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DEHYDRATION

What you should get out of this course.


The purpose of dehydration Hydrate formation The composition of the gas Principles The different processes dehydration by glycol absorption dehydration by methanol absorption dehydration by adsorption Diagram and location in the process Operating a dehydration installation Problems encountered

The process dehydration

The purpose of dehydration Introduction


When the gas is at reservoir temperature and pressure, it is generally saturated with water.

Water is responsible for:


most types of corrosion when it is associated with acid gases (H2S and CO2) - or salts (calcium carbonates) hydrate formation

The gas therefore has to be processed to remove the water it contains.

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The purpose of dehydration Purpose:


Treat to obtain hydrocarbons which meet the specifications Optimise recovery of the hydrocarbons Discharge the non-marketable effluents Protect persons and installations Facilitate transport in the pipelines (corrosion) Prevent corrosion problems in the lift gas or injection gas systems. Prevent hydrate formation

The process dehydration

Hydrate formation

Definition: Crystal structures with a set geometry that require the presence of water and components present in hydrocarbons, for their formation.

Hydrates are a major problem in the production and transport of natural gas.

The process dehydration

Hydrate formation How do they form?


Presence of liquid water Example: liquid water released by the gas during a change in the
pressure or temperature conditions

Presence of light hydrocarbons


Only the first four hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, propane, butane) are likely to form hydrates in presence of liquid water (risk of hydrates in the presence of CO2 or dH2S)

Favourable conditions: temperature and pressure Hydrate formation conditions: pressure must be sufficiently high and
its temperature sufficiently low.

The process dehydration

Hydrate formation How do they form?


Certain factors contribute to hydrate formation
Vortices Gas velocity Bends, orifices, changes High pressure Self-amplifying effects Low temperature Each natural gas has its own specific hydrate formation range, which depends on: the density of the gas in relation to air (KATZ method) its composition and solid-vapour equilibrium factors at P and T for the most precise methods (CARSON and KATZ method).

The process dehydration

Hydrate formation How do they form?


The area where T < T1, is governed by the hydrate formation
curve.

The area where T > T1,


is governed by the dew point curve.

The process dehydration

Hydrate formation Why is it a problem?


Hydrate formation leads to:
blocking of the pipes and equipment production shutdown risks of overpressure in the installations.

water deposition due to condensation in the pipes or free water from the reservoir may cause large pressure drops with risks of:
"water hammer" effects due to the liquid slugs erosion

Water is responsible for most types of corrosion when it is associated with


acid gases (H2S and CO2) or salts (calcium carbonates).

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Hydrate formation Why is it a problem ?


If a pipe becomes blocked by hydrates, the hydrate block adheres so strongly to the pipe walls and is so hard that it cannot be removed by any normal mechanical means.

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The gas composition Commercial gas


H2S content: 1.5 to 4 ppm Total sulphur and contaminants: 50 to 150 mg/Sm3 CO2 content: 2 to 3% molar mass Water dew point: - 15C at 70 bar Hydrocarbon dew point: - 2C at 70 bar

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The gas composition examples of different natural gas compositions


Composition N2 H2O H2S CO2 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6+ (% volume)
1.50 1.00 15.30 9.30 68.00 3.00 0.90 0.50 0.20 0.30

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Principles
This solution consists of moving the hydrate formation curve outside the facility's operating range. To achieve this, several solutions are at our disposal.

Displacing the hydrate curve


inhibition by glycol or methanol. Case of uses considered: inhibition by non-recoverable methanol (without regeneration) inhibition by methanol, regenerated for re-use inhibiting with regenerated diethylene glycol

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Principles Displacing the operating range


Maintain pressure Increase temperature
reheaters upstream heat insulation for the short pipes short onshore gas gathering systems. heating upstream of the expansion nozzles (in certain cases). acid gases or gases with non-negligible CO2 content. offshore long distances. high heating power

Scope of application

Not recommended in the following cases


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Principles Displacing the operating range


Advantages
simple to install and implement. no water condensation no corrosion when there is H2S and/or CO2 present in the gas. low investment costs when no major heat insulation on the downstream line. moderate operating costs. safety problems if bare flame equipment is used on gas installations. footprint and weight not negligible (offshore). high costs when heat insulation is necessary need for a reliable fuel gas supply or another source of heat gas does not meet commercial standards with respect to water content.

Disadvantages

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Principles Displacement of the dew point curve


To avoid water condensation in the dehydrating units operating range by sufficient gas dehydration. Scope of application
long distance transport of gas at commercial specifications. offshore: large subsea lines carrying gas containing CO2 (corrosion) upstream of the cooler units. short gas gathering lines. short offshore inter-platform links.

