1. Can you tell us more about the experiences from your rich careers?
Gas & Liquid treating is one of the more interesting fields to work in as a process engineer, especially when working for such a large IOC as Shell. It enables working in technical services, major projects support, designs as well as R&D projects simultaneously for upstream as well as downstream, which can be challenging but can also be very rewarding. The characteristic that makes working with treating processes interesting is the relatively large chemical component, i.e., most processes cannot be understood properly without a thorough understanding of the “fundamental” chemistry involved. Applying detailed knowledge and general understanding to solve problems or develop specific solutions and being able to see that translated to actual steel structures is a strong motivational driver.
Applying and optimizing the (licensed) processes in a changing gas processing demand/environment with the installed equipment in a responsible, reliable and economical way is the challenge for operation, and is part of our experience – the interdependence with the processes involved: an amine process without sulphur conversion processes integrated when sulphur is present is no solution to a treating problem. Dealing with the interconnections and finding solutions for operational issues in a process envelope wider than 1 forms a basis for the optimum solutions and challenges.
2. What types of processes must natural gas go through before it can be used?
Natural gas as extracted from deposits needs to be purified and conditioned before it can be put into a national grid, be used as feedstock or converted to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). These conditioning and purification processes are physical and chemical processes or a combination thereof. When extracted from wells, generally one of the first steps is to remove excess water by a separator, as well as separation of the gas and liquid phase.
If the gas subsequently must be conditioned further for pipeline transport, water has to be removed to an even deeper extent by a glycol dryer. The composition of the gas, especially in terms of the amount of higher hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, sulphur species and mercury will determine whether and which other purification/conditioning processes are required. Bulk removal of CO2 and S-species will require an amine treating process and most probably a sulphur conversion (CLAUS/SCOT) unit.
Deep water removal (ppm level) will require the use of molecular sieve units. Although other processes will and are already required, as already sketched, the selection of these processes is predominantly determined by the well composition, the type of transport selected as well as its final destination.
3. How do you see the future of natural gas and the gas processing industry?
Our society is clearly moving in a direction where our future energy demands will be met by renewable energy sources, but this will take time. Simultaneously, the increased demand on the food industry on the Earth’s available surface is an issue that also must be solved. Due to its relatively lower CO2 footprint, we see the most important role of natural gas as a transition energy carrier towards such a future where renewable energy carriers will be available in sufficiently large amounts in viable economic conditions. Additionally, natural gas will remain an important feedstock for chemicals for which no other natural resource/process are available.
4. Could you tell us why to attend “The Gas & Liquid Treating” training?
The Gas & Liquid Treating training will focus on the most commonly used gas & liquid treating processes, namely amine, CLAUS/SCOT and adsorption processes (water, mercury removal) whereby the focus will be on a deeper understanding, the practical implementation as well as troubleshooting.
Besides the underlying fundamentals, it is the intent to link the processes and gain the context of the processes to each other. Experience shows there is a loss of efficiency and effectiveness when the involved processes are optimized as a closed box. Because of the clear convergence of the processes to the optimized formats, this next level of optimization beyond the individual processes in a larger application envelope becomes more important. The situation of optimizing one process and making the performance of the next process worse or unsolvable is encountered on a regular basis. In those cases, the integrated approach is missing.
Consequently, basic engineering knowledge of these processes as well as an understanding of basic unit operations is a prerequisite for attending this training.
Find out more from Ruud Herold and Jeanine Klinkenbijl at the