Saudi Aramco researchers have come up with a way to sweeten sub-quality sour gas reserves through a new application of membrane technology now being tested at Shedgum Gas Plant (SGP).
Membranes can filter impurities out of substances, and the project at Shedgum is examining the feasibility of nitrogen and acid-gas rejection. With domestic demand for natural gas increasing, this technology could create usable fuel for power generation out of a formerly less-favorable resource.
The technology was developed by the Natural Gas Upgrading and Storage Team of the Research and Development Center (R&DC).
Inauguration of the gas-separation membrane pilot plant was witnessed recently by senior vice president of Engineering and Project Management Salim S. Al-Aydh, senior vice president of Upstream Amin H. Nasser, and the Engineering Services and Gas Operations leadership team.
“We have to look at competitive ways such as membrane technology to produce undeveloped gas fields at competitive cost to meet domestic energy needs,” said Al-Aydh.
“We need to explore and find different options including membrane solutions to monetize undeveloped, low-quality gas cost competitively and keep the connectivity to markets through our Master Gas System,” said Nasser.
Sponsored by Gas Operations, the initiative covers all aspects of installing a membrane-system test unit in the field and testing it for gas quality improvement.
During the next 18 months, the project team will obtain performance information for membrane-based skids for nitrogen rejection, acid-gas rejection and NGL recovery.
“These will add to the bottom line of operations in company gas plants as well as add to the company’s intellectual property,” said Faisal M. Al-Faqeer, director of the center’s Downstream and Strategic Program.
Next-generation membranes are being developed worldwide to save money and make low-quality gas fields more profitable.
While developing and testing, R&DC is collaborating with leading research organizations to transfer knowledge that will lead to greater intellectual capital for the company in gas-upgrading technologies.