BMT flags Oz expansion

BMT Mercury Technology has flagged possible expansions at Karratha and Darwin to Energy News, having chosen Kwinana as the site of its first mercury treatment plant.
BMT flags Oz expansion BMT flags Oz expansion BMT flags Oz expansion BMT flags Oz expansion BMT flags Oz expansion

Inside a BMT mercury treatment plant.

The Netherlands-headquartered company opened its new office in Perth's CBD on Monday, led by Oceania general manager Karen Boyce.
The move was made after its global clients - Chevron Corporation, Inpex and Shell - recommended it to give them an option for mercury treatment in their multibillion dollar investments in Australia.
BMT is now in talks with local mid-tier engineering companies to appoint a construction for an $8 million construction contract at Kwinana.
A local heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialist will also be chosen for the important consideration of ensuring workers are comfortable, as the building's interior will be fully enclosed under vacuum so nothing escapes, and workers will wear heavily protective clothing in the event of a spill.
The plant will be completely locally run, once a BMT expert who has just spent four years at its Thailand plant helps start up the Kwinana one.
Boyce told Energy News that the company was looking to implement a few improvements to its proprietary plant technology in the construction phase which it can adapt to its Thailand and Netherlands facilities.
"We are looking at putting in a more sophisticated control system that boosts energy efficiency, which is really important," she said. 
"It's a batch process, and if we can reduce the amount of time that takes for each batch it will make it much more energy efficient."
BMT CEO Robert Jan Dubbeldam, who was in Perth for Monday's opening, also revealed to Energy News that expanding the technology across northern Australia where gas processing is concentrated was a logical longer-term step.
It helps that the design of the plant means it can be easily duplicated.
The challenge is extracting information from oilers about an issue they would sometimes rather not talk about publicly - mercury contamination. This has meant BMT has had to use conservative estimates for its plant capacity.
Yet it's part of life, and BMT claims it has no competitors in mercury treatment in Australia because so far oilers have sent their waste to Europe for treatment.  
Victoria-based CMA Ecocycle has been dealing with the oil and gas sector for some years now as Australasia's licenced mercury recycler.
BMT will treat the small amount of radiation in the waste in Kwinana then partner with a waste management company to dispose of it, likely overseas.
"We are still looking at Karratha because the originators of the mercury [oil companies] don't really like to talk about it, so the difficulty is always to extract their volume expectations," Dubbledam said.
"We know from our own experience what they will approximately be, but we don't know the exact figures so the plant we are building is on the lower range of what we expect, only based on what we figured Shell, Inpex, Chevron and Woodside will use, and to a certain extent Quadrant Energy.
"The market as we see now in theory is between 2000-3000 tonnes per annum, but we could build one in Karratha as well as in Darwin if the need is high.
"So far we are in Perth, and if you look at the short-term timeframe you might argue that Karratha might be a better location; but if you look at the longer-term you need to be at the nub of where infrastructure comes together, and in Western Australia that is Perth."