Modern Technologies and Prospective Oil and Gas Industry Projects Working Committee discussed gas-chemical technologies for natural gas processing

On April 12, 2021, the XIII meeting of Modern Technologies and Prospective Oil and Gas Industry Projects Working Committee was held online, chaired by V. Markelov, the Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.

A key topic of the meeting was the trends and prospects for the development of gas-chemical technologies for natural gas processing. In this regard, it is no coincidence that the 13th meeting was hosted by SIBUR Holding PJSC, the largest integrated petrochemical company in Russia and one of the most dynamically developing companies in the global petrochemical industry.

In the introductory statement V. Markelov pointed out that the dynamic growth of global demand for natural gas processing products requires the oil and gas complex to continuously develop competencies and technologies in the field of gas chemistry. Nevertheless, the gas processing industry has made a significant progress in recent years.

“Through the company’s efforts the production facilities modernization has been carried out, complex investment projects are being implemented. Today, the gas processing developmental vector is aimed at producing competitive products that meet international quality, safety and environmental standards”, – informed the Head of the Working Group.

The experience of leading companies in implementing gas-chemical projects, modern technologies for improving the efficiency of extraction of target components from natural gas, as well as the main techniques of natural gas utilization in chemical industry were discussed during the meeting.

M. Karisalov, the Chairman of the Board, General Director of SIBUR LLC gave the detailed explanations on the current business model of the company, which is intended to ensure its orderly development up to the level of leading world companies of petrochemical industry “not only and not so much on tons, but due to the labor productivity, standards of sustainable development, systems of development and motivation for personnel”. He also addressed the SIBUR expertise in the establishment of the largest polymer manufacturing plant in the Russian Federation (2 million tons per year) – ZapSibNeftehim.

Currently, the company is implementing the Amur Gas Chemical Complex project in the Amur region, which will become one of the largest producers of base polymers in the world. The future complex is a part of a deep hydrocarbon processing cluster being created in the region and is technologically related to the Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP) of PJSC Gazprom. The project plays an important role in the 2030 development strategy of the chemical and petrochemical complex in Russia. D. Borisova, the Managing Director (Development and Innovation) of SIBUR LLC talked about its prospects and implementation progress in details.

The experience of Gazprom in the development of hydrocarbon raw materials processing was presented by Yu. Lebedev, the Head of the Department of PJSC Gazprom, General Director of Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk LLC. Among other it was noted that the gas processing development trends coincide with general strategic goals of PJSC Gazprom and are intended to ensure profitability of the company investments and GDP growth of Russia.

J. Nowicki, Executive Vice President Linde plc and Chief Executive Officer of Linde Engineering, talked about technological equipment for cryogenic gas separation producing helium and other components for gas petrochemistry, including those supplied to the Amur GPP. I. Afanasyev, Principal Deputy Director General of RusChemAlliance LLC, presented gas processing complex in Ust-Luga.

In addition, the meeting participants discussed hydrogen production technology from methane by applying chemical cycles method, product manufacturing technology from synthesis gas by applying Fischer-Tropsch method, as well as technologies for electricity production from natural gas by applying fuel cells.

Presentations were also made by Dr. A. Nortemann, BASF SE Vice President, who presented OASE® gas purification technologies for natural gas processing, and Z. Yujun, Deputy General Director of PetroChina Oil and Gas Refining and Chemicals Company, who explained utilization process of natural gas for chemical products manufacturing in China.

CNPC is China’s largest producer and supplier of natural gas used as a clean energy source. Natural gas is a source for ammonia, hydrogen, methanol, etc. production. Regarding this, CNPC attracts great attention to technical research in the field of intensive natural gas utilization. Among prospect technologies are methane cracking for hydrogen production, hydrogen production from methane via chemical looping, as well as ethylene production via oxidative methane coupling technique. It was noted that in research on catalysts, which are used for hydrogen and carbon nanomaterials production, the company focused on the direct catalytic decomposition of natural gas. As a consequence, a metal catalyst with a special structure has been developed. It is characterized by high strength and wear-resistance. The total carbon conversion rate of natural gas is over 50%, and 95% of the obtained carbon material consist of multi-walled nanotube material. Z. Yujun also shared his experience of generating electricity from natural gas using fuel cells. As a result of CNPC research, it became possible to produce electricity from natural gas by self-heating of solid oxides and obtain following parameters: the power of a single element reached 8 W, the power of a unit was 89 W, and the power generation efficiency was more than 40%. Z. Yujun noted that natural gas would play an even greater role in the future of energetics, chemical industry and especially for the low-carbon development. It is expected that gas, as a chemical raw material, will also gain a wider industrial application.

Taking into account online format of the meeting, SIBUR Holding PJSC, as a host party, offered a virtual tour for participants around its plant ZapSibNeftekhim located in Tobolsk.

Summarizing meeting results, V. Markelov thanked the participants for the informative presentations and the relevance of the issued raised during the meeting. Taking into account new challenges in gas industry and the achieved level of scientific and technological progress in the field of gas chemistry, it is important to promote new technologies and breakthrough solutions. In this regard, V. Markelov informed the meeting participants about the IV International Young Scientists Awards “Oil and Gas Projects: A Glance into the Future” and asked to provide it with maximum assistance in 2021. This ambitious project was established by International Business Congress and has been carried out since 2018; it is organized by IBC Modern Technologies and Prospective Oil and Gas Industry Projects Working Committee together with “Gas Industry” scientific and technical journal. This competition proved to be an effective platform for promoting initiatives of young scientists offering solutions for oil and gas industry. The winners have an opportunity to do internships at the leading energy companies – members of International Business Congress and gain international experience.

The online meeting was held on the platform of “Neftegaz Territory” mobile application with the technical and organizational support of “Gas Industry” journal.

Considering that 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight, the participants of the meeting agreed to discuss the topic “Trends and prospects of the aerospace technologies application in oil and gas industry” during the next meeting. Therefore, it is planned that the next meeting will be hosted by Gazprom Space Systems JSC.