PT Pupuk Sriwidjaja (Pusri), the first pro- Chaung and Kyaw Zwa have been closed of 560,000 t/a. The company has been past decade. Vietnam was a major importer
ducer in Indonesia, established in 1963 down for some years, while the others have paying 4% interest on the loans, higher of urea until about 2012, when the new Ca
8 at Palembang in South Sumatra. The site operated at drastically reduced capacities than a usual commercially available rate, Mau plant and the expansions at Ha Bac Nitrogen in
has four existing trains with a combined due to gas shortages and maintenance but moreover has faced coal price rises were able to substitute for imports. While Southeast Asia

9 capacity of 2.1 million t/a of urea, and issues, and total output was rarely more from $35/t to $90/t at the same time that Malaysian exports have remained relatively
a new train, Pusri IIB, began operations than a couple of hundred thousand tonnes, global urea prices have sunk from $600/t constant over the past 10 years at around
10 in August 2016. The company’s newest with Chinese imports making up most of the to $250/t. The plant was forced to close 800-900,000 t/a, Indonesia, once a major
plant has a capacity of 660,000 t/a of country’s demand. The country’s fertilizer in May 2016 after losing money for all exporter, went through a period around ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 ammonia and 900,000 t/a of urea. Construction of the SAMUR urea plant, Malaysia. application rates are at very low levels com- four years of operation, with total losses 2006 when exports were restricted. Some
5. PT Pupuk Iskandar Muda (PIM), which pared to the rest of the region, and there is now amounting to $120 million. The local of this was down to gas shortages, with
12 began production in 1982 at Lhokseu- As previously mentioned, Japanese Like Indonesia, Malaysia continues plenty of scope for expanding both domestic government is now appealing to Vietnam’s falling gas production leading to less gas Nitrogen project
mawe near the Arun gas field in Aceh, engineering giant IHI Corp has begun oper- to develop domestic nitrogen capacity. consumption and production, the latter via central government to approve a rescue available domestically as long-term LNG listing
North Sumatra, PIM has the capacity to ations at a pilot coal to ammonia plant, co- Petronas broke ground on its new Sabah domestic gas. There were abortive attempts package for the beleaguered plant. export contracts required the LNG to be
produce 1.17m t/a of urea and 750,000 located with state-owned fertilizer producer Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) project in Febru- around the time of the Yadana gas project On paper, Vietnam has overbuilt urea exported. As these contracts have lapsed,
t/a of ammonia following the completion PT Pupuk Kujang. It converts 50 t/d of low- ary 2012, and it is due to be completed by in 2002 to piggy-back new ammonia and capacity, reaching a potential output of so Indonesia has been able to redirect gas
14 of a second plant in 2004. The PT ASEAN grade coal to make ammonia fertilizer. The the end of 2016. The $1.5 billion SAMUR urea capacity onto the development, but 2.65 million t/a from its four plants against towards domestic urea production. ■ COVER FEATURE 3
Aceh Fertilizer (AAF) plant was also estab- project is funded by Japan’s Ministry of project includes a 740,000 t/a ammonia this eventually fell by the wayside. The lifting domestic demand of 2 million t/a, aiming
15 lished at Lhokseumawe in 1981 as a Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and and 1.2 million t/a urea project at the Sipi- of sanctions has been seen as a renewed to export the rest. However, the production Looking forward Early detection of
joint venture by ASEAN, but was idled due runs under cooperation with some Indone- tang Oil & Gas Industrial Park in Sabah. opportunity for Myanmar to develop more and financial issues at the coal-based urea
16 to lack of gas supplies, which have also sian ministries with IHI as the executor and Haldor Topsoe is providing ammonia tech- of a domestic fertilizer industry, but so plants and the current oversupplied global Nitrogen consumption in the region in process risks
affected the PIM complex. PT Pupuk Kujang as the local host. Longer nology and Saipem urea technology, with far, aside from a plan to revamp the shut- urea markets have made exporting diffi- the major consuming nations is relatively
17 term, IHI is looking towards a commercial- Uhde Fertilizer Technology licensing granu- tered Kyaw Zwa plant, nothing concrete has cult, and in practice the country just about mature and unlikely to increase dramati-
As regards future expansion, Indonesian scale, 1,000 t/d ammonia plant. lation technology. Mitsubishi Heavy Indus- emerged, while neighbouring Bangladesh breaks even. cally, but there is still scope for future
18 President Joko Widodo continues to be PT Pupuk Sriwijaya Palembang (Pusri), tries have the EPC contract. has suggested importing Myanmar gas to growth in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. ■ COVER FEATURE 4
keen on trying to develop the country's is carrying out a feasibility study jointly with run its own gas-starved urea plants. Regional supply/demand balance However, growth in regional demand is
downstream businesses in the energy and state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam to Myanmar likely to be relatively modest, and certainly
Ammonia catalysts
chemical sectors to strengthen Indone- build a coal gasification plant in South Suma- Vietnam Almost all of the nitrogen production in the outweighed by growth in regional production.
20 sia's export competitiveness. The recent tra, with a projected 1,500 t/d of ammonia Myanmar’s development had been held region is based on urea, apart from some New capacity has started up in Indonesia
Pusri expansion is one sign of this, and and 2,600 t/d of urea capacity, and another back by long years of isolation and inter- Vietnam has four nitrogen-producing plants. ammonium sulphate and nitrate produc- at Kaltim V (although this replaced the old
21 Petrokimia Gresik is developing a second study is being conducted in East Kalimantan national sanctions imposed upon the mil- There are two older, Soviet-era coal gasifi- tion in Indonesia. Table 3 gives a break- Kaltim I plant) and Pusri IIB last year and
urea plant, Amurea 2, with 660,000 t/a of where coal reserves are abundant. itary-backed government after it annulled cation-based ammonia-urea plants in the down of urea production and consumption this, and the SAMUR plant in Malaysia is
22 ammonia and 570,000 t/a of urea capac- elections in 1990 and imprisoned the north of the country, at Ninh Binh and Bac across Southeast Asia, listing the major also due for start-up soon. These three
ity. Site preparation and engineering is Malaysia National League for Democracy (NLD) Giang (Ha Bac). In the south there are two producers and consumers are listed - vol- between them represent a net increase of
23 already under way, and the new unit is due leader Aung San Suu Kyi. However, from gas-based plants using gas from the Nam umes consumed by Cambodia, Laos, Bru- 2.7 million t/a of urea capacity, more than
to start up in late 2017. PT Pupuk Kujang As Table 2 shows, Malaysia also has very 2008 Myanmar began a transition back to Con Son basin, developed by BP, PetroVi- nei, Singapore and New Guinea are less enough to take up the net regional deficit,
IC, provisionally scheduled for 2020, large natural gas reserves; more than 1 tril- democratic government culminating in the etnam and Conoco, which comes ashore than 50,000 t/a each. Indonesia, and to and possibly pushing it slightly into surplus.
would add 660,000 t/a of ammonia and lion cubic metres, but with a population only freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD at Phu My, where a fertilizer and power a lesser extent Malaysia and Vietnam are And there are more plants planned at PAU in

25 1.15 million t/a of urea capacity. one eighth of Indonesia’s, domestic energy winning parliamentary representation in the plant complex was built from 2001-2004. the major producers, and of those, only Indonesia and potentially Pusri. While there NITROGEN+SYNGAS

Gas producer Surya Esa Perkasa has demand is correspondingly lower and gas 2012 by-elections and winning the 2015 A second, identical plant was completed Indonesia and Malaysia are major export- is also the potential for new capacity in Bru-
begun construction on a $830 million available for LNG export and downstream national election and forming a government. further south at Ca Mau in 2012. Both ers. Vietnam, although it technically has a nei, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, how-
26 ammonia plant in central Sulawesi. The chemical production is correspondingly The lifting of international sanctions has led have a capacity of 740,000 t/a. While the surplus of urea production, has remained a ever, the current low price regime in the urea
ammonia plant will be operated by Panca larger. Malaysia has three currently exist- to an influx of badly-needed foreign invest- gas-based plants generally operate well, slight net importer in recent years because market and oversupply from China makes JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 Amara Utama, in which Surya Esa Perkasa ing nitrogen facilities. The first is a devel- ment into Myanmar, and GDP growth has however, the two coal-based plants have of domestic costs of production and the this far more marginal in the short term. This
holds a 60% stake. Japan's Mitsubishi opment by ASEAN in similar fashion to the averaged 7% for the past few years. Natural been plagued by production problems, and production and financial issues noted is also true of the potential for urea exports
28 Corp. is a minority shareholder. The plant ASEAN Aceh plant in Indonesia. Located at gas production has increased rapidly, from are reported to be in serious financial dif- above with its coal-based plants. from the region, which again will be depend-
will be built on a 192-hectare site near a Bintulu on the northwest coast of Borneo, 12.7 bcm in 2012 to 19.6 bcm in 2015. ficulties resulting from overhanging loans Indonesia is also far and away the larg- ent on prevailing international prices.
29 gas field jointly operated by Pertamina and ASEAN Bintulu has 400,000 t/a of ammo- Woodside Petroleum, drilling offshore earlier and adverse movements in coal and urea est consumer, consuming almost half of Likewise the gas situation in Indonesia
energy company Medco Energi Interna- nia and 540,000 t/a of urea capacity. in the year, said that it had revised upwards markets. Ha Bac, owned by state producer regional urea demand, with Thailand and remains an imponderable – having crimped
30 tional, which will supply natural gas feed- State producer Petronas operates two its estimates of gas in the basin there. The Hanichemco (Ha Bac Nitrogenous Fer- Vietnam the other most significant users output in the past, and possibly doing so
stock. Commercial operation is scheduled facilities. The first, built in 1999, is an country’s current natural gas output mostly tilizer and Chemical Co Ltd) spent $570 of urea, and Malaysia and Philippines more in the future. It could be – further down
31 to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 or ammonia-facility at Gurun, Kedah, with (ca 70%) comes from the offshore Yadana million from 2010-2015 in upgrading and moderate consumers. As non-producers, the line – that some plants are forced to
early 2018. The plant will have an annual 595,000 t/a of urea capacity. The other, and Yetagun fields, with a pipeline running expanding the plant from 180,000 t/a to Thailand and Philippines must of course switch to coal as a feedstock and others Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 capacity of 650,000 t/a. PAU plans to sell completed in 2002, is a 450,000 t/a from them via Yangon to Thailand. 500,000 t/a of urea output. However, it is source all of their urea from imports. operate more seasonally as gas is avail- London SE1 7SJ, England
the ammonia in both the domestic market stand-alone ammonia plant at Kerteh in The sanctions years have left Myanmar reported to have lost $30 million in 2015 Although there is intra-regional trade, with able, as happens in countries like Bangla- Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 and elsewhere in Asia. Terengganu province. with many infrastructural challenges. Its five and is on course to lose another $22 mil- Indonesia supplying to Vietnam, for exam- desh and Pakistan. ■
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

24 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 25 Web: w


Asset management Figs 1 & 2: Thermal view inside and reformer tube furnace with data points What’s in issue 345

for steam reformers


8 Nitrogen in
Southeast Asia
Thomas Fortinberry, AMETEK Land Business Development Manager – Industrial Gas,
10 discusses fixed thermal imaging for steam methane reformers and how improved access to
11 process temperature data can optimise efficiency, reduce downtime and extend asset life.

12 Measurement methods AMETEK Land, which are mounted strategi- work. There is also an option for alarms for Nitrogen project
cally within the reformer, do not allow this to use in control and automation as well as listing

team methane reforming of natural tubes are arranged in parallel rows with surface of reformer tubes is around 960°C What is clear is that to meet the demands happen. The fixed thermal imager delivers a playback facility of any pre-alarm event.
gas is one of the most commonly burners between the rows at the top or bot- and inner-surface process gas ranges from for greater production, efficiency and safety, a high-resolution image, with accurate real-
14 used thermal methods for hydro- tom of a furnace box that is heated from 450°C to 900°C. Temperature-related continuous 24/7 monitoring is required. time measurements of both the tube skin Summary
gen generation. For example, natural gas 1,000–1,100°C. Alternatively, tubes can issues with reformers include creep dam- Whilst several different temperature meas- and refractory surface (see Figure 1). ■ COVER FEATURE 3
reforming accounts for 95% of the hydro- be arranged in single rows between oppos- age, stress cracking, extrusion rupture and urement methods are available, the most The image, combined with the 90° The growth in the demand for hydrogen looks
15 gen produced in the United States. Grow- ing furnace walls in side-fired and terrace- overheating. A thermal gradient through effective are: angle field of view, allows for multiple likely to continue and along with that, the
ing worldwide demand for hydrogen has wall-fired reformers. The reaction occurs the tube wall is more significant at the bot- ● Hand-held spot pyrometers that enable parallel tubes to be measured simulta- pressure on hydrogen production plants to Early detection of
16 driven the increased use of steam reform- through the tubes at 900°C, exiting the tom or close to the bottom of the tube, routine spot measurements to be taken. neously. This can dramatically enhance increase production while improving safety, process risks
ers, backed by the desire to make the bottom. There are established TWT upper causing differential creep strain, which is Pyrometers are highly accurate and are efficiency and safety as well as provide controlling costs and reducing downtimes.
17 process as productive as possible. There limits based on the design of the tube and a primary cause of damage. A fifth of all considered an industry standard for for better asset management and furnace As means of improving production efficiency
is a simultaneous movement to enhance the interior of the fire box, at which tem- incidents involve tube cracking. Human measuring tube wall temperature. They optimisation (Figure 2). and reducing maintenance and repair costs,
18 the inspection and diagnostics used in the peratures the tubes begin to expand. error, however, is the main reason for cata- can be used to optimise steam reformers With the NIR-B 3XR, hot and cold areas there has been increased interest in the use ■ COVER FEATURE 4
creation of hydrogen, methane, ammonia strophic failure. by maintaining operation closer to design within the furnace are easily identified and of fixed thermal imaging cameras for con-
19 and other gases, driven by many factors, Industry challenges Operators are required to have an temperatures and, in many situations, uneven heating becomes visible in real tinuous and improved temperature measure-
including an increased focus on safety for in-depth understanding of a reformer’s can provide adequate accuracy. However, time. Burners operating incorrectly can be ment of the steam methane reformer tubes.
Ammonia catalysts
20 operators, reduction of downtime and cost The most frequent challenges that plant behaviour. They also must be able to ana- with pyrometers, the operators are only identified along with the effects of impinging Asset management is an essential part of
efficiency. operators face are issues with the burner, lyse data and make rapid decisions when able to view a local spot on the tubes and flames. The use of a short wavelength mini- why this continuous temperature monitoring
21 As part of the process, widely avail- flue gas distribution and the catalyst. All faced with catastrophic failure. Significant may miss hot spots in other locations. mises errors associated with varying emis- is so important. By operating the process
able and relatively inexpensive methane of these can directly affect TWT and lead operator experience is necessary to fully ● Fixed thermal imaging provides more sivity so that highly accurate temperature over temperature drastically reduces the
22 and water are reacted in the presence of to premature tube failure. To prevent fail- understand basic reformer construction, accurate and repeatable results than measurement data can be taken, stored lifespan and, therefore, increases operating
a catalytic converter. During the produc- ures, most operators tend to be overly process flow, heat transfer principles, hand held pyrometers as they are less and fully analysed over the lifetime of the costs. Similarly, the proper management of
23 tion process, natural gas is combined cautious on TWT, and a plant can thereby background radiation, and emissivity along liable to human error and enable optimi- reformer. Use of fixed thermal images also temperatures during start-ups, operation
with steam and heated at high tempera- lose valuable production output every year with the cooling effects that occur when sation of the TWT to ensure a long tube allows the plant to monitor temperature and shutdowns has proven to extend both
tures (700–1,000°C) under pressure in – a 10°C drop in temperature can result the peep door is opened. Regular opening life. Here, thermal imaging cameras during start-ups and shutdowns to optimise tube and catalyst life with less downtime
the presence of a catalyst. The result is in 1% decrease in productivity. Even tak- of the peep doors can result in increased are inserted into the reformer, with the efficiency and reduce energy usage. and fewer unplanned tube replacements.

