Solving terminals development deadlock
Sending liquefied gas from Russia to countries in the Black Sea basin
About 11 mn t of liquefied hydrocarbons gasses (LHCG) is produced every year in Russia. Of this amount, about 2mn t is exported. Forecasts pre-dating the world crisis estimated that by 2011 this volume would double mainly thanks to the state's increased restrictions on flaring associated petroleum gasses (APG) — the main raw material base for producing LHCG.
Yet after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was left with no marine terminal designed for loading LHCG. The bulk of exported volumes (1.2-1.3mn t/yr) is sent by rail to Poland, 500,000 t is loaded at Ukrainian ports in Odessa, Ilichevsk and Kerch and a small amount is delivered through Riga, Latvia.
The federal programme «Modernising the Russian transport system (2002-2010), which
was approved at the beginning of the century envisions the country building LCGH marine loading terminals in Russia. The main goal of the programme was to lower the additional costs and risks associated with shipping exports cargo through the territories of third countries.
The Russian government's charge to increase utilization of APG to 05%, the implementation of which has been delayed until 2012, envisions producing a significantly larger amount of LHCG. The crisis
forced alterations to these plans, but in the future, the LHCG export programme will be implemented.
One cannot say that the problem of building marine terminals in the south of Russia has not been tackled. In 2007 at the marine port in Temryuk (Krasnodar region), the first, and thus far only, terminal in Russia for loading LHCG was launched by Maktren-Nafta. However, by the end of 2008, the complex had yet to reach its project capacity of 300,000 t/yr and was operating at less than 10%.
It is important to emphasise that the terminal in Temryuk is not the only project of its kind being implemented in Russia's south.
Another project is being carried out by the Russian holding HefteGazTop in Azov.
Boris Rachevskiy, the chairman of the board at HefteGazTop said during the conference «Exporting liquefied gas from Russia and other CIS countries» held in Moscow in March 2009, that the Azov terminal will make it possible to redirect LHCG exports currently handled through similar ports in Ukraine and the Baltic states which in turn will lower the cost of transport by about 50%. However, he did not comment on the need for such a port in Azov, given the Taman project and Maktren Nafta's completed terminal in Temryuk.
Still, Rachevskiy outlined the general advantages of the Azov project:
- Orienting sales to countries in the Mediterranean area and the Black Sea and Danube basins where demand for LHCG is rather;
- Satisfying suppliers' existing demands (enterprises in Urengoy, Surgut, Bashkortostan, Volgograd, Astrakhan and so on) with LHCG loading capacity;
- The Azov terminal will make it possible to export liquefied gas to «river-sea» vessels,
which are accepted at most potential consumers' terminals;
- The favourable weather conditions in the south make it possible use the terminal year-round;
- A complete cycle of accepting, storing and loading LPG;
- Fully automated and computerised technologies;
- Technical, technological decisions and operations ensuring environmental protection and industrial safety.
The characteristics of the Azov marine terminal project
This export marine terminal is meant for loading liquefied hydrocarbon gasses including: liquefied propane-butane (LPG), a wide range of light hydrocarbon fractions and liquefied natural gas (LNG) by water in river-sea class vessels (tankers and container ships).
The LHCG terminal is being designed for the north-west industrial zone of Azov and the Azov region. The length of the vessel route from the exit from the bay (Kovsha) to the sea is 29 km. The average depth of the route is 45 m. The north-west side of the area has a 110 m pier to be used to accept container ships.
The annual cargo turnover of the LHCG terminal (according to the project) is 2,100,000 t and can be increased to 4,000,0001. The productivity of the LCGH terminal of 2.1mn t/yr is provided by loading LHCG into two type of river-sea class vessels: tankers for loading liquefied petroleum gasses — 1.5 mn t/yr and container vessels with container cisterns — 0.6 mn t/yr. Container cisterns will be loaded with 500,000 t/yr of liquefied petroleum gas.
Main technological decisions
The LHCG terminal will receive liquefied hydrocarbon gasses by rail in 75.7 m³ -cisterns and in 25 m³ and 35 m³ container cisterns.
Cisterns are then unloaded into a 19,200 m³ LPG storage facilities comprised of
32 600 m³ spherical reservoirs.
Fitting platforms with containers full of gas are loaded by crane into temporary storage or directly onto container vessels.
The amount of liquefied gas kept in storage (by 24-hour period) is determined using a formula accounting for the necessary storage and the terminal's annual productivity:
V— the volume of the LPG reservoir warehouse in m3;
Qyr. — annual productivity of the terminal in t.;
n — received store of LPG, 24-hour period (2-5);
p — the density of the product being stored, t/m3;
k — the coefficient representing the filled level of the LPG reservoir.
One rail carriage cistern can bold 37 of liquefied propane-butane. The minimum number of rail carriage cisterns that can be loaded in one 24-hour period is 111, the maximum is 225.
The plans call for three railway loading docks to handle 38 rail carriage cisterns at a time
with 19 stations on each side. Liquefied gas is loaded from cisterns into reservoirs with the help of compressors installed at the terminal. Eight hours is required to load the gas from cisterns into the reservoir. The pumps and compressors are used to deliver the LPG via pipes from the warehouse to stander units to be loaded into tankers.
Schematic of the general plan for a multi-functional LHCG terminal
- controlled entrance;
- administrative building with operations room;
- filling berth for 3 cisterns;
- pump and compressor unit with protective wall;
- underground LHCG storage unit;
- railway loading docks for loading LHCG;
- dock for temporary storage of empty containers and cisterns;
- dock for temporary storage of filled containers and cisterns;
- cleaning premises;
- fire control pump station.
The project's main indicators:
- Volume of investment — estimated ˆl 70-200mn;
- Annual revenue at projected capacity — about 2bn roubles;
- Construction schedule — 3 years (launching the terminal in Q1 2012, launching the fist line in 2011);
- Return on investment — 5 years;
- Average transport expenses for delivering LPG by Russian rail to Azov - $124/t.
Increasing the export of liquefied gas will create more attractive conditions for investment in refining Russian APG.