NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) Pipeline Pumping Systems: An Overview

September 27, 2023 Welcome

natural gas pipeline pump

Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) comprise a unique subset of hydrocarbons that differ in behavior and processing from traditional natural gas. In this article, experts at IFS and DXP will give a comprehensive overview of NGL pipeline pumping systems and explain the importance of process controls and automation when safely transporting these liquids.

What are Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)?

Natural Gas Liquids comprise a complex mixture of hydrocarbon compounds predominantly extracted from raw natural gas streams. These hydrocarbon components include ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), butane (C4H10), isobutane (iC4H10), pentanes, and heavier molecules. During the natural gas processing phase, these liquids are isolated via a process known as fractionation, which separates the mixed stream based on the individual hydrocarbons’ distinct boiling points.

Serving as both primary energy sources and essential feedstock for the petrochemical sector, NGLs underpin numerous applications, ranging from residential heating fuel to the synthesis of plastics and chemicals. Consequently, they hold significant importance in maintaining and enhancing the operational intricacies of the global energy landscape.

The Role of NGL Pipeline Pumping Systems

Natural gas liquid pipeline pumps are vital components in the midstream sector of the oil and gas industry, facilitating the transport of NGLs from upstream extraction points to downstream processing facilities. These sophisticated systems optimize the hydraulic performance of the pipeline, ensuring consistent and precise pressure and flow parameters essential for the stable and safe transit of NGLs.

By preventing the accumulation of vapors and potential phase changes within the fluid stream, the pumping systems preserve the qualitative composition of the NGLs and mitigate risks associated with possible pressure surges or inconsistencies.

The transportation of NGLs requires specialized pumping systems due to the unique properties of these liquids since they are a mixture of hydrocarbon liquids, such as propane, ethane, butane, and natural gasoline, which require different handling than natural gas. Therefore, pipeline pumps are designed to handle the specific characteristics of these liquids, accounting for factors such as their different boiling points and vapor pressures.

natural gas pipeline pump

Moreover, NGL pipeline pumping systems enable the transportation of NGL products across vast distances, making it possible to meet the demand for these valuable resources. Without these pumping systems, their efficient and cost-effective transportation would be challenging, affecting industries that rely on these products. Thus, NGL pipeline pumping systems are crucial in ensuring the availability and accessibility of NGLs for various applications.

Components of NGL Pipeline Pumping Systems

NGL pipeline pumping systems consist of several key components to ensure the efficient and safe transportation of natural gas liquids. Key components include centrifugal API-610 pumps, variable frequency drives (VFD), mechanical seal system, and pressure relief valves. Pumps are responsible for increasing the pressure and maintaining the flow of NGLs through the pipeline. VFDs are used to optimize the pump speed to the required operating conditions, ensuring the most efficient operation. Mechanical Seals and the proper auxiliary seal system, according to API 682 standards, create a safe barrier for the light NGLs, preventing leakage to the atmosphere.

Pressure relief valves are another essential component of NGL pipeline pumping systems. These valves release excess pressure to prevent damage to the pipeline. Additionally, control systems monitor and regulate the operation of the pumping system, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

Integrating these components within the NGL pipeline pumping systems ensures the smooth and efficient transportation of natural gas liquids across different stages of the pipeline system. By maintaining proper pressure, temperature, and purity, these components contribute to the overall reliability and effectiveness of the pipeline system.

NGL Pipeline Pumping – Process Controls & Automation

Process controls and automation are crucial in optimizing the efficiency and safety of NGL pipeline pumping systems. By implementing automated monitoring systems, abnormalities can be quickly detected, triggering alarms for prompt action. Control valves regulate the flow and pressure of NGLs within the pipeline, ensuring smooth operation. Additionally, SCADA systems provide real-time data and control capabilities for remote operation and monitoring, enhancing efficiency and enabling faster response times.

One of the key advantages of process controls and automation is minimizing the likelihood of human error, which can significantly affect a pipeline system. Automating various processes (such as pressure and flow regulation) reduces the risk of errors, enhancing overall system performance. This improves operational efficiency and enhances the safety of the entire pipeline network.

Discover NGL Pumping Solutions from IFS/DXP

IFS/DXP stands as a foremost authority in the energy sector, specializing in comprehensive pumping solutions, such as the PumpWorks PWM BB3 Pump. With rich expertise in design, precision installation, and dedicated maintenance of NGL pumping systems, we are committed to upholding the highest standards in the industry. When clients choose our state-of-the-art NGL solutions, they’re investing in cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency, and the guaranteed reliability essential for the seamless transportation of natural gas liquids.

Contact our experts to learn more.


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