Daily Archives: December 6, 2017

Siluria Technologies and Wood Launch Modus™, the First Process Technology to Convert Low Value Offgas into Refinery Products

New process technology enables petroleum refiners to convert offgas streams to high octane, low sulfur gasoline blendstock, resulting in enhanced profitability

SAN FRANCISCO and ABERDEEN, Scotland, Dec. 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Siluria Technologies, a leader in developing disruptive process technologies for the petrochemical and energy industries, and Wood (WG.L), a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets, announce the availability of the ModusTM process technology for petroleum refiners.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f391f93c-e417-4616-81b9-029299cc6eaf

Jointly developed by Siluria and Wood, Modus provides a proven and cost-efficient, one step process to upgrade low value refinery offgases, otherwise burned for heat, into high value fungible refinery products. Modus expands revenue sources and ultimately increases profitability.

The Modus process is based on a commercially proven catalyst system that converts light olefins, such as ethylene and propylene often contained in refinery offgas streams, to high-quality gasoline blendstock with a 90+ octane rating and ultra-low sulfur content.

“Many refinery offgas and fuel streams contain varying amounts of olefins, which require complex and costly solutions to recover.  As a result, these valuable streams are often burned for fuel or heat,” said Robert Trout, Siluria’s President and CEO. “Modus provides a simple, reliable alternative by upgrading these fuel-value streams to more valuable liquids that can be easily integrated into the refinery product slate.”

“Modus provides multiple benefits to refiners including greater operational flexibility and the potential for emissions reductions, without disruption to continuous operations of the refinery,” said Robin Watson, chief executive of Wood. “This technology creates and enhances value for our customers through a unique chemical conversion to provide a valuable product stream for the refinery.”

Modus can be readily integrated into existing refinery operations with minimal capital investment and operating impacts.  Based on standard modular design and construction, Modus can be rapidly deployed as a standalone upgrade during routine maintenance turnarounds or revamp projects.

Modus is now available to customers worldwide under standard industry licenses.  For more information contact Siluria at sales@siluriatech.com or Wood at press.office@woodplc.com

About Siluria:
Siluria Technologies is pioneering the commercial production of fuels and chemicals made from abundant natural gas and low value byproducts. Siluria’s proprietary technologies address the global petrochemical industry’s complex challenges of volatile commodity prices, shifting supply and demand patterns, stricter environmental regulations, and capitally intensive conventional technologies. Siluria’s revolutionary catalyst and process technologies uniquely combine nanomaterials, catalyst development, and chemical engineering, to convert natural gas into higher-value products through efficient processes that can be seamlessly integrated into existing industry infrastructure. For more information about Siluria, visit www.siluria.com.

About Wood:
Wood is a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets. We operate in more than 60 countries, employing around 55,000 people, with revenues of over $11 billion. We provide performance-driven solutions throughout the asset life-cycle, from concept to decommissioning across a broad range of industrial markets including the upstream, midstream and downstream oil & gas, chemicals, environment and infrastructure, power & process, clean energy, mining and general industrial sectors. We strive to be the best technical services company to work with, work for and invest in. www.woodplc.com

Media Contacts:

Siluria Technologies
Beverly Jernigan


FBI Agent: Saudi at Guantanamo Admitted Helping 9/11 Plot

A Saudi Arabian being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has admitted to helping with flights and finances for seven of the 19 men who hijacked planes in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., one of his interrogators testified at his trial.

Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, now facing a war crimes tribunal, spoke to interrogators over four days in January 2004 as they showed him evidence of his involvement in the terrorist attack.

“He indicated he was very happy to have been able to support the brothers who carried out the attack,” retired FBI Agent Abigail Perkins testified Wednesday, providing the most detailed account so far of evidence prosecutors intend to use in a case that has unfolded incrementally over nearly six years.

The agent described the conversation as cordial, professional and nonthreatening. But defense attorneys say the confessions were not voluntary, but rather the result of brutal treatment at the hands of the CIA between his capture in Pakistan in March 2003 and when he was taken to Guantanamo in September 2006.

