A fire at the Santos Moomba Liquid Recovery Plant in central Australia plant on January 1, 2004, destroyed much of the existing liquids recovery equipment and precipitated the urgency of the delivery. The fire contributed to a substantial forecast downgrade in Santos's production for 2004.
For six months, the Moomba plant operated in dewpoint control mode (DPCM), a process that cannot extract natural gas liquids. Liquid production of Santos's Moomba Train-A resumed on June 1, returning natural gas liquids production to approximately 70 percent of normal capacity. The liquids recovery re-streaming process was completed in August with the reinstatement of B-Train of the liquids recovery plant. The plant has now resumed full production of ethane and natural gas liquids such as propane and butane.
Chart Industries, a Woodlands, Texas-based company, delivered the order for two emergency replacement cold boxes containing brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers for natural gas processing in a record six-weeks time. Santos Ltd. placed the order, valued at several million dollars, with Chart Industries at the end of January 2004. The equipment was delivered from Chart's heat exchanger plant in La Crosse, Wis., in mid-March 2004.
The design, manufacturing and delivery of the two cold boxes occurred in six weeks. Typical turn around for cold boxes containing brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers is well in excess of 30 weeks. Due to the urgency, the cold boxes were shipped via air instead of ocean vessel. In fact, the cold boxes were delivered to Australia using one of the largest airplanes in the world, the Antonov 124-100 long-range freighter.
Chart utilized its proprietary mercury-tolerant design and welding capabilities in the construction of the new heat exchangers and piping assembly to facilitate improved protection of the aluminum material against mercury corrosion. The cooperative effort between Santos and Chart, as well as Chart's dedication to complete the manufacture of the cold boxes in record time, saved Santos millions of dollars.