Despite continued external headwinds and modest economic growth prospects around the world, air separation units and other projects in the $78bn (2014) industrial gases business continue to emerge globally throughout the year – such is the industry’s role at the heart of most end-user markets and applications.
Numerous significant ASU projects were either completed or announced in a number of regional markets this year, and further capacity additions are expected to be realised in 2016. Here are some of gasworld’s highlights of global project developments in the next 12 months.
Here you can find gasworld’s edited highlights, in the Americas region.
Praxair will start up a new steam methane reformer (SMR) at Repsol’s La Pampilla Refinery, in the Callao district near Lima in 2016, as part of a long-term contract to provide hydrogen to the company.
The 12 million standard cubic feet per day SMR will use natural gas or naphtha as feedstock for the production of hydrogen. The La Pampilla refinery produces gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel and asphalts, among other products, to serve the local market. The Repsol refinery will also produce low-sulphur diesel fuel that will comply with the strictest environmental standards and be used to serve customers in the local market.
Having previously signed a long-term contract to supply industrial gases to a new steel mill being built near the Port of Pecém in an international free trade zone in the state of Ceara, northeast Brazil, Praxair brings a 2,400 tpd cryogenic production plant on-stream there in 2016.
The plant will produce gaseous and liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon and will enable CSP to produce an expected three million tons of steel slabs annually. In addition to supplying the steel mill, it is understood that the new plant will serve merchant and packaged gas customers in a variety of sectors across the northern and north eastern regions of Brazil – including food and beverage, metal fabrication, healthcare and automotive.
The Linde Group is to start-up a new helium plant near Mankota, Saskatchewan in early 2016, under a contract to provide helium purification and processing technology to Virginia-based Weil Group Resources, LLC.
The plant will process 10 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and produce industrial grade (99.999%) helium; Linde Gas North America LLC will purchase Weil’s industrial grade helium production under a long-term purchase-sale agreement. “The Mankota Project is of strategic value for Linde, given the dynamics of the helium market,” said Nick Haines, Linde’s Head of Global Helium Sourcing.
Airgas welcomes on-stream both a new air separation unit (ASU) and a liquid hydrogen plant in Calvert City, Kentucky in spring 2016, both to be operated by Airgas Merchant Gases, the company previously confirmed.
The large-scale ASU will supply tonnage oxygen and nitrogen via pipeline to Westlake Vinyls at its Calvert City manufacturing complex, and will also produce liquid oxygen, nitrogen, and argon to support expected growth in the region’s merchant bulk gas market.
The liquid hydrogen plant, meanwhile, will have the capacity to produce 10 tonnes per day of liquid hydrogen for use in a wide range of customer applications, including electrical power generation, the production of metals, glass, chemicals, and food products, and emerging applications for hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
Air Liquide edged closer to the start-up of its Beaumont, Texas ASU in November (2015) with the official ground-breaking ceremony at the site. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient plant – a more than $120m investment – will supply oxygen to the new world-scale methanol plant of Natgasonline LLC in a high-growth area for the chemicals industry. The plant is expected for a second-half 2016 start-up.
Air Products will commence operations at both an ASU and a PRISM® hydrogen generator in northeast Arkansas in July, as part of a product supply agreement with Big River Steel. The ASU will provide pipeline oxygen, nitrogen and argon for the company’s new hot rolled steel facility, while the PRISM® unit will also provide pipeline hydrogen for its operations.
Linde will complete construction and installation of a new hydrogen plant in Ohio in the year ahead. Having executed a new integrated supply agreement with Lima Refining Company (LRC) for hydrogen and steam utilities to its refinery in Lima, Ohio, Linde will establish a new SMR hydrogen plant and invest in upgrades to its two existing facilities in the cluster.
It is anticipated that the new hydrogen plant (Linde Lima 3) will be on-stream during the first quarter of 2016. Linde’s hydrogen plants in Lima will be operated as a single facility capable of producing more than 60 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) of hydrogen for the cluster companies.
In Louisiana, Matheson will complete a new ASU to augment is existing operations in the Lake Charles area and supply tonnage oxygen and nitrogen to Sasol’s world-scale ethane cracker in particular. The new plant is scheduled for completion in 2016 and Scott Kallman, President and CEO of MATHESON, commented, “This ASU reflects the drive by MATHESON to further develop and reinforce our existing coast-to-coast bulk industrial gas network in the Sunbelt of the US.” Sasol’s ethane cracker and derivatives complex is scheduled for start-up in 2018.
A 450 tpd carbon dioxide (CO2) purification and liquefaction plant comes on-stream in Delaware this year, as Praxair takes crude CO2 from the refinery operations of Delaware City Refining Company and produces beverage-grade liquid CO2 for distribution into the Northeastern US merchant market. The new source further strengthens Praxair’s supply position in the Northeast – Praxair previously started up a 450 tpd CO2 purification facility in Hopewell, Virginia, and operates CO2 facilities in Southeastern Canada.
Finally, in New Jersey, cryogenic plants and equipment manufacturer Cosmodyne will place a nitrogen recycle liquefier and related components into service for New Jersey Natural Gas’ (NJNG) Howell LNG Facility in spring 2016. Cosmodyne will design and manufacture the liquefier at its facilities, and transport it to New Jersey where project partner Northstar will put it into service.
*All projects, timelines and capacities correct as of original press releases.