Annually, Platts presents its Global Energy Awards for industrial projects around the world. Air Products was recently presented the 2012 Premier Project Award for Construction from Platts for our industry leading Gulf Coast Connection Project, the world's largest hydrogen plant and pipeline supply network. The pipeline stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. In August it began supplying over 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refinery and petrochemical customers. Air Products had operated two hydrogen pipeline systems in Texas and Louisiana before joining them with the new 180-mile segment. The 600-mile pipeline span is fed by over 20 Air Products hydrogen production facilities.
Hydrogen is widely used in petroleum refining processes to remove impurities found in crude oil such as sulfur, olefins and aromatics to meet the product fuels specifications. Removing these components allows gasoline and diesel to burn cleaner and thus makes hydrogen a critical component in the production of cleaner fuels needed by modern, efficient internal combustion engines.
Air Products' Gary Kinsey, Sarah Farnand and Tom Mutchler
The Platts Global Energy Awards judging panel specifically noted that the Air Products project team had to overcome daunting challenges to achieve its goal. Complying with environmental regulations was vital, given that the pipeline route goes through many sensitive wetland areas. Some of these challenges included:
- Designing and developing a feasible route minimizing impacts to local governments, communities, the environment, and strictly adhering to Air Products' critical safety requirements.
- Securing 1,085 permanent landowner right-of-ways, and over 300 temporary agreements.
- Obtaining numerous environmental permits and hundreds of non-environmental permits.
- Overcoming numerous construction challenges including three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood protection levees within the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp, and rivers, streams and highway crossings, as well as managing the multiple changes to the design route and securing permit addendums as a result.
- Completing over 100,000 feet of directional drilling.
- Conducting more than 25,000 welds.
- Installing more than 24,000 pipe sections that were each 40 feet in length.
Globally, Air Products' hydrogen pipeline operational expertise is evidenced by the 40 year safe operation of its network of systems. Pipelines offer a safe, robust and reliable supply of hydrogen to the refinery and petrochemical industry around the world. In addition to the Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline system, Air Products also has hydrogen pipeline networks operating around the world in the U.S. in Southern California; in Canada in Sarnia, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta; and in The Netherlands in Rotterdam.
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