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Typical desiccants include activated alumina or a granular silica gel material. The process for removing hydrogen sulfide from sour gas is commonly referred to as ‘sweetening’ the gas. Natural gas can also be … These separators use pressure differentials to cool the wet natural gas and separate the oil and condensate. Should these hydrates accumulate, they can impede the passage of natural gas through valves and gathering systems. New in Gas Processing Technology-Adrienne Blume, October 01, 2020 The absorption method of NGL extraction is very similar to using absorption for dehydration. Glycol, the principal agent in this process, has a chemical affinity for water. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, though the global warming emissions from its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil. Since it is such a polluting and harmful substance, further filtering, incineration, and ‘tail gas’ clean up efforts ensure that well over 98 percent of the sulfur is recovered. The rich oil is fed into lean oil stills, where the mixture is heated to a temperature above the boiling point of the NGLs, but below that of the oil. Condensate and water removal [6]. While the ethane, propane, butane, and pentanes must be removed from natural gas, this does not mean that they are all ‘waste products’. There are two basic steps to the treatment of natural gas liquids in the natural gas stream. [7.] Sour gas can also be extremely corrosive. In this process, a liquid desiccant dehydrator serves to absorb water vapor from the gas stream. Natural gas hydrates are crystalline ice-like solids or semi-solids that can impede the passage of natural gas through valves and pipes. The gas then flows into this low-temperature separator through a choke mechanism, which expands the gas as it enters the separator. Processing plants remove valuable natural gas liquids from the treated gas. This treatment consists of ‘dehydrating’ the natural gas, which usually involves one of two processes: either absorption, or adsorption. The project was completed on a very fast track schedule (kick-off to commissioning took just over 4 months). ]A. J. Kidnay and W. R. Parrish, Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2006, p.16. That means that before the natural gas can be transported it must be purified. After liquid removal, the dry gas then travels back through the heat exchanger and is warmed by the incoming wet gas. The glycol solution, bearing all of the water stripped from the natural gas, is put through a specialized boiler designed to vaporize only the water out of the solution. Produced natural gas must be compressed for export and further processing on the main processing platform. This absorbing oil has an ‘affinity’ for NGLs in much the same manner as glycol has an affinity for water. Wellhead natural gas may also contain nonhydrocarbons such as sulfur, helium, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide, most of which … An important part of natural gas processing is the removal of sour components, such as H 2 S and CO 2 from natural gas. The heaters ensure that the temperature of the natural gas does not drop too low and form a hydrate with the water in the gas stream. The glycol solution will absorb water from the wet gas. The main difference is that, in NGL absorption, an absorbing oil is used as opposed to glycol. Vista completed the detailed engineering design and procurement of a grassroots gas processing facility handling 20 MMSCFD (566 103 Std. In addition to water, oil, and NGL removal, one of the most important parts of gas processing involves the removal of sulfur and carbon dioxide. The ‘rich’ absorption oil, now containing NGLs, exits the absorption tower through the bottom. The Pennsylvania State University © 2020. There are two principle amine solutions used, monoethanolamine (MEA) and diethanolamine (DEA). Use industry-leading technologies for CO₂ and H₂S removal Acid gas treatment and removal technologies separate sour gases—highly corrosive CO 2 and often deadly H 2 S acid gases—from saleable natural gas streams in a process known as gas sweetening. Natural Gas Processing and Treating. These NGLs are sold separately and have a variety of different uses; including enhancing oil recovery in oil wells, providing raw materials for oil refineries or petrochemical plants, and as sources of energy. The natural gas, having been stripped of most of its water content, is then transported out of the dehydrator. The scrubbers remove sand and other large-particle impurities. The first step in natural gas processing is to separate the raw natural gas from the water and condensate. In addition, raw natural gas contains water vapor, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen, and other compounds. According to the American Gas Association’s Gas Facts 2000, there was an estimated 36,100 miles of gathering system pipelines in the U.S. in 1999. In general, natural gas processing includes the following steps: In addition to these processes, it is often necessary to install scrubbers and heaters at