Perkins testified that al-Hawsawi told her he considered the attack a legitimate retaliation for U.S. troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia. “He indicated that he was very happy to have been able to support the brothers who carried out the attack,” she recalled.

In all, 2,976 people were killed on 9/11 in the attacks using planes that crashed in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field. Five men are charged at Guantanamo as co-conspirators in the attack, and they could be executed if they are convicted.

Source: Voice of America

IOC bans Russia from Winter Games 2018

International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea for systematic doping.

The IOC announced the decision after examining whether there was an institutional conspiracy by Russian officials to corrupt the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Former sports minister of Russia and 2018 World Cup chief, Vitaly Mutko has also been banned for life.

Source: Radio Pakistan

NATO: Upgrading Afghan Army Base, Not Building New One

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan has denied reports that construction material and equipment being imported and transported through neighboring Pakistan are being used to establish a new army base in the conflict-hit country.

The English-language Pakistani newspaper DAWN reported Wednesday, citing official documents it claimed to have seen, that the imports are being used to construct a military facility by the name of Camp Shaheen.

Recently, a vessel loaded with a huge quantity of construction material and allied equipment arrived at Karachi port. As per its import general manifestation, the imports were made by the United States Army Corps of Engineers Services, the report said.

The imported material reportedly included a power generator of 22 megawatts, and a large quantity of cold- and hot-rolled steel sheets. Other equipment, such as plastic injection molding machines with standard accessories, also were supplied from different world ports.

Camp is used for training

But U.S. Army Captain Tom Gresback, the public affairs director at NATO mission headquarters in Kabul said, Camp Shaheen is not a new camp, and it has been used as an ANDSF (Afghan National Defense Security Forces) training facility for many years.

He told VOA the United States routinely works alongside local and international contractors who support sustainment and construction projects throughout Afghanistan.

In the case of Camp Shaheen, there is an ongoing plan to save costs and reduce pollution by moving the base away from generated power to a grid power system, the spokesman explained.

The United States and allied forces mostly rely on ground and air lines of communications through Pakistan for transporting supplies to about 13,000 foreign soldiers in landlocked Afghanistan. The numbers are expected to increase to more than 16,000 in the wake of pledges to implement a U.S. and NATO troop surge following President Donald Trump’s new Afghan strategy, which was announced in August.

Camp Shaheen is located in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif and serves as the headquarters for the Afghan army’s 209th Corps. In April, the facility was the scene of the deadliest attack the Taliban have conducted on an Afghan military base during the past 16 years.

Attacks on Camp Shaheen

At least 10 heavily armed insurgents, wearing uniforms and driving military vehicles, stormed Camp Shaheen, killing about 150 soldiers,although local media put the death toll at more than 250. At least 160 other soldiers were injured.

Two months later in June, seven American soldiers were shot and wounded by an Afghan commando during a training session at the same base.

Officially referred to as insider or so-called green-on-blue attacks have posed serious problems for the NATO-led coalition that is made up mostly of U.S. soldiers. Taliban infiltrators or sympathizers have carried out such attacks that have claimed dozens of lives of American army officers.

Source: Voice of America

Afghan Peace Body Offers Kabul Office for Taliban Talks

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN War-torn Afghanistan’s official peace-negotiating panel offered Wednesday for the first time to let the Taliban open a representative office in Kabul or in a country of its own choice, for initiating a peace dialogue. The Taliban promptly rejected the offer, however, saying their rivals are “American occupation” forces who have installed the Kabul regime.

The foreign presence in Afghanistan is the “real problem,” the insurgency’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told VOA. “We do not need to open an office in Kabul because more than half of Afghanistan is under our control and the entire Afghanistan is our office,” he said.

The Taliban has been unofficially running its so-called “Political Office” in Qatar since 2013. However, the Afghan government has refused to recognize the facility. Lately, President Ashraf Ghani has pushed authorities in the Gulf state to shut down the insurgent office in the face of intensified attacks by the Taliban across Afghanistan.

A senior member of the government-formed High Peace Council unveiled the new offer to reporters Wednesday in the Afghan capital. Mohammad Akram Khapalwak said they are ready to enter into the peace process without any preconditions and “through whatever mechanism” is proposed by the Taliban.

