Processing news briefs, June 28

Eastman Chemical ... Air Liquide America ... Rentech � GTL Resources � Worley Engineers � Overseas Private Investment Corp. � InterOil � Clough Niugini

Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., has selected Air Liquide America Corp., Houston, to build a partial oxidation plant for Eastman Chemical Co.'s facility near Longview, Tex. The facility will consist of an air separation unit and a partial oxidation plant. A letter of intent was signed between Eastman and Air Liquide America in May and the contract is expected to be finalized next month. Plant completion is scheduled for the second quarter of 2002. The new plant will replace Eastman's existing steam methane reformers. Air Liquide said the plant will thus reduce nitrogen oxides emissions from existing plant processes by about 20%, or 900 tons/year, and be more energy-efficient. Howe-Baker Engineers Inc., Tyler, Tex., will design and construct the partial oxidation plant, and Air Liquide Process and Construction Inc. will design and construct the air separation unit.

Rentech, Inc., Denver, has entered into a nonexclusive cooperation agreement with GTL Resources PLC, London, and Worley Engineers Ltd., Devon, UK, to undertake a feasibility study for the deployment of Rentech's Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process technology on a floating system designed to add value to low-cost offshore stranded natural gas. The feasibility study will focus on locations such as offshore West Africa and Australia's North West Shelf, where the F-T process could be used in the conversion of natural gas to 10,000 b/d of synthetic fuels. Rentech, GTLR, and Worley have agreed to cooperate in the completion of economic feasibility studies, conceptual design, capital costs, and operating costs, together with all front-end and intermediate processing equipment, product finishing facilities, and the supporting vessel. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will share responsibilities for any floating F-T plant they developed following the study phase.

Overseas Private Investment Corp. has signed an agreement to finance a Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea-based refinery for InterOil Corp., Toronto. In March, OPIC approved an $85 million credit facility for InterOil. The OPIC credit facility, along with the cash reserves held by InterOil, will cover the entire refinery capital budget. The final documentation for the credit facility may include a requirement that additional completion support be secured, in the form of cash, guarantees, or both. As previously announced, a contract has been awarded to Clough Niugini Pty. Ltd., a unit of Perth-based Clough Engineering Ltd., to construct the project and preliminary work has started (OGJ, Jan. 17, 2000, Newsletter). It is expected that the refinery will be completed during the first half of 2002.

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