European LNG technology possible for IOC in Iran

Vol 9, PW 3 (18 May 05) Midstream & Downstream

Indian Oil is determined that US sanctions against Iran will not prevent it from building a natural gas liquefaction project with Petropars, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company.

US sanctions against Iran have ensured that the only two commercially proven natural gas liquefaction technologies of American origin will not be available to Indian Oil for use in Iran. Luckily, IOC is not dependent on US technology alone and is in discussions with one French and one German company to source (admittedly untried and untested) European liquefaction technology.

Two other technologies, that is, the Liquefin process of Axens (a wholly owned subsidiary of IFP of France) and the MFC process of German company Linde are available for Iran, we learn. Both these companies have confirmed their willingness and interest to provide their technology for our proposed project in Iran.

The only uncertainty for IOC is that neither of these two liquefaction processes have been commercially tested anywhere in the world except in Norway. But even here, the Linde process is being implemented at the first natural gas liquefaction plant ever set up in the country.

Axens process is yet to be commercially implemented anywhere but Petronas and Total are considering use of this technology for their own natural gas liquefaction projects in Iran, we learn. IOC is till undecided about which of the two liquefaction technologies to use: Liquefin or MFC.

The technology would be chosen when the detailed feasibility study is being carried out, we learn. This will begin immediately after receiving NIOCs in-principle approval for the pre-proposal.

On 28th February, IOC and Petropars submitted a proposal to set up a 9m t/y natural gas liquefaction project in Iran, partly for export to India. Formal approval on this project is still awaited from NIOC.