Construction of Gas-To-Liquids Terminals
October 20, 2015
Gas-to-liquids (GTL) terminals play an important role in meeting the energy needs of Americans. Construction of GTL terminals is a complex, highly specialized process requiring expert knowledge of natural gas, chemistry, worker safety, transport, building design and maximization of output and productivity. Below is an overview of essential facts concerning GTL and some of the most important considerations to take into account during the construction of GTL terminals.
The Basics of Gas-To-Liquids
GTL is a process by which natural gas is converted into a liquid state by elongating shorter-chain, methane-rich hydrocarbons. There are multiple mechanisms of conversion which either directly convert methane into methanol or utilize an intermediary (for example syngas) to complete the process. The end result in either case is a synthetic liquid fuel.
The Benefits of Gas-To-Liquids
Like gasoline or diesel, GTL is an important source of fuel, lubricants and ingredients for chemicals or detergents used in many products. GTL is commonly used to develop cleaner energy sources to reduce pollutants and improve sustainability. What are the advantages of converting natural gas into GTL? Most importantly, conversion increases the monetary value of your natural gas supply, making it more economically efficient to transport. If you have a “stranded well” that lacks access to a reliable network of pipelines, you can still transport your product if you are able to convert it into gas-to-liquids. GTL is also easier to transport than liquefied natural gas, as the former does not have to be kept in cold temperatures and moved in special containers. Instead, you only need to take advantage of existing resources to transport your product.
Given the rapidly increasing supply of natural gas in the U.S., due to improved technology like hydraulic fracking, GTL terminals have to be constructed so that they can process larger amounts of natural gas and do so for the long haul. In order to do this, proper planning is essential. Preventing spills, construction accidents, costly shutdowns, or production shortfalls requires a long-term view towards sound construction and maintenance.
Safety Is Essential
When constructing GTL terminals, just as with any other industrial facility, safety should be a primary concern. Before construction begins, care should be taken to ensure that the facility can safely handle the variety of complex processes required to convert natural gas into GTL. The three major types of conversion include the Fishcher-Tropsch process, the Methanol to Gasoline process (MTG) and the Syngas to Gasoline Plus Process (SGP+). Special care must be taken to ensure that no matter what the process used, the reactors within the plant are constructed with the utmost care and caution and be designed to be used over the long-term without showing signs of wear and tear. Monitoring subcontractors in order to ensure proper adherence to safety concerns is also critical. Proper pipe insulation is also essential in order to develop safe and efficient transport of GTLs.
Construction should also be completed with an eye on protecting workers and the environment. Before construction is even underway, taking important steps to promote worker safety can set the tone of the entire project and ensure that the project isn’t sidelined by accidents and injuries. Some of the potential goals to undertake include the development of worker training programs which educate workers on how to protect themselves when working in elevated locations as well as promote traffic safety when transporting equipment and workers.
How to Maximize Productivity and Output at Gas-To-Liquids Terminals
Given the ever-increasing demand for cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, GTL terminals have to be constructed to operate at peak output levels without outages or stoppages. Equipment, machinery and workers all have to be operating at maximum efficiency to keep operating costs at a minimum while maintaining strong production. Construction will be planned with the goal of maximizing output by installing top-of-the-line equipment and promoting efficient designs that ensure that production can be safe and profitable.
Ensuring Regulatory Compliance
GTL terminals are required to comply with a significant number of government regulations from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as state and local rules and regulations. Among the regulations that GTL terminals must meet is the requirement that they must be constructed with concern for their surrounding environment and worker safety, among other requirements.
Hiring the Right Industrial Service Company Maximizes the Value of Construction
Proper construction of a specialized GTL terminal requires the manpower, expertise and resources of a top-quality industrial services company. You want to choose a company with an extensive background in construction of natural gas facilities, a history of professionalism and customer service, a commitment to safety and a strong belief in the value of natural gas as a clean and efficient energy source. STI Group provides expert construction of GTL terminals, offering extensive experience, expertise in the complex GTL process and a commitment to safe, efficient and effective construction.