(EnergyAsia, February 2, Monday) — Black & Veatch, a leading engineering, consulting and construction company, said that its patented PRICO® liquefied natural gas (LNG) process is helping bring natural gas supplies to customers in rural China.

The first LNG facility, in Erdos, Inner Mongolia, attained full production capacity of 200,000 metric tons per year last December. A second facility in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province has also begun commercial operation.

“The availability of natural gas supplies for rural China residents is important in improving the quality of life in parts of the country where energy distribution utilities are in the early stages of development,” said Brian Price, Black & Veatch’s Vice President of LNG Technology.

“The six LNG plants we are building use the PRICO LNG process that helps provide an efficient and cost-effective method for delivering a vital supplies of energy to rural communities.”

In addition to being a valuable fuel source for residents and industry, LNG can also be used as a clean fuel for vehicles.

“Black & Veatch chose to develop these projects with Chemtex as a strategic partner in China. Our company and Chemtex are providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the LNG facilities,” Mr Price added.

Wim van der Zande, Chemtex President and CEO, said: “Following completion of the Erdos and Zhuhai facilities, we were able to start up and achieve full design capacity in just three weeks. This demonstrates the reliability, ease of use and precise design of the Black & Veatch technology and has enabled our clients to quickly move LNG supplies to market.”

Another four plants are planned in the central provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi, northwestern Gansu province and the northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region.

Upon completion, the six facilities will supply a total of approximately 1.2 million tons per year of LNG, providing residents natural gas for heating and cooking.

“These projects demonstrate the viability of providing energy assurance in remote areas around the globe,” said Bob Wojnarowski, Black & Veatch’s regional general manager.

LNG comprises 1/600th of the volume of its vapourised gas equivalent, making LNG ideal for shipping and storage. Natural gas must be cooled to approximately -163°C (-260°F) to become liquefied. LNG produced at the Erdos and Zhuhai facilities is transported by specially designed road tankers to markets across rural China and Shanghai city.

The PRICO process uses a single-mixed refrigerant loop for natural gas liquefaction and has several key advantages, including the lowest capital costs of all competing technologies, a simplified refrigeration system requiring minimal equipment and simplified control and flexibility in handling variable feed gases.

Chemtex specialises in delivering innovative and value-added project solutions based on customised technology for its clients in the energy, bio-fuels, environmental, petrochemical, polymers and fibers industries. With more than 1,000 dedicated and creative staff located in offices in China, India, Italy and the US, Chemtex offers a full range of engineering, project management, global sourcing and construction services.

Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, telecommunications, management consulting, federal and environmental markets.