Air Products announced that its joint venture company based in Sichuan, China has signed a long-term agreement to build a hydrogen production facility for PetroChina Company Limited, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. It is the first time that a state-owned refinery in China has outsourced its hydrogen requirements. The steam methane reformer (SMR) will produce hydrogen and syngas to support PetroChina's Sichuan refinery and petrochemical facilities. The facility will produce over 90 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen and is targeted to be on stream in early 2012.
"We are honored to be part of this first-ever contract to provide outsourced hydrogen to PetroChina. We have a similar JV that has already contracted with PetroChina to supply oxygen and nitrogen, so we are pleased that they have shown further confidence in Air Products providing a reliable, low-cost supply of hydrogen and other industrial gases for their new Sichuan refinery and ethylene complex. This project will help make cleaner transportation fuel available to meet China's growing demand," said Phil Sproger, vice president-Business Development for Asia at Air Products.
The hydrogen production plant will feature technology advancements to maximize facility energy efficiency and emission reductions. The enhanced SMR design targets minimal loss of heat to the environment, which in turn reduces the quantity of natural gas required to make hydrogen. These efforts and other productivity improvements support Air Products' overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.
This is the second contract announced with PetroChina in the past year. In September of 2009, the same Air Products joint venture company signed an agreement to build an air separation unit (ASU). The ASU will supply oxygen and nitrogen to PetroChina's main refinery and ethylene complex in Sichuan, as well as produce liquid products for Air Products' merchant gases customers in the Chengdu area. The ASU is targeted to be on-stream in late 2011.
The Sichuan hydrogen facility will be built through the global alliance between Air Products and Technip. Technip provides the design and construction expertise for steam reformers while Air Products provides the gas separation technology. Air Products, through its extensive operating network, and Technip, from its large reference base, also bring effective operational and engineering knowledge to "design-in" high reliability and efficiency.