25 carbon monoxide, hydrogen and a small ing a cautious approach, tube failures stress on the tubes and potential cooling end of the imager ¼" from the inside One of the major benefits of using fixed Fixed thermal imaging is a major new NITROGEN+SYNGAS

amount of carbon dioxide. In the next step, can still occur, due to hot spots on tubes of the tubes up to 30°C directly in front of reformer wall refractory. Imagers are thermal imagers like the NIR-B 3XR is their development in temperature measure-
carbon monoxide from the reforming reac- and hot areas within the convection box, the peep door. With that in mind, operators water- and air-cooled to ensure accuracy rapid response time. Using the Land Image ment for industrial gas applications that
26 tion interacts with steam, again using a so even producers running at a reduced need data on the TWT that is accurate, in the hot atmosphere of the reformer. Processing Software (LIPS) provided with has helped optimise efficiency and sig-
catalyst, to produce additional hydrogen. rate still are not guaranteed to have a bal- repeatable and reliable. This method improves efficiency and the imager, for example, the software will nificantly improved process temperature JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 Finally, carbon dioxide is removed, leaving anced, reliable reformer. Reformer tube Asset management is critical. That minimizes the risk of catastrophic failure. sound an alarm the moment the tube wall monitoring. Use of the NIR-B 3XR bore-
pure hydrogen. Throughout the process, failure and process flow problems result means having an effective method of tem- reaches the maximum temperature in any scope, as example, has led to increased
28 the heat resulting from the combustion of when temperatures are too high. Even at perature measurement. Reformer tubes Fixed thermal imagers region, identifying the problem region and productivity, greater asset protection and
fuel gas from burners in the furnace box is temperatures only 20°C above the design are highly valuable assets, so extend- allowing the operator to take corrective enhanced tube life. It also has reduced
29 transferred to catalyst tubes by radiation. temperature, a tube’s lifetime may be cut ing tube life is essential. By continually Accurate temperature measurement must measures to fix the issue. Fixed thermal risks to operators, who no longer need to
Steam reformers used in hydrogen, in half. Maintaining optimum temperatures monitoring readings, the operator will get take emissivity into account. Within the images collect a huge amount of data that be in hazardous areas to conduct tempera-
30 ammonia and methanol plants are com- therefore is critical. an early warning of increasing tube wall reformer environment, several objects can then can be used to create TWT trending ture measurements on a regular basis.
plex, energy intensive and expensive. The The challenges inherent in a steam temperatures, which can then be used reflect off the surface. Hand-held pyrome- charts to identify problem areas that can Fixed thermal imaging goes a long way
31 monitoring of tube wall temperatures (TWT) reformer environment range from the basic to counteract potential catastrophic fail- ters and visual inspection can wrongly inter- be corrected during operation or repaired to enabling plants to meet the challenges
can help optimise catalyst tube life and difficulty of obtaining TWT right through to ure. Continuous monitoring, likewise, will pret the reflections as real data, causing during a planned shutdown. Data capture they face with steam methane reforming, Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 ensure longevity, energy efficiency and pro- the catastrophic failure of tubes. Adding to allow the operator to safely and confidently errors in temperature measurement. Ther- also is useful for conducting remaining by providing accurate, rapid response data London SE1 7SJ, England
ductivity. As tubular steam reformers can that difficulty is the extremely harsh envi- increase temperatures, with a view toward mal imaging cameras, such as the hazard- life assessments on tubes or to help plan that helps them to optimise efficiency and Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 be either top-fired or bottom-fired, catalyst ronments in which flue gas at the outer increasing production. ous area certified NIR-B 3XR borescope from for tube replacement during maintenance maximise production. ■
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

26 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 27 Web: w

5 What’s in issue 345

8 Nitrogen in
Southeast Asia
Nitrogen project
Early detection of
16 process risks
Ammonia catalysts

26 ISSUE 345
Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 London SE1 7SJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577
Web: w



Old meets What’s in issue 345

used in hydrogen plants. Regeneration US is the third largest N consumer in the around International Maritime Organisa-
5 uses heat removed from process gas. The world, with urea and UAN both accounting tion low sulphur fuel rules, and increased
process is moving to a pilot plant stage in for about one third of application each. blending into gasoline. The US is likely to
6 2017-18. Notably, the intensity of N application per become a net exporter of methanol over

new in
hectare is lower in the US than Europe, but the 2016-21 time horizon, with Chinese ■ COVER FEATURE 1
Carbon footprint still slowly increasing. Meanwhile, use of imports increasing.
industrial grade AN has declined with fall- H Buschner of Borealis gave a brief over-
8 Yara’s Danny Franceus considered the ing coal production. Around 8 million t/a of view of the melamine market. It is a small Nitrogen in

future of carbon pricing. There are argu- US nitrogen capacity moved offshore from scale, niche production, with total produc- Southeast Asia
9 ments for exempting fertilizers from this – 1998-2008 due to high gas prices, but this tion of 1.4 million t/a in 2015, but growth
fertilizers are needed for food security, as has rebounded on the shale gas boom, is stable and robust at around 3-4% year on
10 arable land is relatively limited compared to boosting US production by 6 million t/a. year. It is strongly linked to GDP growth and
population growth, and the emissions from Cheap gas and low cost capital made the construction industries, and needless to ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 Casale’s fourth customer symposium, dubbed ‘Innovation Meets Experience’, brought delegates
fertilizer production represent only a frac- US market very attractive, with 33 expan- say China has become the driving force in
tion of the impact from agriculture – CO2 sions announced with a total of 17.5 mil- the market, although Europe still remains
12 to the beautiful city of Venice in October to look at where the syngas-based chemical industry released by deforestation worldwide for lion tonnes ammonia equivalent. However, the largest consumer for now. Chinese Nitrogen project
might be heading over the next decade.
example is more than the total emissions of these, only 15, with around 5.6 million capacity overtook Europe in around 2010, listing
from Europe. More efficient fertilizer appli- t/a of ammonia equivalent are likely to but as in so many other industries China
cation could therefore lead to less defor- complete, including only one major green- has overbuilt capacity, and operating rates
estation and hence lower CO2 emissions. field site – the Iowa Fertilizer Co at Wever. have fallen to below 50%.

asale symposia only come around achievements. Over the last 30 years, it this reduces duty on the syngas compres- Nevertheless, current legislation, regula- Capital costs have risen of the long term, ■ COVER FEATURE 3
once every five years, so while thus has carried out 437 revamps, 262 ammo- sor, which is the key process bottleneck. tions, best available techniques (BAT) etc while falling phosphate production has Technologies for new fertilizer plants
year’s was only the fourth, the first nia, 151 urea and 22 methanol, and now Reducing plant sizes to, eg 10s of all focus on production. Fertilizers Europe reduced demand for ammonia. The invest-
one was held back in 2001. Welcoming two nitrate plants. It has also built 95 tonnes per day (equivalent to the size of reckons the BAT for ammonia production ment cycle is essentially over, Alistair con- Casale’s Rafaelle Ostuni gave a run-down Early detection of
16 delegates to Venice, Casale’s president new plants, including 62 ammonia (22 a single gas well) would require a different should emit less than 3.6 tonnes CO2 cluded – US capacity will peak by around of how Casale sees its current offering for process risks
Umberto Zardi said that this year would in the last five years – mainly in China), reforming technology, and Casale is look- per tonne N. Figures can be misleading, 2018, and which time North America will the construction of new fertilizer plants.
17 have three times the participation of the 4 urea, 24 methanol, 2 melamine and 3 ing at a partial oxidation reactor using a though. For example, urea (as it consumes still be importing around 1 million t/a of Casale expects a growing demand for new
first one, with over 20 different nations nitric acid. Its latest award has been for an modified truck engine using an air/meth- CO2 in production) emits less CO2 than cal- nitrogen in 2020. plants in the following main categories:
18 represented. And just because the indus- integrated complex, including 1,000 t/d of ane feed mix. The aim is to reduce the cium ammonium nitrate (CAN), but when Mike Nash of IHS summarised the ● medium-scale ammonia plants to ■ COVER FEATURE 4
try’s technologies are mature, he said, it ammonia, 1,700 t/d of urea and 40,000 expense of a similar sized reformer by up losses in application are also taken into methanol market. Rising operating rates replace purchased ammonia for local
19 doesn’t mean there is no need for new t/a of melamine capacity. to 90%. account, CAN is better overall. over the next 2-3 years depend very much use (e.g. in nitrates and phosphates
developments. The world continues to Other new technologies which he said on the success of methanol to olefins facilities).
Ammonia catalysts
20 face challenges, such as coping with an The next ten years could affect the industry included quantum Market papers (MTO) production in China – MTO capaci- ● world-scale plants serving regional urea
increased population without damaging mechanical computer simulations which ties continue to rise rapidly – although markets, based on gas or coal.
21 the environment, which only the nitrogen Chief technology officer Ermano Filippi tried can now simulate detailed reactions on The first day of the conference concluded there are potential game changers in the ● large-scale plants for centralized pro-
industry can help solve. He also noted that some crystal ball gazing, looking at sev- catalysts, leading to optimised catalysts with a session looking at the markets for longer term horizon, including the wider duction at gas hubs, producing urea for
22 revamping can dramatically improve the eral emerging technologies which have the and process conditions and reduced by- syngas-based products. use of methanol as a shipping fuel to get export in the global market.
efficiency of ammonia production, with the potential to be ‘disruptive’ to the direction product formation; 3D printing in metal, Nitrogen+Syngas editor Richard Hands
23 revamps that Casale had carried out only of the fertilizer industry, even in such a rela- allowing the production of more compli- began with an overview of feedstock mar-
in the last five years already being respon- tively mature field. He suggested that world- cated parts such as burner tips and on- kets, highlighting how the industry’s pre-
sible for reducing CO2 emissions by more scale plants were likely to continue moving demand replacements with shorter delivery ferred feedstock had swung from coal to
than 1 million t/a. to larger plant sizes, but that there was also times; developments in IT allowing the gas in the 1960s, moving to cheap gas

25 Casale’s history is not as long as Ven- scope for small, modular plants to take modelling of process control and on-line locations like the Middle East, then flirted NITROGEN+SYNGAS

ice’s, noted CEO Giuseppi Guerino, but 95 advantage of flared gas or unconventional optimisation of plants – the ‘internet of with coal and other heavy feedstocks
years is still a long time in chemical indus- feedstocks. Plants were likely, he said, to things’ may soon apply to real-time data once again during the early 2000s as gas
26 try terms, going back to Luigi Casale’s first become more efficient, more reliable, with gathering from sensors and ‘big data’ became a victim of its own success and
ammonia plant design in 1921. Casale more automation and lower emissions. analysis of plant operations, and remote so-called ‘stranded’ gas began to disap- JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 was the first company to license an ammo- How big can plants go? The largest plant monitoring, perhaps by the licen- pear, and now has swung back to gas as
nia plant design, and the company’s more methanol plant in the world today is 7,000 sor of the plant to assess condition and coal becomes regarded as environmen-
28 recent move back into complete plant t/d, based around autothermal reform- performance. tally unacceptable and shale gas and the
sales and now the acquisition of technolo- ing. In future this could reach 10,000 t/d Legally, CO2 emissions are likely to be spread of LNG continues to transform the
29 gies across the nitrogen spectrum – nitric using existing technology for plants aimed more regulated and taxed in the wake of gas market. But availability is now as cru-
acid, ammonium nitrate and melamine – at methanol to olefins or fuels produc- the COP21 agreement in Paris. Most emis- cial as pricing, and in places like China,
30 means it is able to find synergies and opti- tion, using a high pressure autothermal sions come from the primary reformer India, Vietnam and Indonesia, and even
mise an entire complex, not just individual reformer. On the ammonia side the largest stack, and capturing is possible but expen- parts of the US, the era of coal is not yet
31 process units. Its most recent tie-up is an plant is currently 3,300 t/d, and most use sive in capex/opex terms. Casale are look- dead, while new greener feedstocks are
agreement with Black & Veatch on licens- steam reforming, but using a front end sim- ing at a new process for lower cost carbon encouraging the development of smaller Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 ing and constructing Casale plants. ilar to a modern methanol plant this could capture using solid sorbents and tempera- scale, more modular plants to exploit them. London SE1 7SJ, England
Chief operating officer Federico Zardi be taken to 6,000 t/d, and using a high ture swing absorption (TSA) as opposed CRU analyst Alistair Wallace gave an Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 reviewed the group’s capabilities and pressure reformer could be even larger, as to the pressure swing absorption (PSA) overview of the US nitrogen market. The Delegates in the historic ballroom of the Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel.
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

30 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 31 Web: w


To fulfil these demands, Casale is offering
several basic plant designs. Its A600 con-
cept is for ‘medium-scale’ (around 600 t/d
or 200,000 t/a) gas-based ammonia plants,
For ammonia revamping options, Casale
has proprietary technologies for moder-
t/d, uprated later to a notional 1,700 t/d,
although limitations in air compression and
cooling capacity meant that in practise it
ran at 1,600-1,650 t/d. As well as expand-
Nitrogen+Syngas index 2016 What’s in issue 345

where the constructor is looking to replace ate (up to 130%) and major (up to 200%) ing the primary reformer with new catalyst ■ COVER FEATURE 1
imported ammonia with domestic produc- capacity increases. The former is based on tubes and burners and improving compres-
tion, and the focus is on lowering capital traditional technologies (for example, pre- sor and cooling capacities, Casale also
8 cost by simplifying the flowsheet rather than reformer, primary reformer expansion, etc.), revamped the CO2 removal section and Nitrogen in
achieving economies of scale. Rather than the latter on a proprietary scheme known optimised the reformer steam:carbon ratio, Southeast Asia
9 using both a high temperature and low tem- as Super Revamping™, comprising the use and were able to reduce energy consump-
perature shift, there is a single medium tem- of an oxygen-blown ATR to reduce plant tion while boosting capacity to 2,000 t/d.
10 perature shift (MTS) converter downstream modifications. Typical plant bottlenecks There was also a discussion on the
of an autothermal reformer, with a pres- which can be overcome include increasing design and construction of the world’s larg- ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 sure swing absorption section between the compressor capacity via an air compressor est single train methanol plant, the 7,000
MTS and synthesis loop to avoid the steam booster; a secondary burner modification t/d Kaveh unit in Iran. The design is based
12 reformer and solvent-based CO2 removal and alternative, more efficient waste heat on a conventional steam-reforming unit Nitrogen project
section. The ammonia synloop operates boiler, nd replacement of conventional cat- together with an oxygen-based auto thermal listing
at moderate pressure to ease duty on the alyst beds with axial-radial beds. reformer (ATR) for the front-end section,

syngas compressor. Capital costs are 30% Revamping urea options include high combined with a high-efficiency synthe-
lower per major equipment efficiency reactor trays, and sis section including a Casale IMC reac-
14 item and 20% lower overall, the split flow loop and full tor (Isothermal Methanol Converter). Final ■ COVER FEATURE 3
with additional possibilities The A6000 concept condenser configurations, purification of the product is performed in
15 for modular construction. which can increase high pres- a three-column distillation section; this con-
Next up is the A3000 con-
is designed to achieve sure loop capacity by 30-50%. figuration was chosen for its low specific Early detection of
16 A complete listing of all articles and news items that
cept, based on large-scale maximum economies For larger capacity increases, energy consumption and limited column process risks
(2-3,000 t/d) ammonia pro- Casale has developed the dimensions. The oxygen necessary for the appeared in Nitrogen+Syngas magazine during 2016.
17 duction, where the focus is of scale at up to medium splitting concept to ATR is provided by an air separation unit out-
on the energy efficiency of 6,000 t/d. overcome the hydraulic limit of side the plant battery limits, and the metha-
18 production, achieving 6.4 the stripper. A new plant sec- nol plant also exports high-pressure steam Article Issue Pg Article Issue Pg ■ COVER FEATURE 4
Gcal/t ammonia as com- tion is installed in parallel with to drive the OSBL facilities (mainly the ASU Markets
Ammonia technology
19 pared to the 7.5 Gcal/t typical of the A300. the existing HP stripper, and flow from the and a power generator). While the construc-
It does this by running the steam reformer at urea reactor which exceeds the allowable tion of the plant has been delayed by inter-
Improved economics of ammonia-urea fertilizer plants Nov/Dec 42 Challenges for the Indian fertilizer industry
Changing patterns of ammonia trade
Ammonia catalysts
Optimising catalytic reactors in ammonia plants May/Jun 50
20 60 bar and incorporating a stoichiometric air load of the stripper is diverted to a paral- national sanctions against Iran, the lifting of Small-scale production of ammonia Sep/Oct 52
Iran after sanctions Jul/Aug 20
feed to the secondary reformer. This lowers lel section working at about 18 bar. The MP many of those issues now means that the Large scale DME still looking for commercial outlets Mar/Apr 32
Ammonium nitrate and nitric acid technology Long-term demand for fertilizer May/Jun 28
21 compressor duty by 10% and allows use of section is equipped with a decomposer and plant is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Colourless start-up and shutdown of a nitric acid plant Sep/Oct 44 New investment for Shchekinoazot Jul/Aug 26
a single body syngas compressor with lower a condenser and the unreacted carbamate Zuari Agro in Goa, India, has selected Improving yields with secondary N2O abatement Sep/Oct 50 New nitrogen in the east Jan/Feb 26
22 power consumption. is partially decomposed and the vapours Casale to upgrade its urea plant from New advances in platinum gauze systems Nov/Dec 34 Olefins the key driver for methanol Nov/Dec 28
Finally, the A6000 concept is designed condensed with the aid of carbonate solu- 1,400 t/d to 1,800 t/d, as well as reduc- The global market for urea Nov/Dec 20
Syra 4: a nitric acid project overview Sep/Oct 60
The outlook for India’s natural gas and fertilizer sectors Sep/Oct 22
23 to achieve maximum economies of scale at tion from the downstream LP section. ing energy inputs from 6.4Gcal/t urea to Catalysts
up to 6,000 t/d, reducing capital cost per For methanol plants, moderate capac- 4.9Gcal/t urea, necessitating an overhaul Ammonia synthesis catalyst replacement Jan/Feb 58 Advanced materials for metal dusting environments Jul/Aug 36
installed tonne by 25-30% and using a pre- ity increases (up to 30%) can be achieved of the associated ammonia plant as well.
24 An introduction to pre-reforming catalysts May/Jun 40
Bimetallic tubes for nitric acid applications Sep/Oct 36
reformer, steam reformer and oxygen-fed through addition of a pre-reformer; a primary On the urea side, the synthesis section will
Companies Methanol technology
25 autothermal reformer similar to the front reformer upgrade or partial oxidation reactor be transformed from its original NITROGEN+SYNGAS

