Natural Gas Liquids Recovery


Natural gas liquids recovery allows the processor to separate and purify heavier hydrocarbons from natural gas. Heavier hydrocarbons are more likely to condense into liquids under pressure in a pipeline, slowing the flow and increasing the wear on the piping. Extracted hydrocarbons, such as propane, butane, and naphtha, can be sold more profitably as separate products.

Natural gas processing equipment encompasses numerous unique processes.

* A subset of NGL, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) focuses on propane and butane. LPG plants are used for hydrocarbon dew point control, natural gas liquids recovery, LPG production, propane recovery and butane recovery.  Stabilized LPG is used worldwide for heating and transportation. LPG plant liquids are usually more valuable than the gas fractions from which they are produced. LPG plants produce acceptable heating values (HHV and LHV), which is important for downstream combustion stability.

* Dew point control plants also produce NGL and LPG but their main purpose is to eliminate hydrocarbon condensation in pipelines and downstream process units.

* Refrigerated gas plants recover a large fraction of propane and heavier gases.

* J-T plants are simpler in design and use high-pressure gas energy to liquefy heavier components by throttling. The Joule-Thomson effect is a physical principle that changes the gas entropy through pressure reduction and produces chilling.

* Turboexpanders recover a large fraction of ethane and heavier gases.

The Sep-Pro processes use either refrigeration, direct expansion J-T effect or turboexpanders. Debutanizers and depropanizers will be necessary to separate NGL and LPG into propane, butane and naphtha.  Sep-Pro dew point control will use the J-T effect or a refrigerated gas plant, or can use waste heat from engine exhaust to drive an ammonia absorption refrigeration gas plant. Natural gas processing plants consist of a cross heat exchanger, three phase separators, propane refrigeration, stabilizers, depropanizers, debutanizers, turboexpanders, glycol dehydration, etc.
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