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Black & Veatch passes performance acceptance

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Black & Veatch has announced the first facility licensing its proprietary PRICO-NGL® gas processing technology successfully passed performance acceptance. Located in Alberta, Canada, the facility is using PRICO-NGL to extract valuable natural gas liquids (NGL) from the byproduct gas of oilsands bitumen as it is processed into synthetic crude oil.

Bitumen offgas is typically rich in high value NGLs and petrochemicals. These include ethylene, ethane, propylene, propane, butane, and pentanes that are commonly used in plastics, home cooking fuels, and polystyrene foam. In normal operations, these valuable resources are commonly burned along with gas as fuel to support oilsands production. Recovery of the NGLs not only yields increased revenue, but also reduces the overall emissions from the facility as clean burning natural gas is used in lieu of other fuels.

“Compared to conventional gas processing technologies, the Black & Veatch PRICO-NGL process yields significantly higher product recovery while requiring less energy,” said Kevin Currence, Black & Veatch’s technology manager for gas processing. “PRICO-NGL uses an efficient, mixed refrigerant system to maximise product revenue and deliver the lowest capital and operating costs.”

Processing offgas is more challenging than natural gas extracted from conventional wells or shale formations. This is due to its high concentrations of hydrogen and the presence of a wide range of other components that are not usually found in natural gas. In addition, the composition and flow rate of the gas stream tend to be highly variable. Using Black & Veatch’s robust and flexible PRICO-NGL technology provides the added benefit of maintaining high product recovery levels during the frequent turndown events common in offgas processing.

“Black & Veatch’s PRICO-NGL technology was designed to work across a broad range of operating environments and feed stocks,” said John George, Managing Director of Americas for Black & Veatch’s Oil & Gas business. “It offers a proven blend of flexibility and performance that will enable the region’s gas processors to accrue real economic benefits.”

Alberta ranks third in terms of proven global crude oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela with proven oilsands reserves of 166 billion barrels, according to the provincial government.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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