Natural Gas Processing and Handling

Natural gas had a bullish year in 2016 as the average Henry Hub spot price jumped from USD 2.28/million Btu in January to USD 3.59/million Btu in December (+58%), “the largest percentage increase in price among energy commodities,” according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

According to the same source, the US market consumed 75.07 Bcf/D of gas in 2016, 0.6% more than 2015, while US consumer-grade natural-gas production was down 2.4% from 74.14 to 72.36 Bcf/D compared with 2015. Coupled with the electric-power (+4.2%) and industrial (+1.9%) sectors, this contributed to a noticeable rise in gas prices. Although the US is a net gas importer, 2016 officially marked the US as an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (by Cheniere Energy from zero in 2015 to 0.5 Bcf/D in 2016).

While gas transportation primarily by pipeline over land and LNG over water remain the most economically attractive means to transport large quantities of gas over long distances, cost-effectively monetizing stranded gas is still a challenge, especially in offshore environments.

A recent absorption-system development by ExxonMobil claims to improve the efficiency of removing water vapor from natural gas, in both on- and offshore environments, by shrinking the surface footprint by 70%, reducing the overall weight by half, and, ultimately, lowering the total cost. This technology should enable the development of some otherwise uneconomical fields.

To learn more, attend the SPE workshop Floating LNG—Weathering the Challenges, in Kuala Lumpur on 20–21 March, and the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, on 9–11 October in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

This Month's Technical Papers

Fiber-Optic Leak-Detection Project

A New Distillation Process for the Upgrading of Acid Gas

New Steel Plate for Liquefied-Natural-Gas Storage Tank

Recommended additional reading

SPE 181610 Planning for Uncertainties in Gas Composition: Reduce Project Risks by Early Adoption of a Robust Gas-Processing Concept by Pavan Chilukuri, Shell, et al.

SPE 183510 Flared-Gas Monetization With Modular Gas-to-Liquid Units: Oilfield Conversion of Associated Gas Into Petrol at Small Scales by Zhong He, Primus Green Energy, et al.

SPE 183403 New Economical Process To Monetize High-CO2 Natural Gas by Conrad Ayasse, Canada Chemical Corporation, et al.

Xiuli Wang, SPE, is a senior adviser with Baker Hughes. Previously, she was vice president and chief technology officer for XGas, focusing on natural-gas monetization. Wang also had 8 years of operational experience with BP, specializing in oil and natural-gas production, completion, and sand control. She holds a PhD degree in chemical engineering from the University of Houston, a BS degree from Dalian University of Technology, and an MS degree from Tsinghua University. Wang was the associate editor in chief of the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering during 2008–11 and currently serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. In 2007, she was named the United States Asian American Engineer of the Year by the Chinese Institute of Engineers—USA. Wang was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2013–14 and was named an SPE Distinguished Member in 2014.

Natural Gas Processing and Handling

Xiuli Wang, SPE, Senior Adviser, Baker Hughes

01 April 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 4

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