ExxonMobil unveils new gas dehydration technology

Martin Menachery , January 5th, 2017

Replacing the need for conventional dehydration tower technology, ExxonMobil announced the development of cMIST technology, which dehydrates natural gas using a patented absorption system inside pipes.

This ‘in-line’ technology could be applied at both land-based and offshore natural gas production operations.

Developed and extensively field-tested by ExxonMobil, the technology removes water vapour present during the production of natural gas more efficiently. Removing water vapour through the use of dehydration technology, typically accomplished using large and expensive dehydration towers, reduces corrosion and equipment interference. This helps to ensure the safe and efficient transport of natural gas through the supply infrastructure and ultimately to consumers.

The new technology reduces the size, weight and cost of dehydration, resulting in reductions of surface footprint by 70 percent and the overall dehydration system’s weight by half, thereby offering significant added benefits on offshore applications.

“By leveraging our industry-leading experience with upstream applications, our researchers were able to create this advanced natural gas dehydration technology, which represents a step-change in operational efficiency and a significant reduction in footprint,” said Tom Schuessler, president, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company.

The cMIST technology from ExxonMobil relies on a proprietary droplet generator to break up conventional solvent into tiny droplets, which become well dispersed in the gas flow, thereby increasing the surface area for the absorption of water from the gas. This process is followed by an inline separator which coalesces the water-rich glycol droplets and moves them to the outside wall of the pipe for effective separation from the dehydrated natural gas. The water-rich glycol is regenerated using a conventional system. It is sent back to the droplet generator to be used again. Energy from the flowing natural gas is used by the droplet generator to create droplets of the right size.

In order to facilitate deployment across the oil and gas industry, ExxonMobil has licensed the cMIST technology to the Chemtech division of Sulzer.

“We are proud to have been selected as worldwide exclusive licensee of the cMIST technology, which includes our patented compact HiPer inline separator,” said Torsten Wintergerste, president, Chemtech division, Sulzer. “We look forward to servicing the oil and gas industry with this unique technology, allowing for much needed reductions in capital expenditures for both greenfield projects and existing facilities seeking brownfield debottlenecking opportunities. The cMIST technology complements the Sulzer line of compact multi-phase separation technologies and will maximise benefits available to oil and gas operating companies around the world.”

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