January 2008

Special Report: Gas Processing Developments

Predict hydrate formation conditions for light alkanes and sweet natural gases

Using this simple correlation can help the bottom line and improve hazardous conditions

Bahadori, A., Curtin University of Technology; Mokhatab, S., Consultant; Towler, B., University of Wyoming

An inherent problem with natural gas production or transmission is the formation of gas hydrates. These can lead to safety hazards in the production/transportation systems and to substantial economic risks. Therefore, an understanding of when hydrates form is necessary in order to overcome this problem. Combining water molecules and guest gas molecules under favorable conditions, usually at low temperatures and elevated pressures, can lead to hydrates formation. The most common guest molecules are methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), isobutane (Iso-C4), normal butane (n-C4), nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Of these, CH4 occurs more abundantly in natural hydrates. It

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