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TOGY talks to Kendra Lee, chairman of Merichem, about midstream opportunities as the global oil supply balances and how Merichem adjusts its products to meet market needs. Houston-based Merichem provides technology and chemical products for the oil and gas industry.
Merichem provides sulphur and other impurity-removal technologies for the oil and gas, mining, chemical and petrochemical sectors. The company holds several patents for hydrocarbon treating equipment and catalysts used in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. It is especially experienced in the reuse of caustics and treatment of by-products produced by refineries and petrochemical plants. In addition, Merichem is one of the leading suppliers of naphthenic acid and derivatives.
• On new opportunities: “The balancing of the oversupply of oil and gas within the global spectrum has allowed midstream companies to start ramping up production and really look at investing in that sector again.”
• On adapting old products to meet new market demands: “What we’ve been able to do with these technologies is adjust or tweak them in such a way that it allows the levels to reach current mandates from various governments. Customers can then continue to sell their petrol and meet environmental regulations.”
In addition to touching on these topics, Lee also discussed Merichem’s range of products. Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform TOGYiN, but you can find the full interview with Kendra Lee below.
What market opportunities do you see for the oil and gas industry in 2017?
One very exciting sector is midstream. The balancing of the oversupply of oil and gas within the global spectrum has allowed midstream companies to start ramping up production and really look at investing in that sector again. It will be really interesting as they balance the supply globally, because you really can’t look at it as a US market or a Middle Eastern market. The energy industry truly is a global market. A balancing of supply is what’s really exciting looking forward, and maybe we are reaching that point.
What technologies does Merichem manufacture?
Our technologies can be broken down into three categories: the first category would be our [registered] Fiber Film contacting suite of products. Thiolex falls into that category, along with some other named applications depending on which liquid stream you’re treating. Fiber Film is for a liquid-to-liquids contact to remove impurities. It’s a proprietary mass transfer application that we have designed. So that would be our first segment of products that we sell.
The next would be our Mericon suite of products. Those are for cleaning up spent caustic substances or other spent products within the refinery so that the refineries can take and send it directly to a wastewater treatment facility, rather than having it be some type of waste for their facility. The third would be our [registered] Lo-cat, and that’s focused on removing H2S [hydrogen sulphide] from gas streams. That is the large-scale picture of how our technologies break down.
Most of our technologies are pretty well developed. They’re not new. Lo-cat, for example, has been around for 37 years now. Fiber Film has also been around for 42 years. But we are constantly improving them. We look at them and either change how we design them, to make them run more efficiently, or we look at how they’re designed and what applications they can go into. Then we find where there’s a need for H2S removal or other sulphur species removal, and we see how we can apply this technology to that market and if there’s anything we need to do in respect to making changes to it.
How can technologies that have been around for decades be improved?
As we make improvements, it speeds up the time for sulphur removal so that, overall, the equipment runs more efficiently. Removing these impurities enables the customers to take their products to market. If they aren’t able to reduce the mercaptan level low enough, their diesel fuel, jet fuel or gasoline isn’t going to meet environmental regulations, and they’re not going to be able to sell it. What we’ve been able to do with these technologies is adjust or tweak them in such a way that it allows the levels to reach current mandates from various governments. Customers can then continue to sell their gasoline and meet environmental regulations.
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