Getting the merger bug Jan/Feb 32 Methanol to CMTX technology Nov/Dec 50
end of a large-scale methanol plant. The and the downstream Casale Isothermal Meth- Toyo total recycle process to an ammo-
Conference/meeting reports Product forming
nitrogen from the air separation unit is then anol Converter. When clients demand a huge nia stripping process, with a new reactor,
26 fed directly to the ammonia synthesis sec- capacity increase, other options are available, a new HP carbamate condenser, HP strip-
Nitrogen+Syngas 2016 Conference preview Jan/Feb 30 Deep vacuum fluid bed granulation Jul/Aug 56
Nitrogen+Syngas 2016 Conference review Mar/Apr 24 Product cooling for optimum quality Mar/Apr 50
tion. Syngas purification removes all inerts such as CO2 injection – for example from a per, HP separator and HP ejector. Down- Size matters Mar/Apr 44 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 with a cryogenic liquid nitrogen wash. neighbouring ammonia or ethylene plant – in stream, this will also be an application for
Putting safety first Nov/Dec 32
Urea technology
What’s new in nitric acid and AN? Nov/Dec 24
A2000C is a variant for coal-based combination with the Isothermal Methanol Casale’s Vortex granulation system, here A new approach to sulphur-enhanced urea May/Jun 32
28 ammonia plants using the innovative Warm Converter in the synthesis loop; moving to an being used as a prill fattening process.
Advances in urea technology Jul/Aug 34
Chasing the gas May/Jun 25 Inspection of HP urea equipment at KPIC Jan/Feb 62
Desulphurisation Process licensed from autothermal reactor and the installation of an Meanwhile, on the nitric acid front, Feedstock economics Jul/Aug 28
29 RTI (see Industry News, this issue) as part additional ‘once through reactor’. Casale presented a study of the 1,500 Tailored feedstock purification solutions Mar/Apr 34
UFC manufacture for urea production
Urea+ fertilizer production
of syngas cleanup. t/d dual pressure nitric acid plant which
Health, Safety and Environment Special supplements
30 For urea, Casale are offering the adi- Case studies GPN and Chemoprojekt designed and built
Developments in ammonia plant safety Jul/Aug 40 Nitrogen project listing 2016 Mar/Apr 28
abatic stripping reactor (ASR) – a split flow at Grand Quevilly in France in 2009, the Issues with ammonia transportation Jul/Aug 32 Syngas project listing 2016 Sep/Oct 30
31 reactor, the top of which is a urea syn- A number of case studies were also world’s largest single burner nitric acid Lessons learned from ammonia industry incidents Jul/Aug 58 Syngas technology
thesis section, the bottom the stripping presented. Casale recently upgraded a plant. The 6m burner was the largest yet Low carbon syngas Jan/Feb 20 Southbank House, Black Prince Road
The future of ammonium nitrate Sep/Oct 32
32 section, with a 65% single pass CO2 con- Toyo-built ammonia plant in Russia at designed, and necessitated extensive
Hydrogen technology
Reformer furnace revamps
Reformer performance and tube life management
London SE1 7SJ, England
version rate. Steam consumption is 10% Nevinnomyssk. The plant had originally computational fluid dynamics (CFD) stud- Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
Creating new value from under-utilised hydrogen systems Nov/Dec 56 Waste to power Nov/Dec 53
33 lower than for a conventional process. been designed for a capacity of 1,360 ies to ensure even mixing. ■
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

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2 INDEX 2016 INDEX 2016

3 Nitrogen industry news Syngas news W E C O N V E Y Q U A L I T Y

High Performance
5 Country Nitrogen Industry News Issue Pg Country Syngas News Issue Pg What’s in issue 345
Australia Investigation into ammonia leak Mar/Apr 10 Australia Environmental approvals for Tassie Shoals extended Sep/Oct 16
Bucket Elevators
6 Orica expansion approved Mar/Apr 10 Feasibility study on GTL plant Sep/Oct 16
Oswals settle with Apache Sep/Oct 11
7 Pilbara AN plan begins commissioning May/Jun 12
Linc Energy goes into administration May/Jun 15
Azerbaijan SOCAR to acquire AzMeCo Nov/Dec 15
Azerbaijan SOCAR start-up scheduled for 2018 May/Jun 13 Canada Methanol a possible option for British Columbia Sep/Oct 16
8 Bangladesh Kafco faces seasonal shutdown again May/Jun 12 Methanol ships go into service May/Jun 15
Nitrogen in
Brazil Vale selling fertilizer business to Mosaic Nov/Dec 11 Chile Methanex secures gas supply Sep/Oct 16 Southeast Asia
9 Yara considers purchase of Vale fertilizers Jul/Aug 12 China Air Liquide strengthens Chinese partnership May/Jun 15
Brunei India considering Brunei joint venture Mar/Apr 11 Another new MTO facility Sep/Oct 15
10 Canada Agrium in merger talks with PotashCorp Sep/Oct 10 Global agreement on methanol-fuelled trucks May/Jun 14
AN code of practise now in force Jan/Feb 12 Honeywell breaks ground on MTO catalyst plant Jul/Aug 15 ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 Iffco confirms urea plant now on hold again Jan/Feb 12 New ASU for methanol production Mar/Apr 15

Worker dies after ammonia leak at Medicine Hat Jan/Feb 12 SES signs agreement for 20 gasification plants May/Jun 14
Nitrogen project
Denmark Topsoe publishes research in improved catalysts Jul/Aug 14
China AN blamed for Tianjin explosion
Start-up for largest single train melamine plant
Mar/Apr 10
Nov/Dec 11 Europe EMSA positive on methanol as shipping fuel Jul/Aug 15
13 Topsoe establishes new R&D centre Mar/Apr 10 Germany CO2 to chemicals project Jul/Aug 15
Egypt KBR re-starts work at Kima Mar/Apr 12 Linde confirms merger talks with Praxair Sep/Oct 16
14 Equatorial EPC contract awarded for urea complex Mar/Apr 11 Iran Topsoe to license methanol technology Mar/Apr 15
Guinea Japan Hydrogen from renewables Nov/Dec 15
15 France Borealis buys AN storage site
IFA inaugurates Global Fertilizer Day
Jul/Aug 13
Nov/Dec 12
Waste to methanol plant proposed
Progress on UCG project
Nov/Dec 14
Mar/Apr 15
Early detection of
16 Germany Clariant partnership inaugurates new research centre Jul/Aug 10 Country Nitrogen Industry News Issue Pg process risks
Peru New hydrogen plant Nov/Dec 15
Explosion kills three at Ludwigshaven Nov/Dec 12
17 Initiative to buy CERs from nitric acid projects Jan/Feb 12
Russia Control systems upgrade at Togliatti Jan/Feb 12 Russia Ammonia-methanol complex planned for East coast Nov/Dec 14
Finance secured for ammonia plant Jan/Feb 12 MHI to build ammonia-methanol plant May/Jun 15
Pumps for extreme operations Mar/Apr 12
18 Shell and UFT collaborate on S-enhanced urea May/Jun 10
Turbine upgrade at Togliatti Sep/Oct 11 Southeast Asia Reforming methanol to hydrogen Sep/Oct 15
Uralchem completes ammonia revamp Jan/Feb 10 South Korea Completion for methanol-fuelled ship Sep/Oct 17
India Ammonia supply disruption at Haldia May/Jun 12
19 Saudi Arabia Ma’aden begins trial operations at ammonia plant Nov/Dec 10 Start-up for gasification power plant Sep/Oct 17
Coal-based urea plant proposal
Incremental progress on reviving old plants
12 Switzerland ChemChina to buy Syngenta Mar/Apr 10 T’dad & Tobago Methanol and DME plant renegotiated Sep/Oct 14 Ammonia catalysts
20 Investigation into AN dumping Sep/Oct 12 Taiwan Increase in high purity ammonia production Jan/Feb 10 UAE Agreements signed for GTL commercialisation Jan/Feb 15
New catalyst recycling facility Sep/Oct 13 UK Global methanol capacity to reach 184 million t/a Jul/Aug 14
Tanzania Construction on urea plant to begin this year Jul/Aug 12
21 New nitric acid plant for Deepak
Progress stalled on plant re-start
13 Turkey Turkey bans sale of ammonium nitrate Jul/Aug 10
First shale gas arrives in UK Nov/Dec 14
USA Another delay for Mississippi Power Sep/Oct 14
SPIC begins switch from naphtha Jan/Feb 13 Ukraine No takers for OPZ Sep/Oct 10
22 Toyo wins Chambal contract May/Jun 12 OPZ to be privatised Jul/Aug 12
Carbon dioxide to methanol process Mar/Apr 14
Celanese considering second methanol plant Jul/Aug 14
Urea prices to be frozen Jul/Aug 12
23 Yara acquires Tata’s urea business Sep/Oct 12
UK Treatment for wastewater streams Mar/Apr 12 China still driving methanol market says HIS
Construction complete at ENVIA GTL plant
USA Arkansas ammonia plant up and running Jul/Aug 10
Indonesia Financial closure for ammonia project Jul/Aug 13 Construction contract awarded for Natgasoline plant Nov/Dec 14
24 Indonesia foils AN smuggling attempts Nov/Dec 11
CF Industries start up new UAN plant May/Jun 11
CTL plant mooted for Utah Jan/Feb 14 AUMUND Chain and
CF suspends work on Courtright expansion Nov/Dec 10
Iran Gas agreement signals progress on JV May/Jun 10 Cronus nitrogen plant delayed Jul/Aug 10
G2X buys into Beaumont methanol project May/Jun 14 Belt Bucket Elevators NITROGEN+SYNGAS
Joint venture formed for urea development Nov/Dec 10 Ground broken on new methanol plant Mar/Apr 14
CSB report on West calls for tighter standards Mar/Apr 10
Landfill GTL plant agreement Mar/Apr 14
Partner selected for Indian urea development Jul/Aug 12 CVR completes purchase of Rentech May/Jun 12 • For the Fertilizer, Minerals
26 Shiraz ammonia-urea plant commissioned Jan/Feb 13 Dyno Nobel completes new ammonia plant Nov/Dec 10
Linc files for Chapter 11 in US Jul/Aug 14
Start-up for Marvdasht plant Sep/Oct 13 Foster Wheeler to manage ammonia plant Mar/Apr 11
NWIW “pauses” methanol plant application Mar/Apr 14 and Cement Industry JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
NWIW seeks to improve environmental credentials Jan/Feb 14
27 Israel New ammonia plant ready for tender Jul/Aug 13 Ground broken on small scale ammonia plant May/Jun 11
Plan to relocate methanol plants to Virginia Sep/Oct 14
Threat to ammonia tank Mar/Apr 12 IGCC plant bought for ammonia production Jul/Aug 10
Primus to build modular methanol plant May/Jun 14
• Efficient transport of any
28 Italy Tecnimont earnings up for 2015 May/Jun 13 ITC to rule on alleged dumping of AS Sep/Oct 10
Progress on Kalama methanol plant Nov/Dec 15 kind of bulk material
KBR buys Ecoplanning, Plinke and Weatherly Jan/Feb 10
Malaysia Ammonia to form part of phosphate complex Mar/Apr 11 Refineries turn to over the fence hydrogen Mar/Apr 15
29 Chinese investors considering new urea plant Sep/Oct 12
KBR Weatherly launches new nitric acid technology
LSB finances new nitrogen facilities
Start-up for second Methanex methanol plant Jan/Feb 14
Samur to come on-stream in 2H 2016 May/Jun 13 Start-up for pilot GTL plant Sep/Oct 14
New ammonia plant for Nebraska? Jan/Feb 10
30 Netherlands Stamicarbon launches HSE portal Sep/Oct 10 Port Neal nears completion Sep/Oct 11
Technip awarded contract for hydrogen plant
Tecnimont to develop gas-based ethylene technology
Stone laying ceremony for new granulation plant May/Jun 10 Start-up for new CF urea plant Jan/Feb 10 Topsoe to license new methanol plant Mar/Apr 14
31 Nigeria Abraaj Group buys into Indorama Nov/Dec 12 TFI wins legal challenge against ammonia rule Nov/Dec 10 Yet more delays for coal gasification plant May/Jun 14
Indorama urea complex enters commissioning May/Jun 10 TKIS to build new fertilizer plant Mar/Apr 11 Yuhuang pressing ahead with methanol project Jul/Aug 14 AUMUND Foerdertechnik GmbH Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 Pakistan Budget includes major package for agriculture Jul/Aug 12 Uzbekistan Casale to modernise nitric acid plant Mar/Apr 11 Uzbekistan GTL plant “still under development” Jan/Feb 15 Saalhoffer Str. 17 • 47495 Rheinberg • Germany London SE1 7SJ, England
Poland State to buy out Acron share in Azoty Nov/Dec 12 Vietnam Coal-based producers in trouble Nov/Dec 11 Vietnam PetroVietnam considering methanol JV Jan/Feb 14 · Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

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Nitrogen project listing 2017 Contractor Licensor Company Location Product mt/d Status Start-up
What’s in issue 345

7 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Nitrogenmucek Petfurdo Nitric acid 1,150 UC 2017
Contractor Licensor Company Location Product mt/d Status Start-up thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Nitrogenmuvek Petfurdo Ammonium nitrate 1,550 UC 2017
8 date
Nitrogen in
Casale Casale Zuari Goa Urea 1,050 RE 2017 Southeast Asia
Casale Casale Iffco Kalol Ammonia 1,140 RE 2016
n.a. Casale Fertial Arzew Ammonia 1,000 RE 2017
Casale Stamicarbon Iffco Kalol Urea 1,780 RE 2016
10 AZERBAIJAN Casale Casale Iffco Phulpur Ammonia 1,850 RE 2016
Samsung Haldor Topsoe SOCAR Sumgait Ammonia 1,200 UC 2018 Casale Saipem Iffco Phulpur Urea 2,115 RE 2016
11 Samsung Stamicarbon SOCAR Sumgait Urea 2,000 UC 2018 Casale Casale Iffco Phulpur Ammonia 1,215 RE 2016

12 BANGLADESH Casale Saipem Iffco Phulpur Urea 1,600 RE 2016 Nitrogen project
Uhde India Pvt UFT Kafco Chittagong Urea 2,100 RE 2017 Casale Casale Iffco Aonla Ammonia 2 x 1,850 RE 2016 listing
Casale Saipem Iffco Aonla Urea 2 x 1,600 RE 2016
PDIL KBR Matix Fert & Chem Panagarh Ammonia 2,200 UC 2016
thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Grodno Azot Grodno Nitric acid 1,200 UC 2018
14 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Grodno Azot Grodno Ammonium nitrate 3,500 UC 2018
Saipem Saipem Matix Fert & Chem Panagarh Urea 3,850 UC 2016
n.a. n.a. Deepak F&C Dahej, Gujarat Nitric acid 725 DE 2018 ■ COVER FEATURE 3
15 Engineers India Ltd Haldor Topsoe RCFL Ramagundam Ammonia 2,200 BE 2019
Samsung KBR YPFB Bulo Bulo Ammonia 1,200 C 2016 Engineers India Ltd Saipem RCFL Ramagundam Urea 3,850 BE 2019 Early detection of
16 Samsung TEC YPFB Bulo Bulo Urea 2,100 C 2016 TEC KBR Chambal Fert & Chem Gadepan Ammonia 2,200 CA 2019
process risks
BRAZIL TEC TEC Chambal Fert & Chem Gadepan Urea 2 x 2,000 CA 2019
17 Technip, TEC Haldor Topsoe Petrobras Uberaba Ammonia 1,500 BE 2017 n.a. n.a. FCIL Talcher, Odisha Ammonia 2,700 P 2020?
Tecnimont KBR Petrobras Tres Lagoas Ammonia 2,200 UC 2018 n.a. n.a. FCIL Talcher, Odisha Urea 3,850 P 2020?
18 Tecnimont Stamicarbon, UFT Petrobras Tres Lagoas Urea 3,600 UC 2018 n.a. n.a. FCIL Talcher, Odisha Ammonium nitrate 1,000 P 2020? ■ COVER FEATURE 4
19 Casale Casale Koch Nitrogen Brandon, MN Urea 700 RE 2016 TEC KBR PAU Sulawesi Ammonia 1,900 UC 2018 Ammonia catalysts
Casale Casale CF Industries Courtright, ON Urea 1,100 RE On hold TEC/PT Rekayasa KBR Pusri Palembang Ammonia 2,750 C 2016
20 n.a. Saipem Agrium Redwater, AL Urea 2,600 RE 2017 TEC/PT Rekayasa TEC Pusri Palembang Urea 2,000 C 2016

Casale Casale Inner Mongolia Manshi Erdos Ammonia 1,630 RE 2016 STAC Stamicarbon Pardis Petrochemical Pars Urea 3,250 C 2016
22 Casale Casale Henan Junhua Zhumadian, Henan Ammonia 2,000 RE 2016 Hampa Stamicarbon Lordegan Petrochemical Lordegan Urea 3,250 BE 2018
Casale Casale Henan Jinkai Kaifeng, Henan Ammonia 2,000 RE 2017 Hampa Stamicarbon Zanjan Petrochemical Zanjan Urea 3,250 BE 2018
23 Casale Casale Shenua Ningxia Ningxia Ammonia 500 RE 2016 n.a. Saipem, UFT Hengan Petrochemical Assaluyeh Urea 3,250 UC 2018
CCEC KBR Inner Linggu Chem Co Yixing, Jingsu Ammonia 1,500 C 2016 Hampa Stamicarbon Golestan Petrochemical Golestan Urea 3,250 BE On hold
24 CCEC Stamicarbon Inner Linggu Chem Co Yixing, Jingsu Urea 2,700 C 2016 n.a. n.a. Indo-Iranian JV Chabahar Ammonia 2,200 P n.a.
n.a. Stamicarbon Inner Mongolia Huajin Panjin Urea 2,860 C 2017 n.a. n.a. Indo-Iranian JV Chabahar Urea 3,800 P n.a.

