Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has chosen UOP’s Separex Flux(+) membrane elements to increase natural gas processing capacity at the Yates Gas Plant in western Texas.
The membrane elements will be used to remove contaminants such as acid gas and water from natural gas. These contaminants must be removed before natural gas can be transported by pipeline for commercial use. UOP’s Separex Flux(+) is said to be designed to help natural gas producers process more gas, resulting in higher revenue while reducing processing costs.
U.S. natural gas resources are estimated to be enough to provide 100 years of domestic supply, with approximately 30 percent of those resources located along the Gulf Coast, says UOP, a Honeywell company, citing the U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. natural gas production is expected to increase more than 40 percent over the next 30 years.
“The shift toward natural gas as one of the world’s top energy sources increases the need to continually improve gas processing technologies to enable processors to cost-effectively monetize natural gas resources,” said Rebecca Liebert, senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business unit.
Honeywell’s UOP Separex Flux(+) membrane elements were introduced this year as the company’s next-generation membrane product. In addition to increasing the amount of gas that reportedly can be processed, the membrane element is said to remove more carbon dioxide per unit membrane area than existing membrane products. This helps debottleneck downstream processing units, potentially lowering overall operating costs for gas producers.
Designed with a compact footprint, the company says the units can be installed on-shore or off-shore, require little to no utilities, and provide for very short start-up times and high turndown capabilities.
Separex membranes are inert solids, eliminating the need for solvents and thus serving as a spill-free, eco-friendly solution. To date, UOP has made 130 Separex installations worldwide. It recently rebranded its existing Separex cellulose acetate (CA) membrane elements under the new name Separex Flux.
Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business offers technology, equipment, and materials to treat and process natural gas, as well as to purify hydrogen used in refineries. Its gas technologies extract contaminants including water, mercury, sulfur, and carbon dioxide from raw natural gas. UOP also offers technologies to recover natural gas liquids (NGLs). The business has supplied technology to more than 3,600 individual process units for gas processing in a broad range of applications throughout the world, including Floating, Processing, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.
UOP has increased its offerings in natural gas in recent years. In 2012, the company purchased a majority stake in Thomas Russell Co., which offers key technologies and modular packaged plants that enable shale and conventional natural gas producers to remove contaminants from natural gas and recover high-value NGLs used for petrochemicals and fuels. Thomas Russell products are now part of the UOP Russell product line. UOP also has marketing alliances with Twister B.V. and Ortloff Engineers Ltd. for natural gas separation technology for recovering NGLs.
Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business also has expanded its global footprint, opening a gas processing design center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2008. In 2012, it opened a manufacturing and operations center to produce Separex membrane elements in Penang, Malaysia, to better serve growing natural gas markets in Southeast Asia and around the world.
UOP, headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., has been doing business with Kinder Morgan since 1997. It also supplies and licenses of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries.