Shale gas refers to natural gas that is trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over the past decade, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has allowed access to large volumes of shale gas that were previously uneconomical to produce. The production of natural gas from shale formations has rejuvenated the natural gas industry in the United States.
In fact some would even say that the “U.S. oil and gas industry is in the midst of a renaissance”. This extreme growth obviously benefits the larger players in the industry, like the exploration and production companies but it has also given rise to a lesser known sector.
The Midstream Oil and Gas sector involves the gathering, processing, transportation and marketing of natural gas and natural gas liquids. For decades this sector operated in the shadow of the exploration and production companies but in the “past seven years, the shale boom has enabled the midstream sector to come into its own. So much so that it is now the third largest sector of the U.S. oil and gas industry”. This increase will require significant midstream infrastructure, largely driven by the volume of hydrocarbons that need to be processed and transported, which will in turn increase the need for further regulations & monitoring.
For example, one of our customers in the midstream sector, extracts raw natural gas from wells and sends it to an Amine System to remove acid gases, CO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This is accomplished by running the gas through a column with amine liquid flowing in the opposite direction, stripping the acids from the gas and absorbing them into the liquid. The natural gas is then sent for processing while the amine is sent to be regenerated. The regeneration process removes the acid gases from the amine solution, allowing the amine solution to be re-used. The acid gases are sent to an abatement system, such as a thermal or catalytic oxidizer, for destruction.
This is where a gas monitoring system plays a crucial role. Since this particular discharge stream consists mostly of CO2 with trace levels of combustible constituents such as methane, ethane and propane, all with high LFL concentrations, the company was going to need to protect their oxidizer.
They were going to need an analyzer that could detect the hydrocarbons in the CO2 discharge stream and if the LFL concentration exceeded an acceptable limit for the oxidizer, divert the discharge to either a flare or the atmosphere. They ended up choosing our NDIR Analyzer. They needed an analyzer that could provide a continuous, near real-time reading, was fast, highly reliable and operates in the absence of oxygen.
To find out more details about Amine Treater Waste Gas, Read the Case History.