Huafu Saipem Wulan Coal Group Wulanhaote Urea 4,000 UC 2017 IRAQ
Henan Xinlianxin Stamicarbon Henan Xinlianxin Fert Xinxiang Urea +40 RE 2018 NFC KBR NFC Baiji Ammonia 1,200 RE On hold
EGYPT NFC Stamicarbon NFC Baiji Urea 2,250 RE On hold
27 Tecnimont KBR Kima Aswan Ammonia 1,200 UC 2018 ISRAEL
Tecnimont Stamicarbon Kima Aswan Urea 1,575 UC 2018 n.a. n.a. State owned Mishor Rotem Ammonia 360 P 2020
28 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. MOPCO Damietta Ammonia 2 x 1,200 C 2016
thyssenkrupp I.S. Stamicarbon MOPCO Damietta Urea 2 x 1,925 C 2016
MHI Haldor Topsoe Petronas Siptang Ammonia 2,100 C 2017
29 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. EHC Suez Nitric acid 850 C 2016
MHI Saipem/UFT Petronas Siptang Urea 3,500 C 2017
thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. EHC Suez Ammonium nitrate 1,050 C 2016
n.a. Saipem Pemex Pajaritos Urea 1,500 RE n.a.
Casale Casale, UFT Borealis Chimie Grandpuits Urea 850 RE 2016
KEY Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 Technip Haldor Topsoe Gabon Fertilizer Co Port Gentil Ammonia 2,200 DE On hold
BE: Basic engineering DE: Design engineering P: Planned/proposed Conversion: London SE1 7SJ, England
Technip Saipem/UFT Gabon Fertilizer Co Port Gentil Urea 3,850 DE On hold C: Completed/commissioning FS: Feasibility study RE: Revamp 1 t/d of hydrogen = 464 Nm3/h Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 CA: Contract awarded n.a.: Information not available UC: Under construction 1 t/d of natural gas = 1,400 Nm3/d
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

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5 Contractor Licensor Company Location Product mt/d Status Start-up Contractor Licensor Company Location Product mt/d Status Start-up What’s in issue 345
date date
7 Tecnimont/Yara UFT Yara Sluiskil Urea 1,625 RE 2018 KBR, Casale KBR, Casale Agrium Borger, TX Ammonia 1,900 RE 2017 ■ COVER FEATURE 1
IHI Stamicarbon Dakota Gasification Beulah, ND Urea 1,000 UC 2017
8 n.a. Casale Ballance Agri-Nutrients Kapuni Urea 1,400 RE 2019
KBR KBR Dyno Nobel Waggaman, LA Ammonia 2,400 C 2016
Nitrogen in
Black & Veatch KBR, Casale Koch Nitrogen Enid, OK Ammonia 1,680 RE 2016
NIGERIA Black & Veatch, KBR Stamicarbon Koch Nitrogen Enid, OK Urea 2,200 C 2017 Southeast Asia
9 TEC/Daewoo KBR Indorama Port Harcourt Ammonia 2,400 C 2016 Linde Linde Simplot Phosphates Rock Springs, WY Ammonia 600 UC 2017
TEC/Daewoo TEC Indorama Port Harcourt Urea 4,000 C 2016 Casale Casale Rentech Nitrogen East Dubuque, IL Ammonia 1,180 RE 2016
10 Saipem Haldor Topsoe Dangote Fertilizer Ltd Agenbode Ammonia 2 x 2,200 UC 2017 SNC Lavalin Casale Summit Clean Energy Pennwell, TX Ammonia n.a. DE On hold
Saipem Saipem/UFT Dangote Fertilizer Ltd Agenbode Urea 2 x 3,850 UC 2017 SNC Lavalin Saipem Summit Clean Energy Pennwell, TX Urea 2,245 DE On hold ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 n.a. Haldor Topsoe BioNitrogen Florida Ammonia 300 DE 2017
12 Chemoprojekt Casale Azomures Targu Mures Ammonia 2 x 1,050 RE 2016
Tecnimont KBR Cronus Chemical Tuscola, IL Ammonia 2,200 CA 2020? Nitrogen project
Tecnimont Stamicarbon Cronus Chemical Tuscola, IL Urea 3,850 CA 2020?
Chemoprojekt Stamicarbon Azomures Targu Mures Urea 1,425 C 2017
KBR KBR BASF/Yara Freeport, TX Ammonia 2,270 UC 2017 listing
13 RUSSIA n.a. Stamicarbon PCS Nitrogen Geismar, LA Urea +450 RE 2018
NIIK NIIK, Stamicarbon Minudobrenija Perm Perm Urea 1,720 RE 2016 Matrix Service n.a. Fortigen LLC Geneva, NE Ammonia 90 UC 2017
14 Casale Casale EuroChem Nevinnomyssk Urea 1,600 RE 2016 n.a. n.a. Phibro Wabash River, IN Ammonia 1,500 RE 2018
Casale Casale Togliatti Azot Togliatti Urea 2,200 DE 2019 ■ COVER FEATURE 3
15 Tecnimont KBR EuroChem Kingisepp Ammonia 2,700 BE 2018
MHI Haldor Topsoe NavoijAzot Navoij Ammonia 2,000 UC 2018
Tecnimont KBR EuroChem Nevinnomyssk Ammonia 2,700 BE n.a. MHI Saipem, UFT NavoijAzot Navoij Urea 1,750 UC 2018 Early detection of
16 n.a. Stamicarbon Uralchem Perm Urea +770 RE 2019 n.a. Casale NavoijAzot Navoij Nitric acid 1,500 UC 2018 process risks
Saipem Sapiem, UFT Baltic Urea Plant St Petersburg Urea 3,500 DE On hold
17 MHI/Sojitz Haldor Topsoe PhosAgro Cherepovets Ammonia 2,200 BE 2017
Technip thyssenkrupp I.S. PetroVietnam Phu My Ammonia 1,600 RE 2017
Chemoprojekt Stamicarbon PhosAgro Cherepovets Urea 1,500 UC 2018
18 NIIK, Chemoprojekt Stamicarbon PhosAgro Cherepovets Urea 1,500 RE 2017 ■ COVER FEATURE 4
19 Daelim
thyssenkrupp I.S.
thyssenkrupp I.S.
Safco IV
Ras al Khair
Al Jubail
2017 We’re used to Ammonia catalysts
Chemoprojekt Haldor Topsoe Duslo Sala Sala Ammonia 1,600 RE 2018 working under
Chemoprojekt Casale Yara Koping Nitric acid 685 UC 2017
n.a. n.a. Yara Koping Ammonium nitrate 1,360 RE 2017 SBN specializes in high-pressure vessels for
23 TANZANIA the nitrogen fertilizer industry, in particular ammonia
Ferrostaal Haldor Topsoe Tanzanian Petroleum Mtwara Ammonia 2,200 DE 2020 synthesis equipment, which is exposed to demanding
24 Ferrostaal n.a. Tanzanian Petroleum Mtwara Urea 3,800 DE 2020 process temperatures and pressures.
We design and build customized converter
shells, heat exchangers and waste heat boilers, etc., for
n.a. Haldor Topsoe Eti Bakir Mardin Ammonia 300 UC 2017 all commonly used processes. Converter shells are
thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Bagfas Bandirma Nitric acid 1,195 C 2016
26 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. Bagfas Bandirma Ammonium nitrate 1,550 C 2016
designed and built preferably in multilayer technology.
We are proud that our skilled craftsmen in combination
27 TURKMENISTAN with up-to-date technology perfectly handle the
MHI Haldor Topsoe Turkmenkhimiya Garabogaz Ammonia 2,000 CA 2018 challenges of the ever increasing size of the equipment,

28 MHI Saipem/UFT Turkmenkhimiya Garabogaz Urea 3,500 UC 2017 the requirements of new materials or the specified heat
treatment of the complete apparatus.
That gives our customers a true single-
29 thyssenkrupp I.S. thyssenkrupp I.S. CF Industries Port Neal, IA Ammonia 2,200 C 2017
source supplier of highly reliable equipment that
thyssenkrupp I.S. Stamicarbon/UFT CF Industries Port Neal, IA Urea 3,490 C 2017 precisely conforms to specification.
30 OCI Construction KBR Iowa Fert Co Wever, IA Ammonia 2,000 C 2017 NH3 So for your next ammonia project, why not
OCI Construction Stamicarbon/UFT Iowa Fert Co Wever, IA Urea 2,200 C 2017 ask our specialists´advice?
31 OCI Construction thyssenkrupp I.S. Iowa Fert Co Wever, IA Nitric acid 1,530 C 2017
OCI Construction thyssenkrupp I.S. Iowa Fert Co Wever, IA Ammonium nitrate 1,900 C 2017 Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 OCI Construction thyssenkrupp I.S. Iowa Fert Co Wever, IA UAN 4,300 C 2017 EN ISO 9001
London SE1 7SJ, England
KBR Stamicarbon, UFT Agrium Borger, TX Urea 1,800 RE 2017 Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
Schoeller-Bleckmann Nitec, Hauptstrasse 2, A-2630 Ternitz, P: +43/2630/319-0, F: +43/2630/319-19, E:, I:

Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

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Early detection of What’s in issue 345

Limitations: Because QRA mostly Fig 1: Extended safety pyramid offsite facility, which is a resource and
5 involves incident and failure data – exclud- capital intensive project.
ing day-to-day process and alarm data that Thus, the need is clear for an approach
6 contain information on precursor events – it that helps facilities become proactive in

process risks
has limited predictive power. Interestingly,
risk detection and close the existing gaps. ■ COVER FEATURE 1
a summary report6 by the Joint Research Next, a new approach is outlined that iden-
Centre and Denmark Risk National Labora- observable tifies risk levels and drivers dynamically
8 tory of the European Commission indicates near misses and can help busy plant personnel harness Nitrogen in
that risk estimates based on generic reli- the insights in the big data and take appro- Southeast Asia
9 ability/failure databases are prone to
hidden near misses
priate actions rapidly.
The implementation of a new software, Dynamic Risk Analyzer™ (DRA), developed by Near-Miss biases and could result in large deviations
10 Management and based on a groundbreaking early risk detection technology, is outlined in depending on data sources. Their project Taking a different approach
employed seven partners that conducted ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 this article. DRA assesses the risk level of plant operations and identifies early indicators of risk analyses for the same ammonia stor- Accidents are rare events, which occur
age facility, finding “large differences in Limitations: These systems fall short when a series of failures of risk manage-
developing process problems. By utilising such an early risk detection system, the operating
frequency assessments of the same haz- when users need insights on parts of ment barriers occur in succession – imply- Nitrogen project
teams can assess and resolve process issues at their initiation stages – driving a proactive risk ardous scenarios.” For these reasons, the operation that are becoming riskier. These ing a ‘chance’ factor involved in their listing
importance of utilising process-specific situations require detailed analysis of oper- occurrences. Post-accident investigations
13 management culture and workflow. Real-life examples, where process issues were detected and
databases for objective risk analyses has ating conditions to identify new changes, show that there are typically several near-
addressed early on using DRA technology, are presented. been gaining recognition. which is not the focus of these systems. misses or precursors that occur over time
14 With aging equipment and expected depar- before their occurrence1-4. This concept is ■ COVER FEATURE 3
Safety audits ture of many seasoned operators from the captured in the well-known “safety pyra-

inimising risks related to process of potentially evolving disturbances to help This article provides an overview of Many facilities conduct safety, health and workforce, this handicap becomes even mid”. Fig. 1 introduces an extended version
safety and reliability is the high- avert unplanned shutdowns and accidents. the current process risk analysis methods environmental audits using both internal more considerable. of the safety pyramid, indicating two catego- Early detection of
16 est priority for operating teams Big data is indeed big – typically, over and the gaps in the risk assessment land- teams and consulting companies. The fre- ries of near-misses that are precursors to process risks
today. Although plant operations are 1 billion data points are recorded every scape. It introduces a new approach for quency and effectiveness of safety audits Condition based monitoring tools accidents. First is observable near misses,
17 equipped with process monitoring tools, month with just 500 tags (recording sensor proactive risk assessment to help facilities depend highly on the resource availability These tools are mainly designed for equip- which refer to events that are typically nota-
current applications have limitations, par- measurements every second). It is often operate safely and reliably. To demonstrate for the facility. In most cases, safety pro- ment condition monitoring. They identify ble by the operations team, such as, equip-
18 ticularly, lacking information on developing characterised by the four Vs: volume, vari- this vision, the use and implementation of fessionals with support from engineers, abnormal situations in real- or near-time ment failures, leaks, etc. Second is hidden ■ COVER FEATURE 4
risks, which are typically hidden in the data ety, velocity, and variability, which change Dynamic Risk Analyzer (DRA) software at operators and sometimes even managers by comparing equipment’s performance near misses, which refer to events that
19 and are not visible easily. with time. Lost in the flood of this big data Asean Bintulu Fertilizer (ABF) is discussed, periodically review operating procedures with its expected behaviour and alerting can only be detected through rigorous data
Most of the incidents and unexpected are indicators that can help plants under- along with four real-life case studies. and safety records, and conduct interviews the user when there is a mismatch. Both analysis and are typically not observable to
Ammonia catalysts
20 process failures can be avoided if the oper- stand the dynamically changing risks and about safety practices. model-driven (based on quantitative pro- human eye. The novel approach of identi-
ating team gets timely information about avoid some of the losses the chemical and Current risk analyses and their Limitations: Formal, in-depth, safety cess models) as well as data-driven tools fying hidden near misses in the process
21 developing risks and takes preventative petrochemical industry experience every limitations audits are conducted periodically, the fre- (based on clustering and dimensionality and alarm databases permits detection of
action. Post-incident investigations show year (due to unexpected failures). Research quency ranging from once a year (in rare reduction approaches) are available in the operational problems at their developing
22 that there are several near misses that confirms that taking a different-in-kind Improved process risk management is the cases more than once a year) to once in sev- market that help operators take immediate stages. This approach forms the backbone
occur before these events evolve (gradually approach to harnessing big data – based primary outcome of the widely used Pro- eral years. An integral part of these audits corrective actions as real-time alerts are of Dynamic Risk Analyzer (DRA) software,
23 or often, rapidly) to become abnormal situ- on processing the information directly, cess Safety Management (PSM) standard, is to review incident history and observable dispatched. which analyses process data to determine
ations1-4. While advances have been made from a risk perspective, with advanced data which is promulgated by the US Occupa- near misses that are reported by employ- Limitations: Many of them require con- risk indicators.
in process risk management in the past few mining techniques – creates a wealth of tional Safety and Health Administration to ees. The latter of which depends upon the tinuous efforts in maintaining the base- As previously mentioned, with new
years, there still remain significant informa- insights that were previously unavailable5. maintain and improve safety, operability, safety culture at the facility and may not line. In addition, they often involve remote advances in information technology, a

25 tion gaps that prevent facilities from proac- This has significant potential to transform and productivity of plant operations. While always provide an accurate picture of risks. monitoring and diagnosis of the data at an typical industrial plant operation monitors NITROGEN+SYNGAS

tively identifying process risks. The latest the way facilities operate, and to reduce advances have been made in the process Furthermore, these approaches do not
process monitoring techniques provide clear unexpected disruptions. risk assessment area in the last decade, have the capability to monitor the change Fig 2: Hidden near miss and evolution of a major event
26 insights on current operating conditions, Equipped with insights from this full there still remain significant gaps causing in the process risk levels in real, or even
however, they are not predictive in nature. range of data pinpointing changing risk lev- facilities to continually look for new solu- near, time. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 With new advances in information tech- els on a dynamic basis, a plant operations tions. The current risk analysis techniques
nology, a typical industrial plant opera- team can identify when problems actually and associated limitations are as follows5: Operations management and
28 tion monitors hundreds (even thousands) start. Going further, plant management manufacturing intelligence tools
of parameters continuously, generating and engineers can utilise leading indica- Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) Operations management and manufactur-

29 on the order of 10 million to 50 million tors ex-ante to take proactive measures to Typically, QRAs are conducted once every ing intelligence software provide KPIs (key
data points every day. Over the past few prevent and avoid operational problems. 3-5 years by most facilities. These use vari- performance indicators) for performance
30 years, although facilities have become Ultimately, this type of knowledge can help ous data sources available to the industry, monitoring of operations, and assessment
‘data rich’, they are ‘information poor’ – engineers and safety personnel to moni- such as incident data, material safety data, of availability/effectiveness of equipment. time
31 this is typically referred to as the ‘big data tor the effectiveness of existing risk reduc- and equipment and human reliability data, They focus on trending, reporting, and vis-
challenge’. There is a great need for tools tion measures and to point out issues to identify incident scenarios and evaluate ual analytics of a select data slice, which Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 that can analyse this ‘big data’ and inform early on, so that management can allo- their risks by defining the probability of fail- help users monitor the variability of differ- hidden near-miss alarm
(observable near miss)
incident major event London SE1 7SJ, England
plant personnel of changes in the risk pro- cate resources to the most needed areas ure and their potential consequences. They ent parameters in a time period (shift, day, Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 file of the plant over time with indication before they become actual problems. help users identify areas for risk reduction. week, etc.).
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

40 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 41 Web: w
1 numbers

2 PROCESS SAFETY AND RELIABILITY insight Early Bird Discount*
3 numbers

SAVE Use the discount
code bcinsight
hundreds (sometimes thousands) of param- risks related to process safety and reli- within the organisation. Easy web-based
beyond $400 when booking your
What’s in issue 345
5 eters continuously, generating extensive ability is the highest priority for ABF’s oper- access ensured the risk results to be numbers
delegate ticket.

data sets, exceeding the billion mark within ating team. Unsafe plant conditions may accessed from anywhere within the organi-
6 a few weeks of operation. The approach of lead to process safety incidents, which sation’s network.

