North West Upgrading, a Calgary-based, privately owned company building an independent, heavy oil upgrader in Sturgeon County, Alberta, has awarded Lurgi AG of Frankfurt Germany an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the execution of the gasifier silo for North West's Upgrader Project.
Lurgi, an Air Liquide subsidiary, is a leading international company operating in the field of process engineering and plant contracting. Lurgi has in turn retained KBR, a leading global engineering, construction and services company with experience in Alberta, as the subcontractor to complete pipe fabrication, module fabrication as well as field execution.
This major contract, worth in excess of $500 million, encompasses the design, procurement and construction of a new 120 MMSCFD gasification-based hydrogen plant that will include Lurgi's proprietary Multi Purpose Gasification (MPG) and Rectisol gas sweetening processes. High-purity hydrogen produced from the gasifier unit will be used within the upgrader processes to make valuable products such as ultra low sulfur diesel. High-purity CO2 will be captured from the process and sold for enhanced oil recovery applications.
"Gasification of bitumen bottoms to make hydrogen is the way of the future in upgrading and refining in Alberta; Lurgi brings a strong history of worldwide gasification and gas processing experience to North West," said Rob Pearce, President, North West Upgrading. "We're confident in their capacity and capability to ensure that this project remains on track and on schedule."
Lurgi has over 60 years of gasification experience and is a world leader in gas technologies that produce synthesis gas and downstream products such as hydrogen from numerous feedstocks.
Mechanical completion and commissioning of the gasification-based hydrogen plant is expected in the first half of 2011.
The North West Upgrader will enhance the economic value of Alberta's bitumen and heavy oil production by producing light, low-sulfur products and diluent. The upgrader will have a total processing capacity of 231,000 barrels per day of blended feedstock over three phases. North West anticipates it will achieve start up for the first phase in 2011. All three phases are expected to be operating by 2015.