The Controlled Freeze Zone Technology(TM) for the Development of Sour Gas Resources
- Jaime Valencia (Exxon Mobil Corporation) | Beverly K. Mentzer (Exxon Mobil Corporation) | Robert D. Denton (ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company) | Chuck Mart (ExxonMobil)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE International Production and Operations Conference & Exhibition, 14-16 May, Doha, Qatar
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.4 Gas Processing, 7.4.3 Market analysis /supply and demand forecasting/pricing, 5.8.3 Coal Seam Gas, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.6.2 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)
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Controlled Freeze Zone™ is an efficient single-step cryogenic distillation process for the removal of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and other impurities from natural gas. Rather than avoiding the freezing of CO2 at cryogenic temperatures, the solidification is allowed to take place, albeit in a very controlled fashion. The technology has shown the potential to more efficiently and cost-effectively separate carbon dioxide and other impurities from natural gas, and to discharge these contaminants as a high-pressure liquid stream ready for underground injection, either for enhanced oil recovery applications or for acid gas injection disposal.
Natural gas is the cleanest burning hydrocarbon fuel available and its growing demand is only projected to rise throughout this century. ExxonMobil anticipates global energy demand in 2040 will be 30% higher than in 2010, with rising global demand for electricity being the most significant factor on this trend as economies and living standards improve throughout the world. In turn the mix of fuels to produce electricity will shift from coal to lower-carbon sources such as natural gas that emit substantially less CO2 in the generation of electrical power. By 2040, as much as 30% of the world's electricity is estimated to be produced using natural gas. Its clean burning characteristics and overall abundance will see natural gas as the fastest- growing major fuel with demand projected to increase 60% from 2010 to 2040.
Such substantial increase in demand will similarly require a substantial increase in the development and production of natural gas resources, many of which, increasingly, contain significant amounts of CO2 and H2S. Once brought to the surface, along with the produced hydrocarbons, these contaminants must be properly managed. Returning them to the sub-surface for geosequestration or use in enhanced oil recovery is emerging as a preferred option in their management and disposal. The CFZ™ technology can help meet the goals of producing sour gas resources and reinjecting acid gas components at lower costs than other competing technologies available today.
Acid Gas Injection
When acid gas injection is called for in the processing of sour gas resources, the relative advantages of the various types of treatment processes shifts towards options that release the acid gases, removed from the natural gas, at a relatively high pressure, and especially as a liquid. Natural gas fractionation can be designed to recover the acid gases at high pressure and at least partially in some cases as a liquid. This minimizes the power required for compression or pumping for reinjection of the waste acid gases.
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