Civil Work for Natural Gas Processing PlantsApril 16, 2018
The petrochemical industry remains a vital, vibrant part of the US economy. While the petrochemical industry is in part fueled by crude oil, natural gas has continued to rise in prominence and importance over the last decade as extraction methods become more efficient and effective. However, to be useful as an energy source or feedstock, natural gas must first be processed. To meet this demand new natural gas processing plants are springing up all over the country and in particular in the Gulf Coast region. STI Group performs civil work, construction, fabrication, and maintenance for natural gas processing plants. Let’s take a look at what goes into civil work at these plants.
Civil Work Lays the Foundation for Natural Gas Processing PlantsBefore construction begins on a natural gas processing plant, civil work is performed on the plant site and surrounding grounds to facilitate construction and lay the foundation for the plant itself. The worksite must be made accessible for construction workers, suppliers, heavy equipment, and site storage. The site must also be shored up to prevent damage during severe weather conditions. The foundation itself must also be designed and laid with enough durability to ensure that it can support the massive amount of weight and rigorous demands the finished natural gas processing plant will place on it without cracking or shifting. Effective civil work helps the finished plant operate at peak capacity.
Specific Civil Work Considerations for Natural Gas Processing PlantsSite Preparation/Improvement – Preparing the worksite for construction of the natural gas processing plant is one of the fundamental aspects of civil work. Site preparation and improvement involves removing any naturally occurring features such as rocks, trees, stumps, and vegetation as well as removing any man-made debris. Erosion control methods must also be performed during excavation to shore up the site against environmental stresses and harsh weather. Concrete Work – Concrete work is a major part of virtually all construction projects, and performing quality concrete work is crucial for meeting safety and operational requirements for the natural gas processing plant. Concrete standards are set by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), as well as ASTM International. Foundation – The foundation will need to withstand the massive weight of the natural gas processing plant itself. This requires the effective use of pilings that are driven to the correct depth for the landscape and environment where the natural gas processing plant will be built. Different types of pilings have different pros and cons including strength, flexibility, and cost. Subgrade Stabilization – Subgrade stabilization is the process of stabilizing the ground beneath the worksite to ensure that it does not shift, sink, or settle during and after construction of the plant. This is an important part of worker and plant safety and also avoids damage to the plant or worksite that could cause delays or require expensive repairs.
Additional Factors Affecting Civil Work for Natural Gas Processing PlantsEvery construction project is unique and comes with its own particular set of challenges, obstacles, benefits, and opportunities. This requires that every project be carefully planned and reviewed and that the unique conditions of every job are taken into consideration. However, some of the most common additional factors that affect civil construction for natural gas processing plants include the following:
- The budget of the project
- The project’s timeline
- The capacity of the finished plant
- The infrastructure feeding the plant such as pipelines, rail lines, ship, or road access.
- Industry codes and regulations
- Local, state, and federal codes and regulations
- Environmental factors present at the site