or near the wellhead. Then, an expansion turbine is used to rapidly expand the chilled gases, which causes the temperature to drop significantly. In all, the Claus process is usually able to recover 97 percent of the sulfur that has been removed from the natural gas stream. Either of these compounds, in liquid form, will absorb sulfur compounds from natural gas as it passes through. Second, these natural gas liquids must be separated themselves, down to their base components. The extraction of NGLs from the natural gas stream produces both cleaner, purer natural gas, as well as the valuable hydrocarbons that are the NGLs themselves. In these cases, separation of oil and gas is relatively easy, and the two hydrocarbons are sent separate ways for further processing. Although the processing of natural gas is in many respects less complicated than the processing and refining of crude oil, it is equally as necessary before its use by end users. These plants are located on major pipeline systems. Most often, however, the gas contains unacceptable levels of higher-weight hydrocarbon liquids as well as impurities, and it is available only at very low pressures. Joule is an engineering, process equipment, services and process optimization company dedicated to finding new and better ways to meet the needs of midstream operators and natural gas processing … Before the oil has picked up any NGLs, it is termed ‘lean’ absorption oil. The type and extent of natural gas processing depend on the original gas composition and the specifications of the consumer. Natural gas is considered the dominant worldwide bridge between fossil fuels of today and future resources of tomorrow. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The last step in the processing sequence is the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) extraction, fractionation, and treatment, as described in Figure 12.4. Source: Duke Energy Gas Transmission Canada. Riazi, S. Eser, J. L. Peña Díez, and S. S. Agrawal, “Introduction” In Petroleum Refining and Natural Gas Processing, Editors: M. R. Riazi, S. Eser, J. L. Peña, S. S. Agrawal, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, p.12. The recovered H2S is sent to a combined Claus-SCOT (Tail Gas Treating) unit to be converted to elemental sulfur, as was also discussed in Lesson 10. Gas Processing Journal is devoted to aspects of production, processing and transmission of natural gas with scientific research certification from MSRT. The sour gas is run through a tower, which contains the amine solution. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, Natural Gas – From Wellhead to Burner Tip. An example of absorption dehydration is known as Glycol Dehydration. In the past, this methane was simply vented out of the boiler. Once NGLs have been removed from the natural gas stream, they must be broken down into their base components to be useful. By varying the pressure of the gas in various sections of the separator, it is possible to vary the temperature, which causes the oil and some water to be condensed out of the wet gas stream. There are two principle techniques for removing NGLs from the natural gas stream: the absorption method and the cryogenic expander process. Following the NGL extraction, the treated natural gas stream that is, now, mostly methane, or a gas compliant with the natural gas specifications is sent to the pipeline for transmission to the point of use. There are a number of different ways of chilling the gas to these temperatures, but one of the most effective is known as the turbo expander process. As well as absorbing water from the wet gas stream, the glycol solution occasionally carries with it small amounts of methane and other compounds found in the wet gas. NGLs include ethane, propane, butane, iso-butane, and natural gasoline. It is instrumental in ensuring that the natural gas intended for use is as clean and pure as possible, making it the clean burning and environmentally sound energy choice. These processes are dictated by the profitability metric referred to … This process allows for the recovery of around 75 percent of butanes, and 85 – 90 percent of pentanes and heavier molecules from the natural gas stream. Natural Gas Processing. The glycol solution then travels to the boiler, which may also be fitted with air or water cooled condensers, which serve to capture any remaining organic compounds that may remain in the glycol solution. As the wet gas passes around the particles of desiccant material, water is retained on the surface of these desiccant particles. While some of the needed processing can be accomplished at or near the wellhead (field processing), the complete processing of natural gas takes place at a processing plant, usually located in a natural gas producing region. NGL from highly sour gases may need additional treatment to remove mercaptans and other sulfur species before NGL leaves the processing plant. Second, the contaminants, which include hydrogen sulphide (H 2 S), carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), mercaptans, carbonyl sulphide (COS) and mercury, must be removed. In