Nitrogen Rejection with Integrated High NGL Extraction

Estimates place as much as 25% of the natural gas in the United States out of specification with regard to nitrogen content. Typically, a processor can expect the pipelines to require less than 3.0 mole percent nitrogen in their natural gas stream. With a decline in conventional natural gas sources and with a recent increase in political desire to better utilize clean burning natural gas, there is a need for these unconventional sources of natural gas. For the United States to also become energy independent, natural gas will have to take a larger role in our daily lives in the future. There is no doubt that shale gas is propping up the decline curve with respect to conventional gas, but low-BTU gas is another economically viable option. With the recent increase in oil prices, there is now a greater opportunity for nitrogen rejection with integrated NGL extraction, and specifically high NGL recovery. The increase in spread value for the liquid constituents of high nitrogen natural gas streams increases the net revenue for the producers thus making the high nitrogen projects more attractive for producer investment. In the future it may also become a requirement for these type facilities should they produce a motor fuel grade product. Even today, there are requirements for motor fuel grade LNG to contain no less than 95% methane, thus making high NGL extraction mandatory for motor fuel grade LNG.

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