CHS lets contract for hydrogen plant at Montana refinery

US farmer-owned cooperative CHS Inc. has let a contract to Technip SA, Paris, to build a grassroots hydrogen plant at its 55,000-b/d refinery at Laurel, Mont. (OGJ Online, Sept. 2, 2015).

Technip, which plans to execute the project out of its Claremont, Calif., office, will deliver engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the proposed hydrogen plant, which is to have a production capacity of 40,000 normal cu m/hr, the service company said.

As part of the EPC contract, Technip will equip the plant with its proprietary top-fired steam reforming technology for the production of high-purity hydrogen as well as the export of steam.

The plant’s design also will include the latest nitrogen oxide-reduction technology to limit omissions to a minimum, according to Technip.

The hydrogen plant is due to be completed in 2017.

Technip valued the contract at €50-100 million.

In addition to previously supplying a steam reformer and parallel reformer for the Laurel refinery, Technip also completed two hydrogen projects for CHS’s 85,000-b/d refinery in McPherson, Kansas, the service provider said.

Broader plans

First announced in 2014, the Laurel hydrogen plant project comes as part of CHS’s broader strategy to boost overall efficiency, diesel production, and crude processing flexibility at its two refineries to help meet fuel demands of its rural-American market base (OGJ Online, Sept. 4, 2014).

At the Laurel refinery, CHS said it would invest more than $400 million in upgrading projects, which in addition to the new hydrogen plant, will include modifications to an existing crude unit at the site.

Both projects are aimed at increasing the refinery’s crude throughput rates as well as its production of diesel, the company said.

The Laurel upgrade also will involve modifications to an existing hydrocracker that, alongside further expanding diesel output, will enable the refinery to process a more flexible slate of crudes and limit production interruptions.

In 2013, CHS began a $330-million expansion of its McPherson refinery still under way alongside a separate project to construct a $555-million replacement coker at the refinery (OGJ, Dec. 3, 2012, p. 100; OGJ Online, Mar. 12, 2013).

The McPherson expansion, which will expand crude processing capacity at the Kansas plant to 100,000 b/d, is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Due for full commissioning in 2019, the Laurel upgrade will conclude CHS’s nearly $2 billion, multiyear investment program for the refineries which, once completed, will lift the cooperative’s overall refining capacity to 166,000 b/d.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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