most instances, natural gas liquids (NGLs) have a higher value as separate products, and it is thus economical to remove them from the gas stream. Essentially, fractionation occurs in stages consisting of the boiling off of hydrocarbons one by one. The natural gas used by consumers is composed almost entirely of methane. Natural gas processing plants. Contact Us, Privacy & Legal Statements | Copyright Information Click here to learn about the transportation of natural gas. Natural gas that comes from oil wells is typically termed ‘associated gas’. Solid-desiccant dehydrators are typically more effective than glycol dehydrators, and are usually installed as a type of straddle system along natural gas pipelines. Natural gas processing consists of separating all of the various hydrocarbons and fluids from the pure natural gas, to produce what is known as ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas. Fractionation works based on the different boiling points of the different hydrocarbons in the NGL stream. Adsorption occurs when the water vapor is condensed and collected on the surface. In the refrigerated oil absorption method, where the lean oil is cooled through refrigeration, propane recovery can be upwards of 90 percent, and around 40 percent of ethane can be extracted from the natural gas stream. Sulfur can be sold and used if reduced to its elemental form. The most basic type of separator is known as a conventional separator. Natural gas from some wells contains significant amounts of sulfur and carbon dioxide. It consists of a simple closed tank, where the force of gravity serves to separate the heavier liquids like oil, and the lighter gases, like natural gas. The process used to recover sulfur is known as the Claus process, and involves using thermal and catalytic reactions to extract the elemental sulfur from the hydrogen sulfide solution. Essentially, glycol dehydration involves using a glycol solution, usually either diethylene glycol (DEG) or triethylene glycol (TEG), which is brought into contact with the wet gas stream in what is called the ‘contactor’. The removal of natural gas liquids usually takes place in a relatively centralized processing plant, and uses techniques similar to those used to dehydrate natural gas. Dropping the temperature of the gas stream to around -120°F by expansion and external refrigeration, Natural Gas Liquid Fractionation - works like Light Ends Unit, Deethanizer - separates ethane from the NGL stream. "This natural gas processing book would be an excellent addition to the reference collection of large academic libraries at universities with programs in oil and gas area. Essentially, cryogenic processes consist of dropping the temperature of the gas stream to around -120 degrees Fahrenheit. Natural gas processing consists of separating all of the various hydrocarbons and fluids from the pure natural gas, to produce what is known as ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas. The primary process for sweetening sour natural gas is quite similar to the processes of glycol dehydration and NGL absorption. LNG and natural gas processing plants Linde Engineering offers natural gas plants for a wide range of applications and capacities, helping to meeting the world rising demand for energy. [6. Absorption occurs when the water vapor is taken out by a dehydrating agent. The extracted natural gas is transported to these processing plants through a network of gathering pipelines, small-diameter, low pressure lines. In natural gas reservoirs even the heavier hydrocarbons occur for the most part in gaseous form because of the higher pressures. Our gas processing plants process upstream natural gas from offshore Peninsular Malaysia for consumption of customers in the power generation sector as well as various industries such as petrochemicals. This solution has an affinity for sulfur, and absorbs it much like glycol absorbing water. Most produced gas must be treated before the consumer can use it, and there were nearly 2,000 gas processing plants operating around the world as of mid-2006. This rapid expansion of the gas allows for the lowering of the temperature in the separator. In order to recover elemental sulfur from the gas processing plant, the sulfur containing discharge from a gas sweetening process must be further treated. Many of the innovations we have developed, like the use of plate-fin exchangers and packings in cryogenic columns, remain today as standard designs in the industry. This separation of natural gas from oil is most often done using equipment installed at or near the wellhead. A comparison of Images 12.2 and 12.3 illustrates the significance of natural gas processing for purification of the raw natural gas to obtain a pipeline quality gas. Thanks to the recent shale boom in North America, natural gas is … - Selection from Natural Gas Processing [Book] Some natural gas leaks into the atmosphere from oil and natural gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines, and processing plants. Whatever the source of the natural gas, once separated from crude oil (if present) it commonly exists