Chinese to help set up key gas plant in the Free State

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A Chinese company received a contract to help establish the first commercial Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the country.

Local group Renergen [JSE:REN] announced yesterday that Western Shell Cryogenic Equipment (WSCE) of China will be involved in establishing the Virginia Gas Project, which will produce LNG and liquid helium.  According to the company, the natural gas at the Free State field contains one of the richest helium concentrations recorded globally. The natural gas is also very pure with an average of over 90% methane.

The plant is expected to be operational within the first half of 2021 and will see the plant produce up to 2,700 GJ of liquid natural gas and 350 kg of liquid helium per day.

WSCE will supply the technology and equipment for the plant, which will be built in part by local engineering group EPCM Bonisan.

Renergen says WSCE has been manufacturing small scale LNG plants since 2004, and helped to build a liquid helium system for the Beijing Positron-Electron Collider in China.

The Virginia plant will be “modularised”: constructed in sizes of standard shipping containers for ease of transport and installation on site. The design uses mixed refrigeration cycle for the liquefaction process of the natural gas, which means the energy consumption is very low as compared to other plants at this small scale, Renergen says.

An agency of the United States government has agreed to lend Renergen more than R600 million to build the Virginia plant.

READ: The US government just invested R600 million into a gas project in the Free State that promises to reduce the global shortage of helium

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