What Does Natural Gas Processing Mean?
Natural gas processing is a purification method used on raw natural gas after it is extracted from a well. Methane is the gas found in natural gas, and natural gas processing is used to remove other gases and impurities. Natural gas processing can occur either before pipeline transportation or afterwards.
Corrosionpedia Explains Natural Gas Processing
Processing is necessary to purify the extracted natural gas. The final product of the natural gas that is commonly used in residential and industrial applications is almost wholly comprised of methane. The natural gas as it was recovered at the extraction point contains oils, sulfur, carbon dioxide, water and natural gas liquids.
The first step of natural gas processing is to remove the biggest impurities by fuel scrubbing. Then the oil, gas and water are separated from one another. The gas in this state can still have sulfur in it, and is called sour gas. Sending the natural gas through a pipeline in this state is undesirable because corrosion can occur due to the sulfur. Therefore, the next step is to remove the sulfur and carbon dioxide from the natural gas.
One of the final steps of natural gas processing is known as natural gas liquid recovery, where many of the hydrocarbons besides methane are removed and collected. The collected liquids serve many uses and can be quite valuable. These hydrocarbons include, but are not limited to, propane, butane and ethane.