Cryonorm Projects BV
As a company specialising in the application of cryogenic technologies to the processing of industrial and natural gas, Cryonorm Projects has extended its influence throughout the world by offering expert services to both major and minor projects.
Though a small company consisting of 50 employees it has a wide base of knowledge that enables it to offer everything from project design to the commission and installation of solution systems, aiming to offer clients a comprehensive cryogenic solution that stands out from its competitors.
Based in the Netherlands, the company operates in two major industrial sectors: firstly industrial gas, where the company specialises in oxygen and nitrogen plants, air separation plants, project management, construction and follow-up, commissioning and start up, and core back up systems; secondly, small-scale liquefaction of natural gas from pipelines wells and coal mines which is then supplied to liquefied natural gas (LNG) satellite plants, trailers, containers and storage tanks. Currently its major project is in Ecuador where it works with the country’s major gas provider, Petrocomercial, to deliver the turnkey installation of a 200 metric tons per day (MTD) liquefaction plant for natural gases.
Petrocomercial, responsible for 34 per cent of Ecuador’s fuel delivery at over 85,000 barrels per day, signed the contract with Cryonorm and its partner Indox Cryo-Energy in March of 2009. This has become Cryonorm’s central focus over the last 18 months, due in part to the economic environment making new projects more scarce, but is due to be complete in March 2011, at which point the company hopes to have secure new major contracts.
Managing director Hans Stuker discusses how, since the last time European Oil & Gas spoke with the company, the market has proved difficult for the business: “At the end of 2009 we were quite optimistic to get major new orders by the middle of 2010, but up until now we still don’t have any. I think the market is beginning to pick up again but nevertheless people are still very careful when placing big orders, so there has been a delay on our expectations but we remain optimistic.”
The difficulty of obtaining big new contracts has seen the company increasingly focus on its small-scale contracts, which see Cryonorm providing LNG for use in trucks and riverboats. An example of this type of project is the Netherlands’ first LNG truck refuelling station, which opened in August of this year. Designed, constructed and project managed by Cryonorm, a number of regulatory obstacles were generated because it was the first of its kind within the country.
Hans explains further: “The biggest problem is regulation and standards, because in the Netherlands there are none yet and the government’s approach is to say that if something is not regulated it is forbidden – this is the opposite of somewhere like Spain where if something is not regulated it is still allowed. That is something we have to contest with, so we’ve been in talks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ division for load transport to get a system of standards introduced.”
Besides truck refuelling stations, Cryonorm has discovered a source of new contracts in the LNG-fuelled riverboat sector. The company comments, however, that whilst these smaller projects do create revenue, they are unable to sustain it in the long-term; it is income made from the Petrocomercial contract that currently keeps Cryonorm afloat. This has put the company in an ambivalent situation in which it has too many staff for the amount of work currently being carried out, and yet is unwilling to lay off staff that will be necessary when a major contract is secured. To make use of this available manpower, the company has started investing into the research and development of its purchasing department.
Not everything is looking bleak for the company though. There has been a significant increase in the amount of quotation requests from the company over the last few months, suggesting widening interest in both the company and the LNG industry at large. Furthermore, the LNG market is becoming more prominent as an alternative source of energy to petrochemicals. As more attention is focused on the sector, and as the development of technology progresses, Cryonorm’s experience of the fuel will put it in an ideal position to capitalise on the growing enthusiasm.
Concluding, Hans remains cautiously optimistic about Cryonorm’s immediate future and resolute on the path that the company wants to take: “I don’t want to see us reduced to simply supplying LNG filling stations for trucks and ships, but at the moment this is our only option. It is nice to have but it doesn’t make sense for Cryonorm, we must have new projects. If we don’t have new projects by Spring 2011 then we may start experiencing problems, but there is six months to go and I remain positive.”
Cryonorm Projects BV
Services: Industrial and natural gas applications