in mixtures with other hydrocarbons; principally ethane, propane, butane, and pentanes. You may remember from Lesson 8 that iso-butane is a feedstock to alkylation to produce high-octane gasoline when reacted with C3 and C4 olefins. After removing the acid gases, the natural gas stream is sent to a dehydration unit to remove water typically by absorption in a glycol unit, followed by mercury removal (by adsorption on activated carbons or other sorbents), and nitrogen rejection either cryogenically, or by adsorption, or absorption depending on the nitrogen concentration. ‹ Natural Gas Composition and Specifications, Lesson 1: Introduction to Petroleum Refining and Crude Oil Composition, Lesson 2: Properties and Classification of Crude Oil, Lesson 7: Catalytic Conversion Processes Part 1, Lesson 8: Catalytic Conversion Processes Part 2, Lesson 11: Past and Future of Petroleum Refining, Natural Gas Composition and Specifications, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, iMPS in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Policy Program Office, BA in Energy and Sustainability Policy Program Office, 2217 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, NGL Recovery, Separation, Fractionation, and Treatment of Natural Gas Liquids. While absorption methods can extract almost all of the heavier NGLs, the lighter hydrocarbons, such as ethane, are often more difficult to recover from the natural gas stream. The site editor may also be contacted with questions or comments about this Open Educational Resource. Gas wells typically produce raw natural gas by itself, while condensate wells produce free natural gas along with a semi-liquid hydrocarbon condensate. Note that the fractionation unit may also include a butane splitter or deisobutanizer to separate n-butane and iso-butane. These types of dehydration systems are best suited for large volumes of gas under very high pressure, and are thus usually located on a pipeline downstream of a compressor station. Printed: 26 April 2004 - [Natural Gas Processing Principles and Technology - Part I.doc] University of Calgary Natural Gas Processing Principles and Technology - Part I April 2004 Author: Dr. A.H Younger, P.Eng Revised and Prepared by: Dr Harald F. Thimm & Jason Sullivan Thimm Engineering Inc. 214, 3916 64th Avenue SE Calgary, Alberta T2C 2B4 This boiling point differential makes it relatively easy to remove water from the glycol solution, allowing it be reused in the dehydration process. In this process, external refrigerants are used to cool the natural gas stream. To learn more about the environmental effects of sour gas treatment and flaring, click here. The name of a particular fractionator gives an idea as to its purpose, as it is conventionally named for the hydrocarbon that is boiled off. Major transportation pipelines usually impose restrictions on the make-up of the natural gas that is allowed into the pipeline. In addition to separating oil and some condensate from the wet gas stream, it is necessary to remove most of the associated water. In many instances, natural gas is dissolved in oil underground primarily due to the pressure that the formation is under. Wet gas enters the separator, being cooled slightly by a heat exchanger. The next logical step is NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) extraction and fractionation. M.R. Raw natural gas comes from three types of wells: oil wells, gas wells, and condensate wells. In addition, the sulfur that exists in the natural gas stream can be extracted and marketed on its own. Essentially, a flash tank separator consists of a device that reduces the pressure of the glycol solution stream, allowing the methane and other hydrocarbons to vaporize (‘flash’). The behavior of natural gas, whether pure methane or a mixture of volatile hydrocarbons and the nonhydrocarbons nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, must be understood by the engineer who is designing the operating equipment for its production, processing, and transportation. The heaters ensure that the temperature of the gas does not drop too low. The effluent gas is virtually free of sulfur compounds, and thus loses its sour gas status. Once removed, the CO 2 and H 2 S are usually vented in low concentrations, flared, and then reinjected or otherwise properly disposed of. Gas Processing . For information on the production of sulfur in the United States, visit the USGS here. According to the Gas Processors Association, these two processes account for around 90 percent of total natural gas liquids production. This stage is called Gas Treatment. In addition to the four processes above, heaters and scrubbers are installed, usually at or near the wellhead. Natural gas from gas and condensate wells, in which there is little or no crude oil, is termed ‘nonassociated gas’. Plants through a high pressure liquid ‘ knockout ’, which expands the gas suggestions on accessibility the... Is of crucial importance the addition of flash tank separator-condensers include activated alumina or a granular silica gel material a... 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