Contre-indications

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Principles Displacement of the dew point curve


Advantages
no water condensation no corrosion when there is H2S and/or CO2 good reliability dew points obtained at commercial sales standards (-15 / -20C at 70 bar). relatively complex to install (investment) safety problems if bare flame glycol reboiler used. footprint not negligible (offshore) continuous monitoring preferable.

Disadvantages

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The different processes dehydration by glycol absorption

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The different processes dehydration by glycol absorption (cont'd)


Principle:
Absorption section The glycol absorbs water

- The gas circulates from bottom to top


the regenerated glycol is injected at the top of the absorber

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arie KOW:

The different processes


Vapeur d'eau

dehydration by glycol absorption (cont'd) Principle:


Regeneration section

Glycol humide Condenseur de tte

nte parmi urni

water-laden glycol is drawn off from the flash drum glycol flows down through the column exits the column towards the reboiler for regeneration the water vapour exits the distillation column in the reverse direction the concentrated glycol exits the reboiler via a weir

Still column Brleur Rebouilleur Filtre

- series of filters
Colonne de stripping

Stripping Gaz sec


Stockage

Fuel gas

Gaz de flash

Glycol sec

Gazoline Glycol

Pompe glycol Sparateur gazoline glycol

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The different processes dehydration by glycol absorption (cont'd)


Performances
most commonly used process dew point -15 to -20 C at 70 bars use of TEG preferred (Triethylene glycol) protection of treatment units by cooling protection of collection systems when there is no salt water ingress or when there are WKOs at the well head. protection on medium distance pipes. subsea wells when there is no salt water ingress. upstream of long-distance gas lines protection of downstream lines upstream of the turboexpander presence of CO2 --> corrosion

Scope of application

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The different processes dehydration by glycol absorption (cont'd)


Not recommended in the following cases :
long lines subject to corrosion, sea lines, long pipes with many low points (there is a danger of the glycol being unevenly distributed over the whole of the facility). production of salt water (contamination by salts from the DEG at regeneration).

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The different processes dehydration by methanol absorption


Inhibition by methanol (not recovered)
Scope of application: small installations

seasonal injection
small quantity of gas subsea wells short lines

stand-alone installation

- commissioning after testing Not recommended in the following cases: long lines

prohibitive quantity to be injected

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The different processes dehydration by methanol absorption (cont'd)


Inhibition by methanol (regenerated)
Scope of application: developments with subsea wells

- long distances Not recommended in the following cases:


lines which are impossible to repair prohibitive quantity to be injected

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The different processes dehydration by adsorption


property of certain solids (= desiccants) to fix certain molecules on their surface.

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The different processes dehydration by adsorption


The main desiccants are:
Alumina: Good activity but becomes deteriorated by absorbing the heavy hydrocarbons which are not eliminated by heating.
Silicagels: These are highly active amorphous substances, which are easy to regenerate and which adsorb the heavy hydrocarbons to a lesser degree. They are sensitive to liquid water. Molecular sieves: These consist of zeolite crystals

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The different processes dehydration by adsorption


Differences between the main desiccants:

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The different processes dehydration by adsorption (molecular sieve)

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The different processes Advantages and disadvantages of the various processes


Inhibition by glycol with regeneration
Advantages: low glycol consumption in simple regeneration (little vaporisation in the gas) ) no pollution problem (water eliminated during the vapour phase).

- safe storage (low volatility product). Disadvantages: presence of liquid in the transport facility (injection flow rate higher than that of the methanol) corrosion if H2S or CO2 present difficulties (or impossibility) to regenerate if salt water present gas does not meet the specifications
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The process dehydration

The different processes

Advantages and disadvantages of the different processes Inhibition by methanol (not recovered)
Advantages:

simple to install low investments small equipment size good reliability creation of a two-phase flow

Disadvantages:

corrosion if H2S or CO2 present


high operating costs methanol supply? storage (safety)

gas does not meet the commercial standards with respect to water content.
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The process dehydration

The different processes Advantages and disadvantages of the different processes


Inhibition by methanol with regeneration
Advantages: good reliability

- no water discharge Disadvantages:


presence of liquid in the lines corrosion if H2S / CO2 present

loss of methanol (50%)


complex to install gas does not meet specifications

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Representation and location in the process REPRESENTATION


PFD (Process Flow Diagram): this document, which is issued during the project phase, shows the main process lines and tanks and their main operating parameters

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Representation and location in the process Representation


P&ID (Piping & Instrumentation Diagram) This document, which is issued during the project phase, shows all the process lines and tanks and their main operating parameters in a much more complex format than the PFD.