identifying hidden near misses requires in the worst case, can cost lives, risk the During the installation and training, the ■ COVER FEATURE 1
advanced data-mining techniques to sift business, and jeopardise the reputation of focus remained on cultivating a proactive
through this big data to find new abnormal- the organisation. Similarly, downtime, due response culture, that is, once a process
8 ities that often cannot be detected using to unreliability of equipment, can lead to issue is identified by DRA and confirmed by Nitrogen in
manual/visual data analysis or engineering
models. This information can then be used
opportunity loss. ABF is equipped with the
latest tools in process monitoring, such
the team, the next step involved coming-
up with a solution to reduce or eliminate
Value Added Fertilizer Summit Asia 2017 Southeast Asia
to estimate risk that indicate likelihood of as Alarm Management System (AMS) and the risk.
Improving margins with new technologies, solutions and application rates
10 normal conditions escalating to abnormal Plant Information Management System ABF believed that shifting into proactive
levels, providing insights on potential per- (PIMS), and historians, however, these approach in dealing with risks and threats
15-16 February Singapore ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 formance issues in the operations. tools are not predictive in nature. In real could not be achieved just by attending
Fig. 2 shows the typical evolution of a life situations, most of the time critical the training and learning about the system
12 major event. By identifying the hidden near alarms are triggered too late for any proac- alone. It had to be embedded into ABF SPECIALTY FERTILIZERS NPK COMPOUNDS PREMIUM MICRONUTRIENTS Nitrogen project
misses, before the alarms are triggered, tive corrective actions to be taken. work flow to ensure continuity, sustenance listing
the techniques behind DRA software ena- In 2014, ABF decided to change the and improvement. Over the past two years,
bles the operations team to address the status quo and adopt a proactive organisa- ABF management has worked hard to
14 events at their formation stage, before tional culture and workflow. The vision was achieve this vision. The leading indicators Capitalize on t he exciting value-added fertilize r sector,
they become visible or threatening. The to have a leading indicators system that are now reported and discussed during the
which is forecast to see a year on year growth rate ■ COVER FEATURE 3
dynamic risk levels guide plant personnel can inform the operations team about plant morning Area Based Team (ABT) meetings
15 to the sources of the risk – to deploy the
right resources in a timely manner, to plan
risks early on, giving them sufficient time to
take strategic corrective actions and confi-
as a permanent agenda item. Based on
the outcomes from those discussions, a
in excess of 6% over the next decade Early detection of
16 just-in-time maintenance, and to head off dently maintain safe and reliable operation. mitigation action plan is devised and sta- process risks
potential problems – several days or even The first step towards accomplishing tus updates are reported in subsequent
17 weeks in advance. The results can be such resilience was selection of new soft- meetings until the change is normalised or
made accessible to all users (plant man- ware, Dynamic Risk Analyzer (DRA), as the fixed. A mitigation that requires additional Slow and
18 agers, supervisors, engineers, reliability process risk management platform at their resources (particularly, monetary) is esca- controlled Stabilizers NPK Water-soluble Premium Future of ■ COVER FEATURE 4
release nitrogen and inhibitors compounds fertilizers micronutrients biostimulants
and maintenance crew, as well as opera- facility. Instilling awareness and respon- lated to the ABF management.
19 tors) to promote transparency among the sibilty was given a high priority during the With this arrangement, ABF now confi-
operating team and to complement their DRA implementation. The user base ranged dently maintains the safety and reliability
Ammonia catalysts
20 existing predictive maintenance, PSM, from top management to the frontliners in of its plant facilities, avoiding incidents
hazard identification, and quantitative risk the plant i.e shift superintendent, operation and downtime, and importantly, remains a
21 analysis activities. technicians, etc. Focus groups were formed highly profitable organisation. Fig. 3 shows Selection of Key Speakers
to formulate detailed training program for the risk schematics in the DRA software.
22 Use of DRA at ABF operations each group, ranging from basic principles to Through analysis of large volumes of past Anil Chandramani, Chief Investment Officer
overall vision. A series of training sessions and current process data, the latest plant International Finance Corporation
Oliver Hatfield
23 Asean Bintulu Fertilizer (ABF), a subsidiary were carried out during normal working days risk indices are delivered autonomously to
Grant Roberts, Chief Agronomist Director of Fertilizers and Chemicals
of PETRONAS, produces 700,000 tonnes and shift hours to cover all identified key the operating team, along with risk status Integer Research
Yara Asia Ltd

of urea annually. Due to the nature of personnel. A simple step by step guideline for individual tags. This allows them to drill
materials involved and interdependency on the tool was also developed so that the down and conduct detailed resolution of Jidong Zhai, Chief Operation Officer
25 between its operating units, minimising knowledge can be transferred and stored the risk drivers on a daily basis. Kingenta Ecological Engineering Group NITROGEN+SYNGAS

Integer’s market-leading analysts
have forecast an impressive year on
Fig 3: DRA risk overview Fig 4: 60 day plot of level control valve opening John Hassell, Research Manager
26 along with early indicators pointed by DRA Koch Industries
year growth rate in excess of 6%
over the next decade for the value JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
individual tags individual process
27 risk status plant risk index Andreas Pacholski, Senior Specialist, R&D
added fertilizer sector - making it the
level control valve tests by operations team fastest growing fertilizer sector in
valve opening Eurochem Agro
this period.
28 ammonia 100
overall plant risk index early indicators by DRA 80 Krish Shanmuga, Global R&D Director This presents a great opportunity –
29 70 Solvay and Value Added Fertilizer Summit
60 Asia 2017 (VAFSA 2017) is the must-
urea 50 Laisiong Wong, Senior Marketing Manager
30 attend event for you to ensure you

40 BASF Asia
capitalize on this opportunity.
31 utilities
10 Ravi Prasad, President, Marketing
0 Coromandel International Limited Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 1/22 1/30 2/7 2/15 2/23 3/2 3/10 3/18 London SE1 7SJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Book your discounted delegate ticket: Request more information: Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

42 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 e: | t: +44 20 7503 1265 Web: w
*Early Bird Discount must end 31st January 2017. Please use bcinsight as your discount code at the checkout page.


5 Case studies Fig 5: Valve plug checks on other temperature indicators Fig 8: 120 day plot of bucket elevator end drum displacement References What’s in issue 345
and controllers – ensuring their reliability 1. Kleindorfer P. R., et al.: “Accident Epidemiol-
Since embarking on utilising DRA in daily risk as well. ogy and the U.S. Chemical Industry: Accident
6 assessment, ABF has benefited significantly Ammonia tank base temperature read- 10 history and worst-case data from rmp*info,”

by early identification of plant problems lead- ings, although available in PIMS and DCS, 9 Risk Analysis, 23 (5), pp. 865–881 (2003).
ing to avoidance of potential process safety were not normally monitored as critical 8
early indications by DRA 2. Kleindorfer P., Oktem U.G., Pariyani A., and
and plant reliability issues. Four case stud- parameters. Prior to this, changes in the
8 ies are considered as examples: ammonia tank base temperature (before
7 Seider W.D.: “Assessment of catastrophe
risk and potential losses in industry,” Com-
Nitrogen in
Early identification of level control valve
reaching the alarm levels) would not be 6 puters and Chemical Engineering, 47, 85-96 Southeast Asia
9 easily detected as that depended on the 5 (2012).
failure keen eyes or vigilance of panel operators.
10 Fig. 4 shows a recent plot of a level con-
Early identification of cooling tower
3. Pariyani A., Seider W. D., Oktem U. G., and
Soroush M.: “incidents investigation and
trol valve opening from mid-January to
fan failure
7/17 7/24 7/31 8/7 8/14 8/21 8/28 9/4 9/11 9/18 9/25 10/2 10/9 10/16 10/23
dynamic analysis of large databases in
11 mid-March (60 days). This control valve
Early identification of faulty controller for chemical plants: An FCCU case study,” Ind.
is located in the tail gas recovery section Although rotating machine vibration is
12 operating at 115 barg. ammonia tank base heater temperature one of the critical parameters monitored rate on a daily basis before the repair technology. To demonstrate the impact of
Eng. Chem. Res., 49, 8062-8079 (2010).
Nitrogen project
As evident, it started experiencing Maintaining base heater temperature in the process plant, most of the increas- was done. this change, four real-life use cases are 4. Phimister J. R., Oktem U. G., Kleindorfer P. listing
a decreasing trend in early February above 0°C (32°F) is essential in ensuring ing vibration trends are identified once the By knowing the problem early, action presented where the engineers detected
13 R., and Kunreuther H.: “Near-miss incident
management in the chemical process indus-
although there was no change in the asso- the integrity of the ammonia storage tank. readings reach the high alarm. When the items were drawn much earlier to ensure hidden operational issues early on.
ciated level indicator. This behaviour was try,” Risk Analysis, 23(3), 445–459 (2003).
Low tank base temperature may result in high alarm is triggered, it is only a matter minimal interruption to the operation. After running DRA for two years, the fol-
14 highlighted through the risk indicators cracks, which can cause potential release of time before the process experiences a Later, it was found that the problem was lowing observations have been made by
5. Pariyani A., Oktem U. G., and Grubbe D.L., ■ COVER FEATURE 3
generated by DRA and prompted the main- of ammonia into the environment (major sudden failure either due to actual rotating caused by a damaged liner in the drum. the ABF team:
15 tenance team for investigation. loss of primary containment). In April 2015, machine failure or triggering of high-high In general, there are many such pro- ● Closer co-operation exists between
“Process risk assessment uses big data,”

By pointing out this potential problem one of the ammonia storage tank base fail-safe protection system. As a result, cess conditions, which are difficult to operations and maintenance now, as
control engineering, June Issue (2013).
Early detection of
16 early on, this risk information provided heater temperature indicator started show- this allows very limited time for any inter- detect through the use of routine trending both parties have observed and worked 6. Lauridsen K., Kozine I., Markert F., Amen- process risks
the maintenance team with ample time to ing risk indicators – see the 60 day plot in vention plan to be worked out properly and and visualisation techniques – that is, if on some important process issues in dola A., Christou M., and Fiori M.: “Assess-
17 make the necessary preparation to service Fig. 6. This triggered the Area Based Team implemented. they are tracked to begin with. The use the past year.
ment of uncertainties in risk analysis of
chemical establishments,” Summary report
the valve and hence, avoid any major prob- to review the temperature indicator. The Fig. 7 shows the 120 day plot of cool- of DRA technology can highlight issues at ● People are becoming more proactive as
on ASSURANCE project, Risk National Labo-
18 lem with regards to production and safety. investigation led to finding of faulty tem- ing tower fan vibration. The recurring risk their initiation stages that are often not they believe that the problems are more ratory, Roskilde, Denmark (2002). ■ COVER FEATURE 4
Fig. 5 shows the valve plug with some perature controller and subsequently, its indications by DRA signifying gradual observable to the human eye – providing a focused now and they can identify them
19 erosion (picture taken during servicing). rectification. Their findings also triggered increasing trend in the vibration readings much-needed peripheral vision to the oper- much earlier.
prompted the operations engineers to ating team. ● Shifting into a proactive mindset in
Ammonia catalysts
20 Fig 6: 60 day plot of ammonia tank base temperature investigate these early warnings indicat- dealing with risks could not be achieved
ing potential failure of one of the cooling Conclusion alone via knowledge and know-how of The authors of this article are Aslam
21 early indications by DRA 12
tower fans. This led them to plan a local the subject. It had to be embedded into Khan B Mohater Khan, Shahrul Anuar B
shutdown for the fan for checks and rec- This article outlined a case study of Asean ABF work process to ensure continuity, Saat and A Aziz Asri B Sulaiman of Asean
22 9
tification. At the end, this early identifica- Bintulu Fertilizer (ABF) – its transformation sustenance and continuous improve- Bintulu Fertilizer, Sarawak, Malaysia and
tion of the increasing vibration allowed process and steps in achieving a proactive ment. DRA has played an important part Ankur Pariyani, Ulku Oktem and Deborah
23 5
for better work planning and execution, risk management culture and workflow in ensuring ABF’s journey to achieve Grubbe of Near-Miss Management LLC,
subsequently reducing the fan downtime through the use of dynamic risk analysis this goal. ■ Philadelphia, PA, USA.
in the long run.

3/11 3/19 3/27 4/4 4/12 4/20 4/28 5/5 Early identification of product bucket

elevator failure
26 Fig 7: 120 day plot of cooling tower fan vibration
The bucket elevator is used to transport nitrogen market outlook
finished product for segregation before it is
sent to storage. Any failure or stoppage in Who will suffer and who will prosper? WATCH JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 NOW
early indications by DRA 7.8
this part of operations results in interrup-
tion of production. Fig. 8 shows the 120
28 7.4 day plot of bucket elevator displacement at Nitrogen market
7.0 the drum end. It indicates a slow decreas- Developments in Production costs
29 6.6 ing trend starting in mid July. The next phase
of nitrogen
China: Integer’s
previous forecasts
or the supply-
demand balance,
Medium term
outlook: who analysis
6.2 The early indicators (by DRA) prompted will suffer
pricing: what and how they have which is more
30 5.8 the operations and maintenance teams has changed? been validated and important going
and who will
Watch recording...
5.4 to inspect the root cause(s) behind this proven correct forward?
31 5.0 problem. While waiting for the repair,
adjustment was being done to ensure that
32 1/17 2/2 2/18 3/5 3/21 4/6 4/22 5/8
the equipment can still run until the next
scheduled maintenance window. DRA was
This presentation was recorded from a live Integer
webinar that took place on Wed 23rd Nov 2016.
» Watch the recording here Southbank House, Black Prince Road
London SE1 7SJ, England Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 also used to monitor the deterioration
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

44 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 45 Web: w



24/7 firebox What’s in issue 345

Fig 1: Topsoe Furnace Manager image and data with deviation alarms, stored in an easy-to- ● Remote access to images and data. period of time. Essentially, current creep
5 use historian, and is remotely available to Wireless computer interface with fire- prediction is calendar-based for an entire
acquisition units ●
the organisation outside of the plant. TFM box. set of reformer tubes. Autopsy of reformer
6 monitors the firebox with minimal safety ● 24/7 persistence of the entire system. tubes typically indicates that not all tubes

risks. The virtual elimination of human-fire- ● Self-protection for reliability. experience the same creep progression, ■ COVER FEATURE 1
box interaction allows personnel to perform and tube sections can also progress differ-

higher value work, such as image and data TFM process safety benefits ently. This variation in creep progression
Nitrogen in
analysis, collaboration, and/or minor main- for tubes with identical time-in-service is
tenance and turnaround planning. Process safety management mandates cer- the result of variations in temperature- Southeast Asia
9 tain important areas of focus for industrial in-service (Fig. 3), excluding local stress
Topsoe Furnace Manager (TFM) is a TFM system plant operations. Process safety represents contributors. Temperature-in-service varia-
10 best practice, and is a compliance require- tions result from burner and combustion
proven personnel and process safety TFM is a system-of-systems including ment. TFM provides critical information for variations, combined with process varia- ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 system for ammonia plant primary electronics, optics, data handling, data several process safety areas of focus. tions. TFM provides images and tempera-
analysis, placement design, visual display, ture data to correlate combustion and
reformers, providing firebox images and self-protection, compliance, and human- Mechanical integrity and asset process variations within the firebox. The Nitrogen project
data 24/7. It provides monitoring of machine-interface. Image acquisition is at
protection resulting analysis and correlation provides listing
the heart of the system. The image collec- specific mechanical integrity informa-
13 burner flames and tube temperatures tors send the images to the data collec- Asset protection is a very high prior- tion that can be acted upon by mechani-
14 locally and remotely without human tors, which organise, transmit, store and ity in ammonia plant operations. Inside cal integrity and process subject matter

interaction with the firebox and can

analyse the data. Alarm safeguards are the firebox, catalyst tubes experience experts (SMEs) to reduce variation and ■ COVER FEATURE 3
immediately available to the plant opera- “creep.” Creep is a metallurgical defor- improve overall tube mechanical integrity.
15 provide immediate economic benefits by tors, and remotely to the organisation out- mation with dependence upon stress, TFM imagery and data also drive action
side of the plant supporting operations. time-in-service and temperature-in-service on other aspects of firebox components, Early detection of
16 avoiding outages, improving long term TFM capabilities include: of metals exposed to high operating tem- such as burner failure, refractory failure process risks
reliability, and enhancing operational ● Image collection: Over 500,000 images peratures (Fig. 2). Historically, reformer and structural compromise.
17 per image collector per year. tube creep progression has been meas-
excellence. S. W. Sexton of Haldor
● Data collection: Over 50,000,000 data ured by reformer tube diameter growth Asset protection economics
Topsoe describes the key features of TFM. points per collector per year. over time, with measurements recorded ■ COVER FEATURE 4
● Alarms: Metal temperatures and burner during major firebox outages, such as dur- TFM pays for itself in an outage of less
19 flame quality, such as impingement, jet- ing a catalyst change. These spot creep than a week if the outage is avoided uti-
Ammonia catalysts
lobal food demand is expected equipment hazards, in an operating envi- action is important, and tools have been ting, and poor mixing. measurements are good indicators of lising TFM’s temperature alarm function,
20 to increase by 15% by 2030. ronment where additional demands are developed to facilitate the best use of this ● Benchmarked images of good examples remaining life, excluding consideration of and burner quality information; based on
Ammonia and fertilizer demand placed on personnel to administratively interaction, including specialised personal and bad examples of burners and tubes. significant events (power outages, start- a TFM cost of $1,000,000, and $200/t
21 will increase accordingly in response to prove compliance with operating permits protective equipment (PPE) and handheld ● Historian: Time and date stamped ups, shutdowns, process upsets) which ammonia profit margin for a 1,000 t/d
increased food demand. Higher expecta- and a myriad of regulations. data collectors. Even under the best of images with data. add a higher level of stress in a short plant. For example, outage avoidance with
22 tions will be placed on existing and new A good safeguard provides information circumstances, the firebox interaction is TFM is the result of literally seeing flame
plants in terms of efficiency, reliability, and to drive action, or directly takes action, to typically a relative short duration, with only Fig 2: Example tube life and temperature correlations. A 10K temperature impingement causing hot catalyst tubes,
23 compliance. However, plant safety remains mitigate the most severe hazards, and is about 1,000 hours or less of data collec- increase can decrease tube life by 30% and making corrective actions before irre-
the highest priority to be able to achieve all reliable. A good safeguard is easy to use tion annually. The amount of data collected versible damage and an incident occurs.
other expectations. and understand. Pressure relief valves are in terms of temperatures and imagery is Additionally, if an outage can be avoided
24 HK40 (25Cr-20Ni) IN519 (24Cr-24Ni)
Personnel safety is very dependent good safeguards with audible feedback restricted by the duration of the personnel due to new operators’ misunderstanding of

