Exxon Mobil Corp. has awarded Sulzer’s Chemtech Division a license for the commercial application of cMIST, a technology developed by ExxonMobil to more efficiently remove water vapor from natural gas production.
cMIST reduces the size, weight and cost of dehydration, resulting in reductions of surface footprint by 70 percent and the overall dehydration systems’ weight by half, which has significant added benefits on offshore applications, ExxonMobil said in a Jan. 5 press statement. The technology uses a proprietary droplet generator to break up conventional solvent into tiny droplets that become well dispersed in the gas flow. This increases the surface area for the absorption of water from the gas.
“By leveraging our industry-leading experience with upstream applications, our researchers were able to create this advanced natural gas dehydration technology, which represents a stepchange in operational efficiency and a significant reduction in footprint,” Tom Schuessler, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, said in the release.
Natural gas is dehydrated prior to be placed into transmission pipelines. In operating facilities, cMIST could be used to replace conventional dehydration towers or as an option to add more capacity without needing to add another or a larger tower, Kimberly Clark, public & government affairs at ExxonMobil, told Rigzone. For new facilities, cMIST reduces the size and cost of facilities needed to perform the dehydration.
Conventional technology to dehydrate gas has involved using a large vessel, or tower, in which the natural gas flows up and a liquid solvent flows down. The natural gas velocity needs to be kept low for the conventional process to work so the tower must be large in diameter, Clark said. In the cMIST technology, the gas and solvent flow together in the same direction, so the gas velocity can be much higher. A tower is no longer required and the cMIST units are similar in diameter to piping as opposed to large pressure vessels.
“ExxonMobil developed the technology through extensive modelling and testing activities in the laboratory, pilot studies, and finally, field demonstration at one of our operating facilities,” Clark said.
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