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Natural Gas Processing

Natural Gas Processing

Do you know the worldwide consumption of natural gas is expected to increase to 203 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) in 2040? This form of energy is not only used in industrial applications but also at home for cooling, heating, and cooking.

Natural gas is found deep under earth’s crust, and after extraction, it undergoes intricate industrial processes to convert into a clean and pure form of natural gas. To get this pure form, we need to remove the impurities and other non-methane hydrocarbons to get clean natural gas which easily flows through pipelines.

The first step of processing natural gas starts right at the source well. Please note that all natural gas is not alike and they differ a lot from each other depending on the depth, type, and location of raw deposits. The geology of the area also plays an important role in determining the composition of the raw natural gas. Some source wells may contain both oil and natural gas inside the same reservoir.

The raw form of natural gas that is extracted from wells is also often known as the associated-dissolved. This means the raw gas is either associated or dissolved with crude oil. The production of natural gas which is not dissolved with crude oil is referred to as ‘non-associated.’ In 2009, about 89% of the wellhead natural gas production in the United States was non-associated in nature.

What is the process of natural gas filtration?

The filtration of natural gas takes place in complex processing plants, wherein the raw form of gas is passed through various stages of filtration, including but not limited to natural gas separators, to remove contaminants like carbon dioxide (CO2), water and hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

Not all contaminants in the natural gas are waste. Some of them are useful substances that have good economic value. They are further processed to make them usable.

After the completion of all stages of natural gas filtration in a fully operational plant, the resulting gas is clean pipeline quality. It is delivered to households and industries through a network of pipelines for the various domestic and commercial applications.

Different types of raw natural gas wells

Raw natural gas is primarily extracted from three main types of wells, and they are – gas wells, crude oil wells, and condensate wells. The contaminated form of gas that is extracted from the wells is often known as associated gas. It may either exist above the crude oil or be in a dissolved state.

The natural gas which comes from condensate wells (means there is little to no amount of crude oil) is known as non-associated gas. While you only get raw natural gas from typical source wells, the condensate wells give us natural gas along with hydrocarbons.

When natural gas is free from hydrogen sulfide, it is called sweet gas, and when it contains hydrogen sulfide, it is known as sour gas. When natural gas or any other types of the gaseous mixture contains significant amounts of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide or similar acidic gases, it is known as acid gas.

The raw form of natural gas also comes from methane deposits found on the coal seams, and this type of gas is known as coal bed methane gas.

Uses of natural gas after processing

Natural gas filters help in separating the contaminants such as methane (CH4), gaseous hydrocarbons, acid gases, helium, mercury, water vapor, dissolved oil and so on.  The filtration process removes these contaminants and converts it into a usable source of energy that flows through the pipeline and reaches households and industries. The purified form of natural gas is used as fuel for cooking, heating and cooking purposes. It is also used in a wide variety of industrial applications.

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