Exhibition & Conference

13-16 September 2021

Singapore EXPO, Singapore

Technical Programme

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Grant McCool

Senior Systems Engineer

Linde Engineering North America


17:00 - 17:30

Thursday, 19 September 2019

T3.10 A Novel Direction for NGL Plant Design

Theme:  Technical - Midstream, Gas Processing Technology

A Novel Direction for NGL Plant Design

Grant McCool, Senior Systems Engineer, and Thomas Walter, Head of Equipment, Process Design & Computational Mechanics
Linde Engineering North America, Houston, Texas, USA

With the continued commoditization of NGL plants, the midstream industry demands accelerated delivery times, while expecting high recovery performance and operational flexibility. To meet these demands, Linde has developed a simpler, more efficient NGL Plant design that moves away from the traditional closed loop propane refrigeration system and replaces it with an integrated open loop refrigeration system. 

Over the past 40 years, closed loop propane refrigeration cycles have remained the dominant form of mechanical refrigeration in the midstream industry.  Replacing the traditional propane refrigeration system with a more efficient open loop design significantly decreases overall plant footprint, horsepower requirements, equipment count, and construction schedule while maintaining high recovery performance, operational flexibility, and increasing modularization.

This fresh take on the NGL Plant refrigeration system requires a quarter of the equipment necessary in the standard propane cycle and utilizes equipment that is easily modularized. Open loop refrigeration also employs higher-efficiency equipment and a process stream as the refrigerant – thus, the required horsepower to achieve an equivalent recovery level is decreased by 5-20% over the current existing technology.

Another key benefit of open loop NGL plant design is operational flexibility, with nearly 0-100% refrigerant load turndown. Owner/operators may choose either high separation performance in either ethane and propane recovery modes or higher plant throughput with the same plant design. This improvement over existing plant designs provides operators with the flexibility to react quickly when commercial drivers change.

At a time when faster installation is paramount, this innovative NGL plant design will decrease operating expenses, help owner/operators get online quicker, and allow more flexibility in meeting contract expectations and plant capacity demands.