Khapalwak called on insurgent leaders residing “in Qatar, or in other countries, or in Pakistan” and facing difficult conditions in exile to respond positively to and come to the negotiating table for an “honorable” dialogue to end miseries the conflict is inflicting on Afghans.

“If they want to open an office, and in any other country, and require any facilities before starting peace talks, the Afghan government and the High Peace Council is ready to facilitate it,” Khapalwak said.

Territorial advances

The Taliban has made significant territorial advances since U.S.-led international combat forces left Afghanistan in 2014.

Commander of U.S. troops and NATO’s Resolute Support mission in the country, General John Nicholson, said last week the Afghan government controls about 64 percent of the population, the Taliban controls about 12 percent of the population, and the other 24 percent live in contested areas.

The U.S. military has intensified airstrikes against Taliban insurgents and other militant groups, including Islamic State, in support of Afghan ground forces since President Donald Trump unveiled his new war strategy three months ago.

The Taliban has long wanted to engage in direct peace talks with Washington, saying the U.S. administration and not the Afghan government is the authority on deciding the fate of the conflict. A U.S.-led military coalition invaded and ousted the Taliban from power in 2001 to punish the group for sheltering al-Qaida leaders blamed for plotting the 9/11 attacks on U.S. cities.

U.N. officials have warned that Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of the escalation in the Afghan armed conflict. The number of civilian casualties this year has risen to record levels.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistani Social Activist Goes Missing in Lahore

A Pakistani social media and peace activist is feared to have been abducted from the eastern city of Lahore.

Raza Khan, 40, is said to have gone missing after arranging an open discussion Saturday focusing on extremism and blasphemy in relation to the recent Islamabad sit-in by a radical Islamist group, according to his brother Hamid Nasir, who spoke with VOA’s Urdu service.

“Raza has been missing since Saturday from Lahore, and both of his cellphones are continuously switched off,” Nasir said. “We have filed a complaint with the police. The police are cooperating with us.”

During the Saturday discussion, Khan severely criticized the government for allowing thousands of hard-liners to gather, protest and shut down the capital for more than two weeks, according to local media reports.

The demonstrators, belonging to a radical religious group, demanded the resignation of Pakistan’s law minister after accusing him of committing blasphemy over an omitted reference in a parliamentary bill to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

The sit-in turned violent when security forces tried to disperse the protesters in Islamabad, which led to a series of demonstrations in other cities.

Eventually, the government surrendered to the religious group’s demands after Pakistan’s army helped the government and the protesters reach an agreement.

Despite raising his voice against extremist ideologies, minority rights and blasphemy laws in Pakistan, Khan also was a proponent of friendship between Pakistan and India, and he was an active member of a group called Aghaz-e-Dosti (Beginning of Friendship), which seeks to promote peace between the archrivals.

Nearly 1,500 cases

Khan’s disappearance comes at a time when, according to statistics submitted recently by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances to the Apex court, about 1,498 cases of enforced disappearances remain pending with the government.

Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist based in Lahore, condemned Khan’s abduction, and said it was evident who was behind such heinous acts in a country like Pakistan.

“When you are a progressive activist, and criticize the military and the government, you have to pay a price.The basic violations of human rights are committed by the government’s agencies in this country, who must have been behind Khan’s abduction,” Hasan told VOA.

“Until the courts charge somebody with harmful activities toward the state, how can you arrest or abduct someone like this?” Hasan asked. Such forced disappearances, he said, demonstrate “that there is no rule of law. I believe the mainstream political parties need to focus on the issue and come up with a solution.”

Civil rights activists in Pakistan fear Khan’s abduction is another effort to silence the growing dissent in the country. They noted the mysterious disappearance and reappearance earlier this year of a number of liberal social media activists.

The activists were blogging about political awareness and raised their voices against human rights violations, religious intolerance and extremism in Pakistan. They were blamed for committing blasphemy during the time they went missing, and they had to take refuge in foreign countries after being set free.

Two bloggers, Aasim Saeed and Waqas Goraya, later blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency for their forced disappearance and interrogation.

Pakistan’s armed forces have denied involvement in these disappearances.

Source: Voice of America