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UOP welcomes gas processing retrofit unit

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Honeywell’s UOP Russell business has introduced a new high recovery retrofit unit to upgrade its existing cryogenic units and extract more than 99% of high-value ethane from natural gas. The retrofit technology will go into commercial service early this year.

The high recovery retrofit unit uses an advanced cycle process to extract high-value ethane from residue gas and can be easily deployed on any 200 million ft3/d technology gas plant. Ethane is used almost exclusively as a petrochemical feedstock to produce ethylene, which is a primary component of plastics.

“Many gas processing plants today use the gas subcooled process – or GSP – to recover about 85% of the ethane in the gas stream,” said Craig Ranta, business director of UOP Russell. “The new high-recovery retrofit unit can improve that recovery to more than 99%.”

The retrofit solution is designed to upgrade GSP-type cryogenic units, allowing gas processors to provide more value for gas producers. It also will help them prepare for the predicted surge in ethane demand resulting from new ethane crackers in the US, and continued export growth.

The unit incorporates high-performance retrofit technology from Ortloff Engineers, Ltd. With the support of this technology, UOP Russell offers its GSP retrofit customers guaranteed ultra-high NGL and LPG recoveries.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US production of ethane is forecast to increase from an average of 1.25 million bpd in 2016 to 1.7 million bpd in 2018. The EIA predicts that increased ethane production will be consumed in the petrochemical industry domestically, in addition to exports to other countries, particularly in Europe and Asia.

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