Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos's (YPFB) Fertiliser Plant, Bolivia

YPFB agreement

Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), the Bolivian state-owned oil company, will open a fertiliser plant at Carrasco in Cochabamba in 2015.

Major contracts for the project have been awarded. The plant is expected to cost $843m. It will have a production capacity of 1,200t of ammonia per day and 2,100t of urea per day.

The new fertiliser plant forms part of the projects being implemented by Bolivia, which are due to be completed before the bicentenary celebration in 2025 commemorating its independence from Spain. The country plans to monetise natural gas as part of its strategic initiatives to meet the demand for urea in the region and export most of the urea produced from the country, to generate revenue of about $340m per annum.

The production from the plant will be used as fertiliser in agricultural fields and is expected to increase Bolivia's cultivation area from the current 2.5 million hectares to 105 million hectares. The project is expected to employ about 5,300 people during the construction stage.

Contractors involved with Bolivia's fertiliser plant

"Production from the plant will be used as fertiliser in agricultural fields and is expected to increase Bolivia's cultivation area."

The Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, including the pre-commissioning contract, were awarded to Samsung Engineering in September 2012.

Samsung Engineering will also provide other support activities for the operation and maintenance of the plant for two years after its commissioning. The contracts were signed on a lump-sum turnkey basis. Samsung Engineering earlier received the notification of award (NOA) for the project in August 2012.

Samsung Engineering has subcontracted KBR to provide a technology license, basic engineering design package and supply of proprietary equipment for the project. KBR will render its patented operator training simulators and a steam dynamic simulation study for the plant.

The contract for providing urea synthesis and granulation technologies for the fertiliser plant was awarded to Toyo Engineering in October 2012.

Use of KBR's purifier technology at YPFB's facility

Natural gas will be used as feedstock for the production of urea and ammonia. The fertiliser ammonia complex will be use KBR's purifier technology.

The process system implementing KBR'S proprietary purifier technology for the production of ammonia involves the use of a plate-fin effluent exchanger constructed of aluminium, a shell-and-tube condenser and a compact low-speed unit expander.

The technology has very low energy consumption rate and produces high-purity synthesis gas, from which ammonia can be extracted. Impurities from the synthesis gas are separated by washing it with excess nitrogen.

Production of urea at YPFB's Bolivian fertiliser plant

The fertiliser plant will implement Toyo's ACES21 technology, which was developed by Toyo in collaboration with P.T. Pupuk Sriwidjaja (PUSRI) of Indonesia as a cost and energy saving version of its Advanced Process for Cost and Energy Saving (ACES) urea production.

"The country plans to monetise natural gas as part of its strategic initiatives to meet the demand for urea in the region."

The technology principally makes use of a ground-level reactor, a stripper and a carbamate condenser. The process involves feeding of liquid ammonia to the synthesis reactor through an HP Carbamate Ejector, which acts as the driving force for circulation in the synthesis loop.

Urea synthesis solution leaving the reactor is then fed to the stripper where unconverted carbamate is thermally decomposed and excess ammonia and carbon dioxide are separated by carbon dioxide stripping.

The stripped off gas is later fed to the Vertical Submerged Carbamate Condenser (VSCC), where ammonia and carbon dioxide gas condense to form ammonium carbamate. Urea is finally formed by dehydrating the carbamate in the shell side.

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