Case Study: Foaming During Startup of Karan Nonassociated Gas
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 93 - 94
- 2014. International Petroleum Technology Conference
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 111 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 17175, "Khursaniyah Gas-Plant Experience With Foaming During Startup of Karan Nonassociated Gas," by Mohammed Hussain Al-Qahtani, Saudi Aramco, and Paul Garland, INEOS, prepared for the 2013 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Beijing, 26-28 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2013 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
All amines are subject to foaming in industrial applications given certain conditions and circumstances. Methyl diethanolamine (MDEA) is like other types of amine that can experience major foaming upset, especially in high-pressure sweetening units. However, MDEA is one of the most popular solvents for gas treating, with several advantages over other amines, particularly its ability to remove hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and slip carbon dioxide (CO2) from sour gas. This paper describes Saudi Aramco’s efforts to eliminate early foaming incidents during the commissioning stage of the Karan nonassociated (NA) sour-gas field.
The Karan field was discovered by Saudi Aramco in 2006. This newly developed offshore field is located 120 km northwest of Jubail Industrial City in eastern Saudi Arabia. Produced sour gas is coblended at a tie-in offshore platform through five 20-in. subsea flowlines. From the tie-in offshore platform, the gas is sent through a 38-in. subsea pipeline to the onshore gas-treatment facilities at the Khursaniyah Gas Plant. Karan facilities consist of three gas-treatment-processing trains, each designed to process 620 MMscf/D of NA sour gas, producing sales gas and acid gas.
Karan NA sour gas is a CO2-rich stream. Formulated MDEA was selected for sweetening in Karan gas-treating facilities to enhance the H2S / CO2 ratio in acid gas and to meet the required sales-gas specification before sending the gas to the Saudi Master Gas System.
The Problem of Foaming
Karan’s three gas-treating trains have a total rated capacity of 1.86 Bcf/D of sour feed gas. Each train consists of an MDEA-based acid-gas-removal (AGR) unit, a triethylene-glycol (TEG) dehydration unit, and an acid-removal (AGE) unit (Fig. 1). In addition, propane is used for process-stream cooling at various points throughout the process, where temperatures of less than 140°F are required. A dedicated propane-compression system runs continuously to cool each process train.
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