25 upon personal behaviour. Increased focus used extensively in industry to mitigate interacting with the firebox. To increase the firebox process conditions, such as upsets NITROGEN+SYNGAS

on personal awareness and behaviour- overpressure hazards, for example. duration of the interaction to improve data 10 caused by draft swings, fuel swings, rate
based safety programmes has occurred In ammonia plants, the primary collection an increase in exposure to haz- 8 changes, or even weather disturbances,
26 throughout industry over the past 25 years. reformer operation encompasses several ards occurs. Therefore, ammonia produc- TFM pays for itself quickly. TFM enables
In addition, process safety is dependent hazards. Fire, loss of primary containment ers are faced with a decision to sacrifice new operators to see cause-and-effect as JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 upon equipment, process design, hazard of process fluids, uncontrolled combustion, firebox data acquisition to reduce hazard 4 it happens in the firebox.
identification, and subsequent safeguards mechanical equipment failures, and pro- exposure. Extrapolation and leveraging of a TFM’s asset protection capabilities are

28 installed or implemented to mitigate the cess upsets are a few important hazards, limited amount of firebox data is the result especially useful on start-ups and shut-
hazards’ impact. These safeguards largely or causes of hazards. Traditional hazard of the decision. This extrapolation of lim- 2 downs of the primary reformer, and TFM
29 fall into two categories – administrative or mitigation for primary reformer operation ited data is typically historical based, as is working during normal operation (98+%
engineered. Administrative safeguards typ- has required plant personnel to directly is the operation and maintenance of the of the time) when flame scanners are not
30 ically require human interaction with the interface with the firebox to verify equip- firebox. Notable firebox failures occur from 1 active by design once auto ignition temper-
process, and engineered safeguards do ment and process status. This interaction gaps in historical knowledge. P = 4MPα P = 2.5MPα P = 1MPα ature is reached. Although unusual, loss
31 not require human interaction. Engineered has inherent risks, especially during poten- Topsoe Furnace Manager (TFM) provides of flame does occur at normal operating
safeguards are typically considered more tially hazardous events. When personnel an alternative. TFM is an array of perma- 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 1,400 temperatures, and is routinely observed Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 reliable, but costly. interact with a firebox to determine the nently installed image collectors acquiring
temperature, K
on furnaces where TFM has been installed. London SE1 7SJ, England
The goal is to install safeguards that status inside, they become human data images every second, 24/7 (see Fig. 1). Without alarms on these flame-outs, they Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 will economically mitigate process and collectors. It is recognised that this inter- TFM collects millions of data points annually go undetected.
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

46 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 47 Web: w


5 Administrative safeguard and Fig 3: Firebox colour coded temperatures measurements are typically reliant upon Additional mechanical integrity problem and continuously compare its pro- What’s in issue 345
a map generated by engineering or opera- gression remotely provided transparency
alarm history tions management specifying locations on
information and confidence to all personnel.
6 TFM’s alarm and historian capabilities also the tubes and locations of the person per- Reformer firebox mechanical integrity

support the overall intent of process safety forming the measurement, with specifica- information has historically consisted of Firebox data collection ■ COVER FEATURE 1
management by providing immediate feed- tion of the measurement device (camera), design specifications, mechanical draw-
back for operational mitigation, and histori- and direction to capture results manually ings, P&IDs, operational limits, and gen- TFM reduces frustration resulting from
8 cal capture of important equipment status. on a log sheet. This series of information eral operational guidelines provided by the repeated firebox, visual data collection Nitrogen in
This duality of immediate information and handoffs is vulnerable to inaccuracy, even technology supplier. TFM provides actual requests by non-plant colleagues. Collabo- Southeast Asia
9 historical data capture enables safe day- with the best efforts of trained personnel. operating data in the form of images ration is a great operational lever, and is
to-day operations, and continuous improve- TFM information is captured and stored with with catalyst tube metal temperatures highly valued in today’s business environ-
10 ment through engineering over time. locations, device, images and data specifi- and burner intensity and flame patterns. ment. When data is remotely available,
cations held constant. TFM captures firebox Combustion-side operational information engineers can engineer, planners can plan, ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 Furnace burner balancing burner imagery and data, which has histori- can be correlated with process informa- and managers can manage. When data is
cally been absent. Better audits result from tion to bridge the knowledge gap. Process not remotely available, and with today’s
12 TFM will provide the data and the tools to better information and data. and combustion upsets can be correlated communication channels, such as cell Nitrogen project
effectively balance firing to minimise the with TFM information. SOPs can be tai- phones, firebox information requests can listing
13 temperature variation across each row of Employee participation lored to specific furnaces based on their overload those residing in closest proxim-
tubes, as well as, throughout the furnace. operational fingerprint. Training, including ity to the firebox. Often the task of firebox
Based on previous reformer balancing Employee participation in safety regarding simulators, can be tailored to specific fur- data collection falls on the furnace opera-
14 studies, fuel gas consumption improve- fireboxes has typically involved PPE speci- naces based on their actual behaviour. A tors, or junior plant furnace image engi- ■ COVER FEATURE 3
ments of 1-2% are possible at the same fication, SOPs for firebox interaction, per- deeper understanding of the interaction neers. This can be a good training activity,
15 production rate with savings estimated mitting, lock-out-tag-out protocol, and other between combustion and process side but it also can lead to very high levels of
up to $100,000 per year. Burner balanc- best practices heavily weighted in person- heat exchange is possible with analysis of frustration from those collecting the data. Early detection of
16 ing may provide a production increase TFM information is readily available to the and flame shape; and actual catalyst tube nel safety. Process safety considerations TFM images and data. This frustration can lead to unpredictable process risks
excluding other bottlenecks. Balancing entire incident investigation team, even temperatures over a large surface area are typically have involved enforcement of behaviours in a plant environment, which
17 tube skin temperatures will result in remotely, in a matter of minutes so that the now available to utilise as administrative SOPs and safety system calibrations. Pro- Personnel safety is inherently dangerous, complex and frus-
longer tube and catalyst lives while sig- root-cause-analysis can begin quickly, and safeguards without reliance on personnel cess limits and trip points may not be well trating by nature. There is high value by
18 nificantly reducing the risk of tube failures the next incident can be avoided. directly interacting with the firebox. understood. Actual process safety limits Evaluations, recommendations, and pro- not adding any degree of frustration to a ■ COVER FEATURE 4
and costly downtime. Expected efficiency regarding overheating of reformer tubes grammes on industrial plant behaviour plant operating environment. TFM pro-
19 improvements pay for TFM during a Training Standard operating procedures and poor burner performance resulting improvement have become a big business vides images and data remotely regarding
reformer catalyst life cycle. in flame impingement and localised tube for behaviour professionals. Recognition of firebox status. Requests for firebox infor-
Ammonia catalysts
20 Training of new and existing personnel on
(SOPs) overheating, afterburning, or flameouts are the importance of the human side of over- mation can then be directed toward TFM
Reliability economics firebox operations has traditionally involved SOPs traditionally have relied upon histori- not fully considered due to lack of infor- all industrial performance is long standing. functionality rather than human firebox
21 a steady-state model with a minimal cal operational information collected and mation. TFM provides that missing pro- TFM mitigates many of the human issues data collection.
TFM’s burner balancing also improves reli- amount of information available regarding documented based on past best prac- cess information necessary for enhanced associated with furnace operation. TFM
22 ability that results in savings over time due firebox behaviour during transitions. With tices. For firebox operations, SOPs typi- employee participation and understanding improves individual performance through Furnace stair climbing
to longer catalyst tube life. TFM is paid for reformers, there are several dynamic sce- cally require a person to physically inspect of firebox process safety. behavioural safety improvements.
23 in a tube harvesting protocol based on narios that impact burner operation and the firebox condition on a recommended Although arguably good for health, physical
creep measurements when about 10% of catalyst tube temperatures, especially dur- frequency. This inspection frequency can Pre-start-up safety reviews Firebox interaction exertion and stair climbing, especially on
the reformer tubes avoid replacement at ing transitions such as start-up and shut- be unrealistic, especially during start-up modern supersized furnaces, is difficult.
24 (PSSRs)
the first outage. 100% of the tubes in a down. TFM captures images with data to and shutdown when other operational TFM reduces, or potentially eliminates, The design of many modern-day furnaces

25 world scale reformer with TFM installed provide actual transient information that priorities take precedence. TFM provides Firebox PSSRs typically focus on a review direct personnel interaction with the fire- exasperates the exertion requirement. The NITROGEN+SYNGAS

documented creep of less than 1% at mid- can be implemented in training, including continuous firebox inspection, and image of process setpoints, process and instru- box. Even when direct human interaction is furnaces are larger, taller, and more com-
life (about 45,000 hours) at normal operat- dynamic training simulators. Additionally, targets with data targets can be captured mentation diagrams (P&ID’s), safety required, it can be well planned, permitted plex than in the past. The exertion required
26 ing temperatures. training benchmarks are captured, and can and documented to provide new best prac- system functionality, hazard review, and with job safety analysis (JSA) evaluation, to climb up and down a large furnace is
be inserted into training documentation to tice examples. These examples can be process transitions over an expected time- directed with specific information require- better spent ensuring that TFM remains on- JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
Incident investigation establish best practices. embedded within the SOPs, whether or not line. Human interaction with the firebox ments identified, and minimised in terms station collecting important firebox images
electronic, and provide direct comparison to collect data and interpret firebox con- of radiation exposure. In actual field use and data rather than looking through many
28 Sudden incidents (such as power failures) Process hazard analysis with real-time images and data captured dition during a period of constant change of TFM, furnace operations have contin- peep doors and manually recording data.
impact on firebox component integrity have by TFM during operation. over at least 12 hours during a reformer ued with small process problems sup-
29 been difficult to correlate. Overheating Mitigation of firebox overheating scenarios start-up is difficult to evaluate in a PSSR, ported with strict enforcement of limited Furnace problems
events during start-up and shutdown have and consequences typically rely on safe- Compliance audits especially for key personnel. TFM reduces personnel interaction with the firebox. This
been difficult to capture without increased guards such as fuel pressure, firebox draft, or eliminates the level of physical interac- enforcement included access restriction TFM reduces confusion and anxiety during
exposure of personnel to firebox conditions. and spot process temperatures. These pro- Self-auditing of firebox compliance has tradi- tion required during start-up, and distrib- to the firebox upper deck during the time periods of time with furnace issues. Prob-
31 Subjectivity permeates most firebox incident cess measurements represent historical tionally relied upon written tube temperature utes the human interpretation element to period the process issue persisted. By lems can be shared within the organisa-
investigations resulting in potentially inaccu- safeguards based on the capability of prior and firebox inspection reports generated a group utilising TFM remote access capa- restricting personnel access to the firebox, tion to make plans and provide guidance Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 rate conclusions. TFM images and stored furnace process measurement technology. by operations personnel. The fundamental bilities. The natural intent of the PSSR to and enabling a safe operation until proper quickly. Furnace issues are nearly inevi- London SE1 7SJ, England
data show exactly when an event began, TFM provides additional firebox process basis of the measurements is difficult to involve a group review with collaboration is materials were received, business risk was table due to the nature of the operation. Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 and the consequences of that initial event. measurements. Actual flame intensity correlate. For example, tube temperature enhanced and supported by TFM. also reduced. The capability to view the The ability to handle any problem is made
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

48 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 49 Web: w


easier with information. Without informa- Fig 4: Reformer tube image with data Fig 5: Time and date stamped image the firebox from TFM are helpful to create What’s in issue 345
tion, confusion, anxiety, and frustration understanding of where and how work will
build up to an unacceptable level. The be performed in the firebox.
6 remote viewing capability of TFM, sup-

ported by the capture of images and data Process control schemes ■ COVER FEATURE 1
stored in the historian, enable communica-
tions, planning and organisational coordi- TFM provides data to establish actual
8 nation during periods of furnace problems. equipment-operating-envelopes for tubes Nitrogen in
and burners. TFM data can be integrated Southeast Asia
9 Furnace guidelines and into DCS. Tube temperatures and burner
quality can be mapped and characterised
10 for use in advanced firebox analysis.
TFM reduces confusion regarding linkage
Operational excellence ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 between hazard reviews, firebox SOPs,
firebox critical safety systems, and actual Support groups collaborate using the same
12 operation. It is difficult and time consuming TFM images and data as reference for dis- Nitrogen project
to ‘connect-the-dots’ between all sources cussions. Historical information is available listing
of required process safety information. It “on demand” without relying on the opera-
is especially difficult to link process infor- tions group for retrieval. Compliance data is
mation if fundamental process parameters available at all times. Subject matter experts
14 are not available. Reformer furnace tube have remote access to furnace operations ■ COVER FEATURE 3
surface area is one of the largest heat with time-and-date stamped images (Fig. 5).
15 transfer surfaces in the ammonia plant. It during a weather event. Critical manage- most complex job permitting activities in an
is also one of the least monitored for data TFM installed that resulted in no injuries charted and graphed continuously, so ment decisions to continue operation dur- industrial plant. Furnace LOTO is a difficult Furnace lifecycle Early detection of
16 due to the harsh operating environment. because personnel were remotely located that the impact of rate changes and fuel/ ing weather events depend on operations process due to the process energy isolation Furnace equipment performance and process risks
TFM’s non-contact temperature data and away from the furnace. Some older, exist- air changes is captured. When the flame personnel climbing stairs and looking into and combustion energy isolation required. repair history are captured with time and
17 image acquisition provides the informa- ing plants were built with a lower emphasis is not behaving correctly, TFM will alarm the reformer firebox. TFM can eliminate Air quality inside a firebox can also become date stamped images. Temperature data
tion needed to link process information so on risk and exposure to personnel. Modern to notify the organisation that there is a the need, or greatly reduce the frequency, contaminated if the firebox is part of a larger is correlated with equipment performance,
18 that it makes sense and isn’t confusing. risk evaluations, including QRAs, actually burner issue. Sunburnt eyes from look- of physical human reformer inspections industrial complex. Continuous air monitor- metallurgical analysis and repairs. Visual ■ COVER FEATURE 4
(Fig. 4) This is especially important in fun- quantify personnel exposure and risk. ing inside a firebox at flames too long during weather events. This capability pro- ing could be required during firebox work on images are available for operations and
19 damentally understanding critical safety The quantified risk matrix considers work are not necessary with TFM. Eliminating a vides time for higher value plant activities a TAR. And, confined space/vessel entry pro- reliability team training. Historical tube
system intent. patterns, which are a function of equipment source of physical pain is a very tangible while reducing personal safety risks. cedures are typically required during firebox and burner performance is captured with
Ammonia catalysts
20 inspection frequencies, or “rounds.” Fur- improvement for personnel. TFM encour- work. Elevated work from scaffolding, and images and data (Fig. 6). ■
KPI attainment nace rounds have typically been historically ages burner tuning. Proper burner opera- Permitting overhead hazards from crane equipment are
21 set by previous habits and patterns estab- tion contributes directly to proper furnace also typically present during firebox work. References
TFM provides process documentation lished many years ago. With TFM, the fur- operation. With TFM’s ability to adjust view LOTO (lockout-tagout), confined space, and Considering that firebox work during TARs is 1. FAO United Nations, “World Agriculture
22 resulting in attainment of production key nace rounds are not required on the same angles and regions-of-view, burner adjust- vessel entry are permitted activities during also an infrequent activity, the more informa- Towards 2030/2050” (June 2012)
performance indicators (KPIs) while main- frequency as historically understood to be ments and burner performance improve furnace turnarounds (TARs) and outages. tion and time to plan this activity inherently 2. J.R. Rostrup-Nielsen, “Catalytic Steam
23 taining firebox components within their required. Just as the industry trend has with increased levels of understanding. These activities represent some of the makes it safer to execute. Visual images of Reforming”, (1984).
safe operating window. Ideally, all organi- been to move personnel away from opera- Additionally, TFM captures the images to
sational KPIs are perfectly aligned and in tions unless necessary, personnel within the benchmark exactly how burners should Fig 6: Tube temperature charts and graphs
support of an overall strategy that moves plant itself are at less risk when exposed appear during various process scenarios.

25 the business forward. In reality, there are less frequently to the furnace firebox. NITROGEN+SYNGAS
typically some natural KPI conflicts, such

as cost control and cost of repairs. These Burner evaluations
conflicts require human collaboration. Operations personnel monitoring and man-
Especially in the case of furnaces repre- TFM eliminates frustration associated aging large reformers face interesting and JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 senting high cost operation, conflicting with human burner evaluations. Modern challenging scenarios involving weather
KPIs can lead directly to conflict. The con- day, low NOx, industrial furnace burners events. Rain, snow, heat, cold, and wind
28 flict is best addressed with data and not are difficult to see with the human eye. all impact the ability to physically monitor a
emotion. TFM provides the data so that a When fired on a mixed fuel consisting of reformer. Weather compounds any difficul-
29 collaborative decision-making process can a significant amount of hydrogen, the low ties associated with specialised PPE that
take place. NOx burners develop a flame that cannot is typically required for furnace interaction.
30 truly be evaluated with the human eye. Face shields and fire retardant clothing
Personnel risk exposure TFM’s capability to monitor flames which can be cumbersome during normal activi-
31 the human eye cannot see, and to provide ties such as stair climbing. Weather events
TFM supports remote location of personnel alarms when the flame is underperforming, make the situation even more difficult, Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 with reduced risk exposure frequency. For eliminates the need for personnel to visu- which can lead to personal safety events, London SE1 7SJ, England
example, a major, instantaneous reformer ally decipher flame quality. TFM provides such as tripping or falling. Importantly, Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 piping incident occurred on a reformer with a flame intensity measurement which is serious furnace monitoring needs to occur
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

50 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 51 Web: w


Make more from less Fig 2: ICI compressor house installed in 1927 (left) and modern gas turbine compressor (right) What’s in issue 345

Catalyst changes in the ammonia process offer an ideal opportunity to reduce pressure
8 drop and/or energy requirements with the minimum of additional expense. M. Cousins and Nitrogen in
J. Brightling of Johnson Matthey review the fundamentals that need to be considered and Southeast Asia
look at case studies showing how the latest technologies and plant operation philosophies
10 can be utilised to make more from less.


