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Foster Wheeler awarded contract for hydrogen production unit in Kazakhstan for major refinery modernization

A subsidiary of Foster Wheeler AG’s Global Engineering and Construction Group has been awarded a contract for the basic engineering design of a new hydrogen production unit, based on Foster Wheeler Terrace Wall steam reforming technology, to be built at the Atyrau Refinery in Kazakhstan.

The contract was awarded to Foster Wheeler by OJSC Omskneftekhimproekt, the project engineering contractor for the Deep Oil Conversion Complex, a major revamp and modernization of the Atyrau refinery. The main purpose of this project is to increase the oil conversion rate and production of all types of motor fuels to meet Euro IV and Euro V standards. The refinery will, as a result of this modernization, require additional volumes of high purity hydrogen.

Foster Wheeler developed the Terrace Wall reformer furnace in the early 1960s; the design has been continuously updated and improved. One feature of the design is the location of the burners at the bottom of the radiant section, firing up against the refractory wall. This significantly reduces power requirements for the ID/FD fans compared with a down-fired design that operates against the natural buoyancy of the flue gases. This reduces fan power consumption by 40-50%, saving operating costs. (It also spurred the development of an “Our heater doesn’t blow... ad by the marketing team.)

The new hydrogen unit, which will use high olefinic LPG as the main feedstock and natural gas as the alternate feedstock, will be designed to produce 24,000 normal cubic meters per hour (Nm3/h) of pure hydrogen. The basic design package is scheduled for completion during the third quarter of 2011.

The Foster Wheeler contract value was not disclosed and was included in the company’s first-quarter 2011 bookings.

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