Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the background of the cooperation between Shell and Paques?

  • The THIOPAQ® technology was originally developed for the purification of biogas produced in anaerobic waste water treatment, whereas it is also used to treat digester gas and landfill gas.
  • In 1997, Shell approached Paques to cooperate in the development of the THIOPAQ O&G technology for natural gas applications. A successful test applied up to 80bar was done in 1999.
  • In 2007, Shell and Paques’ biological gas desulphurisation process using THIOPAQ O&G was honoured with the Sellafield Award for Engineering Excellence at the IChemE (Institution for Chemical Engineers) Innovation and Excellence Awards. The accolade is given to the organisation which has achieved major chemical engineering solutions with particular emphasis on resource efficiency, lifetime value and process optimisation.
  • Now in 2011, the new joint venture Paqell B.V. allows both companies to provide a dedicated team that can focus on marketing in the midstream gas (and downstream oil industry).
  • This move is strategically aligned with the growth in gas, as we are continuously faced with the challenge to meet the increasing energy demand and even more stringent environmental requirements and product quality specifications.
  • THIOPAQ O& G technology could meet the particular needs of shale gas operators as well as midstream oil (e.g. remote associated gas clean up) and gas operators dealing with medium amounts of contained sulphur.

2. What are the unique characteristics of THIOPAQ O&G technology?

  • THIOPAQ O&G is a technology that makes use of natural occurring bacteria for sulphur recovery, operating in ambient temperature with simple utilities. Biosulphur or standard so-called Claus-quality sulphur can be produced, the former offering the opportunity for direct land use in fertilizer and fungicide applications, with quick soil pick up and crop yield enhancement. Large scale H2S removal using THIOPAQ O&G can be applied in unconventional gas, natural gas, flared gas, acid gas, and oil refining.
  • THIOPAQ O&G is based on the stability and flexibility of a natural bacterial process, and its effectiveness and efficiency is enhanced by a purpose-engineered system.
  • THIOPAQ O&G may very well be the only natural solution for sulphur extraction in the industry. In fact, the core of the process uses naturally-occurring bacteria (Thiobacillus spp.) which convert H2S into sulphur.
  • The THIOPAQ O&G technology does not require an expensive catalyst to operate, nor does it require any fired equipment.
  • The process can handle a relatively wide range of sulphur load. THIOPAQ O&G is able to handle process fluctuation without compromising on gas spec.

3. Where is THIOPAQ O&G being applied, currently and planned in the future?

(see REFERENCES)

  • Large scale H2S removal using THIOPAQ O&G can be applied in unconventional gas (e.g. shale gas), natural gas (e.g. for LNG and domestic gas), flared gas (oil exploration and production), syngas (as obtained from coal gasification in combination with Amine) and oil refining.
  • THIOPAQ O&G has been applied in eight projects in natural gas, acid gas, associated gas and refinery gas in various locations around the world.
  • Several new projects are underway where THIOPAQ O&G technology will be used in acid gas, natural gas and refinery applications.

4. What is the initial cost of this investment, including in R&D?

  • Paqell has a robust annual R&D budget to explore further potential of the technology in the oil and gas industry, as the gas portfolio increases and the resources become more “sour” and complex.
  • Three R&D projects are ongoing at the moment. These efforts are executed to provide our current and future customers access to improved versions of our technology for their gas treating challenges.  

5. Is the THIOPAQ O&G process safe? (health & environment aspects)

  • As no concentrated toxic H2S streams occur, the safety risk contours are small in comparison to traditional H2S removal technologies. Biosulphur or standard so-called Claus quality sulphur can be produced, the former offering the opportunity for direct land use in fertilizer- and fungicide applications, with quick soil pick up and crop yield enhancement.