Why Staged Gas Pressure Drop is Critical to Producers


gas pressure drop, gas staging, natural gas production, vrt, gpu, vapor recovery

In natural gas production, managing the gas pressure drop is critical. If mishandled, these drops can jam up your system and cause downtime. One of the problems pressure drops cause is freezing pipes and valves due to the Joule-Thomson effect.

Another risk when the pressure drops is loss of valuable condensate.

How Oil Condensate is Lost

If you dump your oil emulsion quickly from a high pressure to low—say, 500 PSI down to 60 PSI—it can “flash,” meaning the rich, light, high-gravity oil condensate in your production vaporizes, and you lose that resource forever.

The pressure on your operation’s production vessels is what keeps this oil condensate in liquid form.

This is why producers drop gas pressure in “stages.”

Staging Your Gas Pressure Drop

Staging is the process of dumping your fluid in stages rather than all at once. If you dump your production fluid progressively in stages, more of the oil condensate will remain in liquid form and not be lost to atmosphere.

This is usually a concern in gas producing wells. These operations are usually labeled as “natural gas production”—meaning gas is the largest resource the producer is recovering by volume.

However, these wells still produce oil, sometimes called “white oil” because of its light color, and it can create significant revenue for these producers.

Many producers use a gas production unit on their natural gas wells. In this set up, the oil is dumped out of the bottom of the separator side of the unit and sent to downstream to a tank battery.

The dry gas, meanwhile, flows out of the top of the vessel. Some is used to power the instrumentation on the GPU, and the rest is sent downstream to a sales line.

Staging vs. Compression

Note that this is the opposite of the process of compression. The purpose of a gas compressor is to re-pressurize natural gas to push it downstream.

By the time gas reaches a compressor, producers want the condensate to be “knocked out” so it is not lost.

To speak with an expert about how to maximize your oil condensate recovery, contact your local Kimray store or authorized distributor.

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