Nitrogen project
ver the last 100 years, the nitrogen Fig 1: Population growth vs increasing ammonia capacity with time
fertilizer industry based on ammo- listing
nia production has grown massively.
13 population
Drivers behind this growth have been, and
remain, increasing global population cou-
14 Era 1 Era 2 Era 3
pled with increased plant size to achieve 9 ■ COVER FEATURE 3
better economies of scale. This has created
15 demand for increased capacity and better

reliability (Fig. 1).

7 Early detection of
population, billion

16 Table 1: TKIS/Johnson Matthey ammonia plants in Era 3 with capacities >3,000 t/d
Since the first industrial plant operated 6
process risks
by BASF in 1913, the industry has pro- 5
17 gressed through different eras of growth 4
Plant Location Capacity Start-up
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company, SAFCO 4 Al Jubail, KSA 3,300 t/d 2006
and development. 3 >2,000 t/d
18 ● Era 1: <500 t/d operated from the
Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma'aden Raz Az Zwor, KSA 3,300 t/d 2011 ■ COVER FEATURE 4
1920s, with some still operational today CF Industries, Donaldsonville, Ammonia 6 Donaldsonville, LA, USA 3,300 t/d 2016
>1,000 t/d
19 ● Era 2: the advent of 1,000 t/d single

stream plants of the 1960s, and 0

<500 t/d Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma'aden 2 Raz Az Zwor, KSA 3,300 t/d 2016 Ammonia catalysts
20 ● Era 3: >2000 t/d with leading-edge 1940 increasing value of catalyst reliability and life o 2040
3,300 t/d pioneered by thyssenkrupp
Table 2: Considerations of different parties when ammonia plants are designed or modified
21 Industrial Solutions (tkIS, formerly Uhde).
still energy efficient and able to produce well An optimised catalyst design, through
Parameters within Ammonia plant designer Operator – focused Operator – focused
22 Era 1 saw plants limited by the ability to above the original name plate design. the initial or a routine catalyst change, can
design scope on efficiency on ammonia make
boost the pressure inlet of the ammonia Era 3 has seen the average size of help to achieve these goals by:
Ammonia make To a design Secondary focus High as possible
23 loop, which meant the process capacity up new plant builds exceed 2,000 t/d by ● Lowering pressure drop: One option is
to the early 1960s was limited to around having low energy consumption typically to increase the pressure at the inlet of Operating costs Low as possible within budget Low as possible Secondary focus
600 t/d. The limitation was the reciprocat- ~6.7GCal/tonne. The largest plants, pio- the syngas compressor by decreasing limitations
ing compressors that were used to provide neered by tkIS in partnership with Johnson the pressure drop in the front section of Capital costs Low as possible Optimise return on investment Optimise return on investment
25 high pressure syngas to the loop, and cir- Matthey are >3,000 t/d capacity. This new the process. The potential benefits of this NITROGEN+SYNGAS

culate it. The image to the left of Fig. 2 technology scale has been well proven and will vary from plant to plant. It can pro-
shows the machinery in the ICI compressor established utilising Johnson Matthey’s vide an increase in energy efficiency (in take account of all the plant flowsheet Some, for example robustness and activity, Fig 3: Three scales of optimisation
26 and circulator house taken in 1927. optimised catalyst solutions, demon- the compression of the syngas), or help requirements, not just a single param- are applicable to all duties. that must be considered in
Era 2 saw this limit overcome by the use strated by the examples given in Table 1. overcome other limits in the plant, such eter – such as lowering pressure drop. To The rate of deactivation of a catalyst the design of a new catalyst JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 of centrifugal compressors, which the major- A requirement for any plant design as air compressor or CO2 removal limits. achieve this, the catalyst design process needs to be minimised and predictable
ity of the ammonia plants utilise today. The will always be to meet the scope of the ● Increased activity at lower tempera- must integrate knowledge and technology over its lifetime to meet the requirement Micro scale:
28 image to the right of Fig. 2 shows a picture of design and minimise the cost of the plant. tures and/or better heat transfer: An over three scales, as illustrated in Fig. 3. of the overall flowsheet, and so that cata- optimal atomic surface
a modern centrifugal compressor. The intro- But, once a plant is operational, an opera- operator can consider using catalyst For each duty, the different operating lyst replacements can be made in a pre- to drive the ammonia
29 duction of this type of machine, by M. W. tor will seek improvements, to increase materials with higher activity or better conditions and requirements demand a planned and organised manner. Table 3 process
Kellogg, saw the creation of the 1,000 t/d ammonia make or greater efficiencies for heat transfer to lower the energy demand different balance of catalyst design param- provides an outline assessment of key cat- Pellet scale:
30 ammonia plant. This design was then widely the maximum return on their investment. they require to operate effectively. eters, leading to the visible differences alyst design parameters and their relative optimal shape/form
of the catalyst’s
adopted globally and there are still many These different considerations are illus- between the pellets, extrudates and gran- importance to each duty in the flowsheet.
31 operating examples of this type of flowsheet, trated in Table 2. Optimised catalyst design ules used. While not as visible, the active
making ammonia in every region of the globe This means plant operators and plant surface of each material also differs hugely Poisons resistance Flowsheet scale:
Southbank House, Black Prince Road
integration across the
32 today. Many having been improved, introduc- designers must embrace technology devel- Each duty presents an opportunity where to best suit the needs of each duty. There The need for poisons resistance is miti- flowsheet to maximise London SE1 7SJ, England
ing enhancements to capacity and energy opments, to optimise the capital and oper- catalyst design can be used to improve are many parameters that can be consid- gated by the vital role that the upstream the overall benefit Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 to the point where many of these plants are ating costs of the process. operation. However, catalyst design must ered as part of a catalyst design process. purification system plays in protecting the
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

52 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 53 Web: w


Syngas | Ammonia | Urea | Nitrates | Methanol | GTL | Hydrogen ■ CONTENTS

Nitrogen +
downstream plant catalysts. The cata- Table 3: Key catalyst design parameters and relative importance to flowsheet duty What’s in issue 345
lysts and absorbents used need to have
a resistance to the poisons they are tar-
6 geted to remove, in terms of their integrity

Syngas 2017
and stability at the end of life when they
Purification ✓✓✓ ✓ ✓✓✓ ✓ ■ COVER FEATURE 1
are fully laden with the target impurity. It
is also important that they are as inert as Primary reforming ✓✓ ✓✓✓ ✓✓✓ ✓✓✓
8 possible to other contaminants to which Secondary reforming ✓ ✓ ✓✓✓ ✓✓✓
Nitrogen in
they are exposed. Southeast Asia
9 It is a significant advantage for the
HTS ✓ ✓ ✓✓✓ ✓ ✓✓✓

primary reformer catalyst to have the abil-
ity to recover from upsets where poisons
LTS ✓✓✓ ✓ ✓✓✓ ✓✓✓ 27 Feb - 2 March 2017
may be present. This is achieved by using Methanation ✓ ✓ ✓✓✓ ✓ Hilton London Metropole, London, UK ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 a material composition able to tolerate
an aggressive steaming process, to drive
Nitrogen project

12 poisons (typically sulphur) off the catalyst means the bulk of the catalyst bed is pro- source, the burners, to the tube surface
surface and allow it to recover activity. tected. The benefit of this system can be through the tube wall and into the catalyst Promoting and developing best practice and innovation in the global nitrogen industry listing
The calcium aluminate support and excep- taken in one of two ways. The entire ves- bed where the reaction is taking place on
tional in-service strength of the KATALCOJM sel can be charged with active LTS catalyst the catalyst surface.
QUADRALOBE™ range mean that it can that will extend the campaign length. Alter- It is vitally important to optimise the
14 readily undergo this treatment if required. natively, the volume of charged catalyst catalysts to aid heat transfer via the pack- 5 great reasons to attend: Key conference themes for 2017: ■ COVER FEATURE 3
Chlorides and sulphur can also enter can be minimised if there is not a driver ing pattern that it forms when it is loaded
15 the process through the air intake to the to extend the campaign length, so reduc- into the reformer tube. The number of The technical programme will cover the full nitrogen value chain
3 Develop practical solutions to operational Early detection of
secondary reformer. The temperature of ing the pressure drop when compared with contact points between catalyst pellets
problems through detailed case studies including syngas, ammonia, urea, nitrates and finished fertilizers.
16 the secondary reformer means these impu- LTS catalysts that require a guard layer. and the tube is key, both to act as direct Given the current market environment for nitrogen producers, the process risks
rities have little impact here, as they can point of heat transfer and also to disturb 3 Learn about the latest technological and agenda will have a particular focus on improving operational
17 pass over the secondary reforming catalyst Heat transfer the gas film down the inside surface of the process innovations efficiency and enhancing performance and output.
in the gas phase. The material composi- This is most important in the primary tube, to invoke mixing and so move heat 3 Share operational best practice and Subject areas will include:
18 tion of the HTS catalyst and its operating reformer as the reaction is strongly endo- into the tube. Johnson Matthey has devel- experiences with peers ■ COVER FEATURE 4
• Improving reformer performance, operations, reliability and safety
temperature ensure there is also limited thermic, so it requires an external heat oped the latest computational modelling 3 Understand the global and regional market • Ammonia revamps, modernizations and capacity increases
19 impact on that catalyst. However the cata- source to drive the desired forward reac- tools in house to ensure a leading edge
lyst composition of LTS catalyst and its tion. To achieve this, the catalyst is loaded capability to apply and develop these tech-
drivers for 2017 and beyond • Ammonia projects and commissioning case studies Ammonia catalysts
20 temperature of operation mean that poi- into tubes that are externally fired to provide nologies. Fig. 4 illustrates heat passing 3 Network with 700+ technical and • Improving ammonia plant performance, operations and efficiency
commercial peers from 50+ countries • Best practice urea operations
soning is the primary deactivation mecha- the heat (energy) that the reaction requires. from flue gas to process gas through the
• Urea process enhancements
21 nism for this catalyst. KATALCOJM 83-Series The reformer tubes and catalyst must tube wall and two sets of boundary layers.
• New developments in fertilizer finishing and granulation
provides a self-guarding mechanism that be able to transfer heat from the external It also shows a result from computational
• Optimisations and efficiency enhancements in the production
22 of nitrates
Fig 4: Heat transfer process from flue gas to process gas Fig 5: Arrhenius plot of rate increase vs temperature Perfect conference with
23 Commercial themes to be explored will include:
excellent networking
The CRU View: Nitrogen costs in a supply-driven market, and an
catalyst pellet
opportunities. overview of the Chinese nitrogen market.
24 no further

Additional commercial topics will give delegates insight into global


Harrie Duisters, Technology Director,

market trends and will include: Outlooks for natural gas; Changing NITROGEN+SYNGAS
OCI Fertilizers


farmer needs for fertilizer: opportunities for N producers; and a Freight

market outlook.
26 film diffusion pore diffusion kinetic limit
27 (intrinsic activity)
faster reaction o


supported catalysts
precipitated catalysts
31 Official publications: Supporting publications: Supporting partners:
Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 m increasing temperature London SE1 7SJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

54 Web: w Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017
For more information and to book your place, visit


modelling of the packing efficiency for the dispersion must be maintained to retain catalyst designer to form more complex Johnson Matthey catalyst solutions Fig 6: Pressure drop profiles over catalyst beds for two ammonia flowsheets What’s in issue 345
KATALCOJM QUADRALOBE material inside the same activity gain for each increase in shapes, whilst maintaining the strength
a tube, this high packing efficiency in the metal loading that is considered. and robustness of the material. Johnson Matthey is able to provide cata-
6 tube has a direct impact on the optimisa- To understand the value of shape opti- lyst solutions across the whole flowsheet 40 flowsheet 1 flowsheet 2

tion of the heat transfer. Pore diffusion limit – this is where the misation it is important to understand the to lower the pressure drop and/or lower 39
0.15 barg ■ COVER FEATURE 1
This ability to model packing patterns access and egress to and from the active value of lowering the pressure drop. the energy requirement. 38 1.20 barg
2.54 barg
coupled with the use of computational sites in the core of the catalyst limits the
8 fluid dynamics (CFD), and Johnson Mat- rate of reaction. Increasing the GSA and Pressure drop Purification 37 20%
Nitrogen in
they’s proprietary reformer modelling tool, minimising the path length to the centre of Increased catalyst pressure drop lowers Johnson Matthey has three offerings in Southeast Asia
9 REFORM, enables Johnson Matthey to the catalyst, (equivalent sphere diameter), the suction pressure of the synthesis addition to the typical HDS over ZnO used 35
offer optimised solutions. These tools are will both help. Therefore, using smaller gas compressor. This can impact on both in many plants. The first two solutions 34

pressure, barg
10 also used to develop the next generation and/or more complex catalyst shapes with plant rate and plant efficiency. Based on offer a route to lower the pressure drop 33
0.10 barg 0.90 0.24 barg
1.91 barg
of catalysts for this highly stressed duty to a more open pore structure will help to the knowledge of their own limitations, while the third provides a means to lower 32 0.34 barg 32% ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 overcome the challenges of heat transfer, meet these requirements. it is very common for plant operators to the energy demand of the system: 31
as well as the other key parameters. develop their own rules of thumb as to the ● KATALCOJM 33-1 is a 3-in-1 absorbent

12 Film diffusion – this is when diffusion benefit (or cost) of lower (or higher) pres- combining; HDS, sulphur capture and
30 0.20 barg
0.31 barg Nitrogen project
Activity, diffusion and pressure drop
through a gas film on the surface of the sure drop. ultra-purification for feedstock purification. 29
0.27 barg 0.24 barg
pellet, limits the observed activity. The limi- For example, common rule of thumbs ● KATALCOJM 32-6 is a high density, pro-
These parameters are highly interlinked. tation can be combated by using smaller seen have been: moted ZnO to increase sulphur removal 27 0.20 barg
This can be exemplified by the general material, or material that has a shape that ● “Reducing 1 psi of pressure drop down- capacity. Its promotion system makes
14 26
statements made below: provides an increased GSA to increase the stream of the secondary reformer saves it possible to deploy this solution at all 25 0.30 barg ■ COVER FEATURE 3
● “To reduce the pressure drop over a surface area of the gas film. about US$ 10,000 per year in terms of sections of the purification where it can
15 catalyst bed a larger size of catalyst improved efficiency (US$2 gas, 1,500 convert species such as COS and DMS

can be used”. At lower temperatures, where there are t/d plant)”. to H2S.
purification primary secondary HTS LTS CO2
methan- syngas
ation machine
Early detection of
16 ● “Using larger size of catalyst reduces kinetic limitations, it is beneficial to add ● “Decreasing the pressure drop by 1.75 ● KATALCOJM 61-2 and PURASPECJM

process risks
the observed activity, because the geo- more metal to increase the active sur- psi enables the plant to achieve 0.5% 2020 is an HDS/ZnO system that is
17 metric surface area (GSA) is reduced face area. The delivery of this is possible increased output”. active even at lower temperatures, ena-
and equivalent sphere diameter through precipitation, where the precipitate bling energy savings. Fig 7: CATACELJM SSR stack Primary reforming
18 increased making it harder for the reac- itself provides much of the structure and Knowing the value of pressure drop for a Over the years, Johnson Matthey has led ■ COVER FEATURE 4
tants to access the centre of catalyst”. so allows for a greater metal loading to be particular plant means the value of differ- Johnson Matthey’s 3-in-1 solution, the way in lowering pressure drop. The high
19 ● “Diffusion limitations can be overcome achieved. ent pressure drop scenarios can be cal- KATALCOJM 33-1, is based on a dual-pro- activity QUADRALOBEJM range of catalysts
by generating a more open pore net- At moderate temperatures, it is benefi- culated to help determine the optimum moted ZnO system. As the whole bed con- that Johnson Matthey offers provide the
Ammonia catalysts
20 work, however the risk in doing this is cial to create a more open internal pore loaded catalyst volumes and best catalyst tains a catalytic HDS function so the risks widest range of sizes. The latest addition
that it weakens the material making it structure to combat pore diffusion limits. sizes to use. of recombination chemistry, the recom- to the range is the XQ size which further
21 less robust”. Precipitation can still often be used to bination of H2S to form organic sulphurs lowers the pressure drop and provides an
develop the pore structure which is created Pressure drop profile (most commonly COS), is reduced. Further optimised activity.
22 Activity and diffusion through precipitation, thermal processing Pressure drop profiles over the front end advantage is gained where the sulphur Johnson Matthey’s CATACELJM SSR™
The reason for using a catalyst is to and reduction. These processing steps of two different ammonia plants (with dif- levels are regularly at a very low level, in (Fig. 7) provides the next development
23 increase the rate at which reactants are can enhance the pore network around the ferent flowsheets) are shown in Fig. 6. such cases an HDS material requires the by way of a catalyst supported on an
transformed to products. The rate limita- metal particles so improving the catalyst Although each profile is different, it is purposeful addition of sulphur to the sys- engineered foil instead of on traditional
tion can occur in one of three ways as formulation. possible to make some generalisations. tem so the catalyst remains in an active ceramic-based pellets. The foil support
depicted in Fig. 5, which shows a trend Once an active and stable catalyst sur- 70-80% of the pressure drop over the front sulphided state. The 3-in-1 solution retains is shaped into fans upon which catalytic

