Russia’s Sibur has started operating a unit for cleaning methanol from propane fraction, allowing it to produce propane in line with European quality standards. In the EU, the amount of methanol that remains when propane becomes a finished product is subject to regulations whereby content should not exceed 2,000 parts per million (ppm).
Russian standards do not regulate methanol’s content in propane. Sibur said that its new unit produces propane with methanol levels under 1,000ppm. The company also said that it is testing a new technology that removes methanol from commercial propane via azeotropic separation, which could lead to the design of treatment plants that extract methanol from propane with a capacity of 240 tonnes/hour, resulting in a methanol content of less than 50ppm. Pilot tests are expected to be completed in 2013. Sibur plans to use the technology at a new gas fractionating plant at Tobolsk-Neftekhim. Construction is proposed to begin in the third quarter of 2013
International Media Relations