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Representation and location in the process

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Representation and location in the process Location

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Representation and location in the process Location (Example: Girassol)

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Representation and location in the process Criticality


If the dehydration unit (TEG) shuts down, the methanol injection is automatically opened at the column outlet.
If methanol injection is impossible, the following must be stopped: gas-lift gas injection which generates a loss of production

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Operating an installation

Absorption section Parameters governing absorption


Concentration of the regenerated glycol The glycol's purity level depends on:

The bath temperature in the reboiler. The higher the temperature, the more water is released by the TEG. The limit is set at 204C because the TEG deteriorates above 215 C.

The operating pressure of the distillation column


Operating below atmospheric pressure generates higher concentrations at equivalent temperatures.

The use of a dry gas stripping column.

With the stripping column, a level of 99.9% can be reached (<98.7%).


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Operating an installation Absorption section


Parameters governing absorption Gas temperature in the absorber
The dew point at the top of the absorber depends on the temperature there. A reduction in the gas temperature at the inlet to the unit reduces the dew point at the outlet. Glycol circulation rate The minimum glycol circulation rate for a good glycol-gas contact is approximately 15 litres per kg of water to be removed from the gas. Average flow rate of 25 l/kg of water to be removed, for a conventional installation..

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Operating an installation Absorption section


Normal operation

Downgraded operation Dehydration column by passed MeOh pump operating

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Operating an installation Regeneration section


Regeneration makes use of the distillation principle by heating the glycol - water solution in a reboiler whose energy is normally supplied either by a fire tube, or by electric heating elements The temperature of the glycol bath in the reboiler must be maintained at 204C, for example, for the TEG.

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Operating an installation Recirculation system section


Pumps
Pumps are used to circulate the glycol through the regeneration system The solid particles are stopped by the filters, which prevents them being drawn into and deposited in the regeneration equipment by the glycol. The hydrocarbons present in the glycol are removed with an activated charcoal filter which prevents foaming problems, generally due to the presence of corrosion inhibitors, solid particles, etc. in the crude. A chemical injection unit is used to neutralise the pH of the glycol, which must be maintained at 6 -7 to prevent foaming.
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Filtration

pH neutralisation equipment

The process dehydration

Problems encountered Operating problems in the regeneration section


Glycol oxidation
The oxygen, which penetrates into the system through the atmospheric storage tanks and pump seals, can oxidise the glycol and form corrosive acids. The use of a gas atmosphere is recommended in the storage tanks

Thermal breakdown
An excessive temperature in the reboiler can break down the glycol and form corrosive products (the TEG decomposition temperature is 215C). Local overheating may be caused by salt or bitumen deposits on the fire tubes or heating tubes.

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Problems encountered Operating problems in the regeneration section


Controlling the pH
The acidity of the glycol is due to the two points mentioned above and to the presence of acid compounds in the gas to be treated (H2S, CO2) which increase the equipment corrosion rate. The glycol must be maintained at a level of pH = 7 - 8 by injecting a pH neutraliser

Deposits
Good filtration and activated charcoal treatment prevents the solid particles and bituminous hydrocarbons from being deposited.

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Problems encountered Operating problems in the regeneration section


Foaming
Foaming may increase the glycol losses and reduce the capacity of the equipment. he causes of foaming are related to the presence of the following in the glyco:
liquid hydrocarbons, corrosion inhibitors, salt,

fine particles in suspension.

Presence of condensates
The liquid hydrocarbons cause the glycol to foam. They can be eliminated in the flash drum and in the activated charcoal filters.

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Problems encountered Operating problems in the regeneration section


Salt contamination
The salt deposits increase the equipment corrosion rate, and reduce the heating tube heat transfers. This salt is transported by a fine water vapour mist, which can be trapped by demister at the separator.

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Problems encountered

Operating problems in the regeneration section Glycol losses


The glycol losses increase the operating costs of this type of unit. They can be caused by:

Vaporisation These losses can be limited by sufficiently cooling the gas upstream of the absorber.

Entrainment The high points in the column are generally equipped with internal systems (separator, demister, coalescer) designed to prevent the glycol being mechanically entrained through the system.

Mechanical leaks Mechanical leaks can be reduced by keeping the pumps, valves and other equipment on the lines correctly maintained

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