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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

Presently, about 20% of all of the primary energy requirements of the world are

provided by natural gas (Ikoku, 1992). Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel which are

essentially, the remains of plants and animals and microorganisms that lived millions

and millions of years ago. It is an important factor for the development of countries

that have strong economy because it is a source of energy for household, industrial

and commercial use, as well as to generate electricity.

Natural gas, itself, might not be considered a very uninteresting gas - it is colorless,

tasteless, and odorless in pure form, but it is one of the cleanest, safest, and most

useful of all energy sources. Today, natural gas is one of the most important fuels in

our life and one of the principle sources of energy for many of our day-to-day needs

and activities.

Natural gas produced from either an oil or gas reservoir is a complex mixture with

different compounds of hydrocarbons (primarily methane and varying amounts of

ethane, propane, butane, and even higher molecular weight hydrocarbons), an

amount of water vapor, small amounts of nonhydrocarbon gases (hydrogen sulfide,

carbon dioxide, and mercaptans such as methanethiol and ethanethiol), and even,
neutral gases such as nitrogen and helium, etc (Xiuli and Machael, 2009). Geological

area, underground deposit type, depth, and location are common factors that

determine the composition of the gas. After exploration, drilling and production, the

gas is finally transported through pipelines. Pipeline operating companies usually

specify quality standards for the gas to be transported, and gas must meet this quality.

These quality standards vary from pipeline to pipeline and are usually a function of

a pipeline system’s design, its downstream interconnecting pipelines, and its

customer base (Xiuli and Machael, 2009). In general, these standards specify that

the natural gas (EIA, 2006):

 Be within a specific Btu content range (1,035 Btu per cubic feet, +/- 50 Btu)

 Be delivered at a specified hydrocarbon dew point temperature level (below

which any vaporized gas liquid in the mix will tend to condense at pipeline

pressure)

 Contain no more than trace amounts of elements such as hydrogen sulfide,

carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water vapor, and oxygen

 Be free of particulate solids and liquid water that could be detrimental to the

pipeline or its ancillary operating equipment.

For the above reasons, natural gas from wells must be processed and treated to

remove the impurities before it can be delivered to the pipeline. For example, water

content in natural gas must be controlled within pipeline specification to prevent


operational problems and pipeline deterioration. There are several methods of

removing water from natural gas, but the most commonly used method is by glycol

dehydration. Glycol dehydration is a liquid desiccant system for the removal of

water from natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL). It is the most economical

means of water removal from these streams. Glycols typically seen in industry

include triethylene glycol (TEG), diethylene glycol (DEG), ethylene glycol (MEG),

and tetraethylene glycol (TREG). TEG is the most commonly used glycol in industry

(GPSA Engineering Data Book, 2004).

1.2 Statement of Problem

The presence of water in natural gas generates a great number of problems. One of

such serious problems is the formation of solid hydrates at certain pressures and

temperatures, which can plug facilities and pipelines. Also, at low temperature and

pressure, the presence of water can result in slug flow with possible erosion and

corrosion in pipeline systems, especially when acid gases are present. Finally the

presence of water vapor in natural gas can increase the total volume of the gas and

decrease its heating value. Therefore, water in natural gas is undesirable and must

be removed before it is transported. This project will contribute toward the removal

of water from natural gas.


1.3 Objectives of Study

The main objective of the study is to check the performance of triethylene glycol in

the dehydration of natural gas using Aspen HYSYS simulator. Other specific

objectives include:

1) To model a typical TEG dehydration unit

2) To determine water dewpoint and hydrate formation condition for a gas.

1.4 Significance of Study

Natural gas dehydration operation is carried out to remove water in other to prevent

hydrate formation and corrosion. The latter consideration is especially important in

gas streams containing CO2 or H2S where the acid gas components will form an acid

with the condensed water (Ken and Maurice, 1999). Hydrates can block pipeline

flow and especially control systems leading to equipment or plant shutdown. The

faster a plant is up and running, the faster it generates revenue and improves the

return on investment (ROI). This project will contribute towards the analysis of the

performance of a TEG unit in assuring the productivity and efficiency of the plant.

It will also suggest several solutions which might be useful in the safe operation of

the TEG unit.


1.5 Scope of Study

The study will cover the simulation of the effective parameters of a natural gas

dehydration plant using Aspen HYSY.

Reference

Gas Processors Suppliers Association (GPSA), 2004. Engineering Data Book, 12th
Edition, Gas Processors Suppliers Association, Tulsa, Oklahoma, US

Ikoku, C. U. 1992. Natural Gas Production Engineering, Reprint Edition, Kreiger


Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, USA,

Ken A. and Maurice S. 1999. Surface Production Operations, 2 nd Edition, Gulf

Publishing Company, Houston, Texas, USA

US Energy Information Administration 2018: Monthly Energy Review, Retrieved


January 6, 2018, from the website:
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/mer.pdf

Xiuli W.X. and Michael J.E. 2009. Advanced Natural Gas Engineering, 1st Edition,
Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas, USA.