Handling NGL Headaches

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Handling NGL David Wint, Director of Pipeline Integrity, Audubon Field Solutions, USA, discusses how NGL issues build urgency for automated pigging in shale gas pipelines. I n recent years, producers have reaped the benefits of shale gas extraction. Yet, many still fail to fully capitalise on all that liquid-rich gas streams have to offer. In some ways, the industry values natural gas liquid (NGL) wealth tremendously. However, many natural gas pipeline operators consider natural gas to simply be a by-product of liquids production. With the price of gas where it currently is, and given the revenue available from NGLs, that view is understandable. However, despite their efforts, many pipeline operators fail to execute key steps that allow them to maximise NGL recovery from their lines. They often mismanage the inherent risks associated with liquids production from shale formations as well. NGLs can be particularly problematic in large diameter pipelines that gather gas from feeder lines and carry product to gas plants where liquids are removed. Because of their high volume, flow restrictions in these lines can have a significant impact on both profitability and safety. They also carry an increased threat of spills and emissions to the atmosphere. As shale gas extraction continues to mature and spread to other regions of the world, this problem will likely become more acute. he adaches

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