Dow seeks to meet gas treatment changes in Africa

Refining ATT480Dow has a presence in Egypt and Libya and hopes to expand into Nigeria. Adriano Gentilucci, commercial director − IMEA for Dow Oil, Gas & Mining, speaks to Oil Review Africa about the company’s ambitions on the continent

What is Dow’s pedigree in gas treating solutions?

For more than 65 years, Dow has led the way in gas treating. Today we offer one of the broadest and most in-depth portfolios of gas treatment products, services and technologies for natural gas applications in the world. 

Our UCARSOL™ solvents, specialty amines and specialised technologies – together with unsurpassed industry expertise – bring you the most advanced solutions available for gas treatment. Dow’s core expertise in gas treating also lies in providing engineering consultancy services and simulation capabilities to engineering companies and oil and gas operators backed by more than 1,000 references worldwide dealing with a wide ranges of gas compositions and process conditions.

What is Dow’s gas-treating footprint in Africa?

Dow has several gas treating references in Africa, handling a significant number of the plants running on amines in Egypt and Libya. 

We also foresee an increase in the demand for amine in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa with the development of the Dangote Oil Refinery in the city of Lagos. This refinery will meet Nigeria’s daily requirement of 445,000 to 550,000 barrels of fuel with the extra capacity to export.

What are the biggest challenges in sour gas treatment in the region?

One of the main challenges facing sour gas processors in Africa today is that of efficient amine management. Amines, a chemical compound used to treat sour gas by removing harmful hydrogen sulphide (H2S) from the useable gas, works best in cool conditions, which means the added costs of thin fan coolers or chillers to the sweetening process. Dow’s amine technology works by allowing the amines to operate efficiently for H2S removal even at relatively high temperatures. This eliminates the cost for cooling the amines.

How does the Dow AMINE MANAGEMENT™ Program work?

The Dow AMINE MANAGEMENT™ Program is a comprehensive gas-sweetening service program that targets the gas treating amine systems to achieve environmental compliance while improving reliability, reducing energy costs and preserving the integrity of assets. Dow AMP is tailored to each customer’s performance objectives, of process optimisation, energy efficiency and asset integrity, ultimately helping them optimise total system costs. The service program uses Dow’s proprietary state-of-the-art simulation software, which offers customers best-in-class performance prediction technology.

All Dow’s UCARSOLTM™ customers have access to this programme. Our important customers usually have a dedicated technical resource onsite working closely with the facility’s operational team to help ensure that the gas plant is operating at optimal performance.

Why are companies moving towards hybrid solvent in place of physical and chemical solvents?

An important trend is the tightening of regulations for controlling emissions that are in line with international standards. As a result, it is no longer sufficient to just remove H2S from natural gas to meet regulation, but the removal of other exotic contaminants, such as mercaptans. The removal of these requires a different approach and more specialised amine technology. To address this need, Dow introduced hybrid solvents, a combination of chemical and physical solvents which are capable of removing organic sulfur compounds from natural gas streams, with reduced hydrocarbon uptake compared to physical solvents, while still reaching the customer’s stringent gas specifications on acid gas removal. These hybrid solvents can be applied at natural gas plants and refineries, and be extended to other potential applications in the oil and gas industry. Over the last few years, Dow has invested in further R&D efforts to develop an accurate simulator tool for hybrid solvents.

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