25 of increasing rate with temperature. The face is available, the question is how to pre- section of the flowsheet is a result of pipe a sulphur distribution over the catalytic material is applied. The fans are then NITROGEN+SYNGAS

intrinsic rate is a function of temperature, sent that surface to the process. Minimising runs and equipment. 20-30% of the pres- active components, making it active even decreased by about 20-30% using this stacked, separated by thin metal washers
as described by the Arrhenius expression. pore diffusion by providing an open pore sure drop is a result of installed catalyst in conditions where the sulphur levels are material for the same sulphur capacity. and reinforced by the central support. The
26 network is advantageous, as long as the volumes. Of this, the majority, 40-50%, is low and variable. The pressure drop saving The additional benefit of this material is its whole assembly is then placed inside the
material strength is retained. Using smaller generally over the primary reforming cata- is gained as this material can be used in increased reactivity to convert light sulphur tube.
27 Where k is the rate constant, A is the pre pellets to minimise the path length from the lyst, ca. 25% over the shift beds and ca. place of the HDS material and so remove species to H2S and simultaneously remove CATACELJM SSR provides the following
exponential term, Ea is the activation outer surface to the centre of the pellet is 25%, over the rest, namely purification, the pressure drop and cost of the HDS them by trapping them as ZnS. advantages:
28 energy, R is the molar gas constant and T is another option, but this alone will increase secondary reforming and methanation. material altogether. Johnson Matthey’s high activity HDS ● lower pressure drop;
the temperature. The effect of temperature pressure drop. This is why it becomes ben- Johnson Matthey’s high density pro- catalyst, KATALCOJM 61-2, allows the ● high heat transfer;
29 can be characterised into three regions. eficial to look at optimising the pellet shape. Process limits moted ZnO, KATALCOJM 32-6, allows amount of pre heat, typically gained from ● high activity.
When done correctly this can: Each plant will have its own specific limi- more capacity to be gained per unit vol- a coil in the convection section, to be
30 Kinetic limit – this is where pore and film ● increase activity (rate); tation. These may include pressure relief ume of absorbent. This is typically used reduced. Although most HDS materials The flow pattern through the tube is
diffusion have a limited effect and the rate ● decrease pressure drop; limits or the capability of the air or syn- to increase campaign length. However, operate at 300° to 400°C, KATALCOJM 61-2 extremely well defined by virtue of the engi-
31 limitation is the number of available active ● maintain or better the robustness of gas compressor to provide sufficient flow it is possible to lower the pressure drop allows lower temperature operation, from neered support. The design can be tailored
sites. The number of active sites can be the material. to satisfy the process requirement. If the of a ZnO a system by loading less mate- 250°C. Johnson Matthey has a comple- to maximise the benefit in a customer plant. Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 increased by increasing metal loading or operating limit is CO2 removal, then oper- rial, where a decrease in pressure drop is mentary range of H2S absorbents, includ- Using Johnson Matthey’s simulation London SE1 7SJ, England
the packing efficiency of the material. If At higher temperatures the drive to over- ating the absorber at higher pressure can more valuable than an increase in cam- ing PURASPECJM 2020, which operates tools the flow pattern and performance Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 the metal loading is increased, the metal come severe diffusion limits drives the also be beneficial in some cases. paign length. The pressure drop can be efficiently at the same temperature. of the system can be reliably predicted,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

56 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 57 Web: w


5 Fig 8: CFD assessment of the flow pattern as part Fig 9: CATACELJM SSR is a step change in primary Fig 12: The pore size distribution in KATALCOJM 71-Series Fig 13: Voidage of different HTS pellet geometries What’s in issue 345
of a CATACELJM SSR design reforming catalyst technology
6 8.36e+01 competitor 71-series
activity heat transfer pressure drop

relative performance indicator

7 7.10e+01
6.69e+01 KATALCOJM 71-5

8 5.43e+01
Nitrogen in

voidage of packed bed

5.02e+01 voidage
Southeast Asia

pore volume
3.34e+01 KATALCOJM 71-5M

10 2.09e+01
8.36e+00 ■ COVER FEATURE 2
11 4.18e+00
competitive 6" x 6" material

Nitrogen project
as shown in Fig. 8. Johnson Matthey’s relying upon a large number of small holes ceramic supports in an attempt to eliminate pore diameter aspect ratio listing
proprietary software, PRIMARY, can be in the material to achieve this. the problems of catalyst vaporisation. This
used to project the performance of the Shape optimisation ensures that the resulted in the development of KATALCOJM
technology. QUADRALOBE catalyst avoids small holes 89-6, a catalyst designed for the top of sec- HTS Fig 14: KATALCOJM 71-5F
14 Fig. 9 shows this performance relative that are more prone to becoming blocked. ondary reformers and autothermal reform- Unlike the reforming catalysts which are ■ COVER FEATURE 3
to the earlier technologies, illustrating the This is important as alumina vaporisation ers (ATRs). The catalyst utilises a refractory supported catalyst, the HTS material is a
15 benefits this development brings to the in the hotter regions of the bed can result metal as the active component on a stabi- precipitated catalyst. This is because the
operator. in deposition of alumina in the cooler lised high temperature ceramic support. The operating temperature has fallen from a Early detection of
16 Each shape development has broken regions and so lead to a build-up of the equilibrium vapour pressure of the ceramic temperature of 700-1,000°C to <500°C, process risks
the rules that previously governed the rela- catalyst bed pressure drop. This often used is several orders of magnitude lower which means a precipitated catalyst can
17 tionship between heat transfer and pres- forms a distinct layer in the catalyst bed, than alumina, resulting in substantially lower be operated successfully, as the structure
sure drop. CATACELJM SSR represents the and the normal solution to this is to skim vaporisation rates. Side by side trials of alu- of the material will remain intact at these
18 single biggest step forward in this respect. and replace the affected catalyst where mina-based catalyst and KATALCOJM 89-6 temperatures. ■ COVER FEATURE 4
It is now possible to further lower pressure the fouling is occurring. have confirmed these lower vaporisation The HTS catalyst deactivates through
19 drop and increase activity, providing step Often, the condensed alumina crystals rates and an elimination of this problem as a sintering mechanism, so avoiding opera-
changes in the performance of our cus- will exhibit a pink or red colour and the a source of pressure drop increase. tions in excess of the design temperature
Ammonia catalysts
20 tomer’s plants. alumina is then in the form of synthetic As part of its range, Johnson Matthey for the HTS catalyst will help prolong the
rubies, as shown in Fig. 10. Rubies are provides active guard layer catalysts. life of the material. However, as Fig. 6
21 Secondary reforming naturally occurring corundum (alumina) These are larger sized materials, ‘extra shows, the rate of reaction will be reduced
Johnson Matthey provides a full range of with trace quantities of chromium, which giant’ (XQ) and ‘Elephant’ (EQ) sized as the temperature is lowered and so it ship between aspect ratio and voidage is For the LTS material to provide a long
22 catalyst sizes into this application. The cause the pink colour. grades are used where the design allows would require a larger volume of catalyst plotted in Fig. 13. This shows the superior stable performance over its life time, it
QUADRALOBE shape provides a material Johnson Matthey experimented with a for this catalyst option, so that even the to gain the same effect. In turn this will aspect ratio of the pellet geometry John- needs to manage the poisons that are pre-
23 with a high GSA / unit volume, whilst not number of different catalytic metals and very top section of the bed is carrying out increase the pressure drop and so multiple son Matthey utilises, offering catalyst pel- sented to it. Johnson Matthey offers self-
reforming, generating hydrogen and remov- trade-offs need to be considered to provide lets that pack to a higher voidage and thus guarding materials, KATALCOJM 83-Series,
Fig 10: Crystalline deposit on catalyst Fig 11: SEM showing the micro- ing heat from the system, and not creating the optimal solution. a lower pressure drop compared to other which are able to trap sulphur and chloride
24 pellets in secondary reformer structure in KATALCOJM 71-Series extra pressure drop. KATALCOJM 71-Series is manufactured catalyst geometries available. at the top of the bed. This chemistry is

25 from a unique nitrate route using an active Johnson Matthey has recently intro- achieved by providing a location that can NITROGEN+SYNGAS

Water gas shift structural promoter, which opens up the duced KATALCOJM 71-5F to the market. This stably harbour the poisons without caus-
The typical configuration is to use two large pore structure. The pellet geometry has catalyst is based on the same precipitation ing structural weakness. In each case this
26 beds, a high temperature shift (HTS) and a also been optimised to minimise the pres- route and chemistry that is well proven in stable trapping mechanism is paired with
low temperature shift (LTS) bed, to perform sure drop. KATALCOJM 71-Series provides a the market, but the shape has been opti- a kinetically rapid capture mechanism, by JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 the water gas shift reaction. These unit network with larger pores to increases the mised resulting in an enhanced 5-lobe virtue of the material manufacture. The
operations are vital to the flowsheet as path ways that enable effective diffusion shape that offers increased performance results of this self-guarding mechanism
28 they convert CO, produced by the reform- at an atomic scale. Fig. 11 shows a scan- with lower pressure drop, increased are shown in Fig. 15.
ing reaction, to hydrogen and CO2. The ning electron microscope (SEM) image of strength and increased voidage (Fig. 14). The self-guarding feature of the cata-
29 lower the CO level exit the shift beds, the the modified atomic structure and Fig. 12 lyst, with no need for a guard layer, can
greater the hydrogen yield and so the bet- shows the impact this has in terms of the LTS be used to:
30 ter the efficiency of the flow sheet. There is increase in the size and number of pores The LTS catalyst life is normally limited by ● reduce the installed volume and hence
almost always an incentive to reduce HTS which allows reactants to access the inter- deactivation due to the poisons, sulphur pressure drop or;
31 and LTS pressure drop by: nal active sites more rapidly. and chloride. These can also enter through ● maximise the activity and life by charging
● optimal catalyst design; Finally the pellet geometry maximises the air intake to the secondary making the the whole vessel with active LTS material. Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 ● utilising lower pressure drop support the voidage and so decreases the pres- LTS susceptible to attack, even when the London SE1 7SJ, England
media / support grids; sure drop through a packed bed of the upstream purification system is working In each of the plants shown in Fig. 15, Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 ● reactor design. KATALCOJM 71-Series catalyst. The relation- effectively. the KATALCOJM catalyst gave significantly
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

58 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 Nitrogen+Syngas 345 | January - February 2017 59 Web: w


5 Fig 15: Achieved catalyst lives of KATALCOJM and competitor LTS product a requirement to pack as much activate Table 4: Split of the pressure drop savings over the duties in the front section of the flowsheet What’s in issue 345
in operation in 20 different plants surface into the available bed volume. This
product has a long track record of excellent
6 160 operation having been developed for the ICI
Duty Change in catalyst technology Pressure
drop saving,
Initial pressure drop Optimised pressure drop
Flowsheet 1, Flowsheet 2, Flowsheet 1, Flowsheet 2,
7 competitor self guarding (KATALCOJM)
Leading Concept Ammonia Process (LCA), %
barg barg barg barg ■ COVER FEATURE 1
140 in which the inlet temperature was lower by
Purification HDS/ZnO exchanged for 3 in 1 solution 25 0.15 0.1 0.11 0.08
virtue of the LCA flow sheet design.
8 120 Johnson Matthey’s latest develop- Primary Pelleted material exchanged for foil 60 1.2 0.9 0.48 0.36 Nitrogen in
achieved catalyst life, months

supported solution
ments in methanation, provide lower pres- Southeast Asia
9 100 sure drop solutions. This is achieved by Secondary Use of shape optimised material vs 25 0.24 0.2 0.18 0.15
increasing the bed voidage through shape competitive material
10 optimisation. HTS Use of shape optimised material vs 30 0.34 0.27 0.24 0.19
competitive material
11 Ammonia synthesis LTS Use of shape optimised material vs 5 0.31 0.24 0.29 0.23
Since the reaction is not equimolar, pres- competitive material

sure has a notable effect on the equilib- Methanation Use of shape optimised material vs 15 0.3 0.2 0.26 0.17 Nitrogen project
20 rium position. The advantages of higher competitive material listing
pressure are shown in Fig. 16. There is
13 0
Total pressure drop over the installed catalyst volume 2.54 1.91 1.56 1.17
also an equilibrium gain from low tempera-
plants ture, however kinetics mean that commer-
14 Total pressure drop saving over the installed catalyst volume 0.98 0.74
cial loops operate at higher temperature.
Total saving, % 39 39
For a wide range of pressures
15 Fig 16: Ammonia equilibrium position with varying temperature and pressure, KATALCOJM ammonia synthesis catalysts
from a feed of H2:N2 with a gas ratio of 3:1 (mol:mol) offer robust and reliable performance. Early detection of
16 These are a multi-promoted magnetite cat- With a selling price of $400/t NH3 the Fig 17: Classic higher temperature Fig 18: Lower temperature process risks
80-90 alyst, which can be provided in an oxide or margin is $302/t NH3. If decreasing the methanation methanation with KATALCOJM 11-4
17 90 70-80 pre-reduced and stabilised form. pressure drop by 1.75 psi enables the plant
60-70 The pre-reduced and stabilised material to achieve a 0.5% increase in output, this
18 70
50-60 offers the benefits of: means the saving is worth: $490,000/year 285°C 220°C ■ COVER FEATURE 4
60 ● faster reduction / commissioning of the for flowsheet 1, which has a nameplate
19 30-40 4-5 t/h 1-2 t/h
NH3, mol-%

material; capacity of 1,600 t/d, and $450,000/year

50 20-30
● lower reduction temperature, overcoming for flowsheet 2, which has a nameplate
Ammonia catalysts
40 10-20 methanator E-308
20 30 0-10 potential operational limits on start up; capacity of 1,900 t/d.
R-304 methanator R-304 E-308

20 ● produces less water (ammonia solu-

100 Bar 100 Bar
21 10 tion) to be managed / disposed of. Case study 2: Lower temperature 310°C trim 245°C trim
0 operation savings outlet
22 200
300 These all aid the efficiency of the process.
CO 2 removal CO2 removal
250 250 In ammonia synthesis, one of the most After a revamp to convert a CO2 removal E-307 E-307
350 60°C inlet/outlet 60°C inlet/outlet
23 200

400 notable developments was the introduc- system to use aMDEA to lower slip exit


450 exchanger
500 150 tion of cobalt to further improve magnetite the absorber, a consequence was that

550 to molecular sieves


temperature, °C ammonia synthesis. The addition of cobalt the methanator feed-effluent exchanger to molecular sieves
in this catalyst brings two major effects (E307), could not raise the methanator

25 compared to conventional magnetite cata- inlet temperature to the normal running NITROGEN+SYNGAS

longer operating lives, giving customers Johnson Matthey offers a range of cata- lysts; easier reduction and higher activity. condition of 290°C. A HP steam heater
more economic performance by operating lysts that can be selected to suit specific Johnson Matthey’s ammonia synthesis cat- was used consuming 4-5 t/h of 100 bar KATALCOJM 11-4 has provided very sta- References
26 at equilibrium for longer than the competi- plant requirements, such as low tempera- alyst regularly achieves lives of >20 years. steam to raise the methanation inlet tem- ble operating performance at these chal-
tive products. ture operation (see case study 2 below) perature as shown in Fig. 17. lenging conditions with the achieved life 1. Broeck SVD and Fowles M: “Low tempera- JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017
27 ture methanation: Operating experience
Further efficiency can be gained by and/or low pressure drop. Case study 1: Pressure drop savings By installing a KATALCOJM 11-4, a now into the tenth year, with carbon oxide
something unexpected!”. 2008 AIChE
installing a low methanol LTS catalyst, KATALCOJM 11-4 offers the ability to catalyst with the highest intrinsic kinetic slip below 3 ppm.
28 KATALCOJM 83-3X. This is a promoted reduce the inlet temperature of the meth- By applying these catalyst solutions it pos- activity this has allowed operation with an Ammonia Safety Symposium, San Antonio,
Texas USA.
material that alters the active sites so the anator. This saves energy and can be an sible to save 0.7-1.0 barg pressure drop inlet temperature 65°C lower, at 220°C. Conclusions
catalysts ability to produce methanol is efficiency benefit on some plants. In itself, over the front section of the flowsheet. As a result, the HP steam consumption 2. McKidd AW, Broadhurst PV and Macleod N:
vastly reduced. reducing the temperature of operation This assessment has been carried for the was reduced by 2-3 t/h, (see Fig. 18). What is so attractive about these savings “Introducing KATALCOJM 33-1 a tri-functional
30 also slightly reduces the pressure drop. To two flowsheets detailed in Fig. 6. Table 4 This corresponded to an improvement in is they can be taken in a step wise fashion purification solution for sulphur removal from
Methanation achieve this, the low-temperature kinetics looks at the typical split of this saving over energy efficiency of 0.15GJ/t NH3 (0.142 to align with existing catalyst change-out synthesis gas plant feedstocks. Nitrogen +
31 This duty removes the last traces of carbon of the catalyst (see Fig. 5) are enhanced the different duties. MMBtu/t NH3). The value of these changes needs. The value of increased efficiency Syngas Conference, Bahrain (2010).
oxides from the system by converting them via an optimised nickel loading that retains Assuming a gas price of $2 /MMBtu, is worth e250,000-500,000/year for a when exchanging an old catalyst with a 3. Whittenberger W and Farnell P: “Foil sup- Southbank House, Black Prince Road
32 to methane. This is a requirement because its surface area in service. It furthermore gas consumption of 36 MMBtu/t NH3 and 1,000-2,000 t/d flowsheet. This was new optimised one can normally pay for ported catalysts deliver high performance in London SE1 7SJ, England
carbon oxides deactivate the downstream requires a pellet shape that maximises the other costs of $26/t NH3, the cost of pro- based on a gas price of $6/1MMBtu and the optimised catalyst charge within 1-2 steam reformers”. Nitrogen + Syngas Confer- Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
33 ammonia synthesis catalyst. packing efficiency in the bed, as there is ducing the NH3 is $98/t NH3. an exchange rate of 0.9 Euro:USD. years of operation. ■ ence, Istanbul (2015).
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

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3 Advertisers’ index
Advertiser Page Contact Fax / Email What’s in issue 345
Technical Editor: LISA CONNOCK AIChE Annual Safety in Ammonia Plants 17 Ms Rebecca Matos 1 646 495 1324
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Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567 Johnson Matthey IFC Ms Gillian Standley 44 1642 522 542
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17 O.T.O. Research Corporation
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Sept.1 2016 – Manasi, Xinjiang, China
21 The world's largest single train high-pressure melamine
plant into successful operation at XLX Fertiliser Co.Ltd.
23 Engineered and constructed in less than two years after contract
finalization, with a nameplate capacity of 60,000 MTPY this plant sets a
24 new record in the melamine industry, featuring the world’s largest single
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26 ultimate achievements of 4th generation Euromel® Melamine technology
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