Houston-based KBR announced on 12 November that it has been awarded a contract by Saudi Aramco for the front end engineering and design (FEED) for an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant to be built at the Jazan refinery. The contractor said the 2.4gw capacity plant will be “the largest gasifier-based power facility built in the world.” The IGCC plant will convert more than 90,000 b/d of vacuum residue into electricity and utilities (steam and gases) for the refinery and for use in Jazan Economic City and the surrounding region.

The development of gasification technology makes the use of low quality residual fuels viable for power generation on both economic and environmental grounds. OPEC studies have shown that the use of high-sulfur, high-metal residual fuel as feedstock for gasification plants is attractive when local environmental regulations means refiners incur costs disposing of residual fuels (MEES, 14 October 2002). Gasification also has advantages over conventional combustion in emissions control. The first step in the gasification process is the conversion of the fuel – coal or liquid hydrocarbons – into synthesis gas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen). The temperature and pressure of produced ‘syngas’ is higher than for exhaust gases from combustion, enabling easier removal of sulfur and nitrous oxides. IGCC technology was incorporated in the Qatar Petroleum/Shell Pearl GTL plant (MEES, 18 June 2007). (CONTINUED - 269 WORDS)