Companies worldwide are on a continual hunt for innovative ways to provide fuel for consumers that are economical, accessible and environmentally responsible. Both construction and maintenance of these terminals is a complex process requiring expert knowledge.
In the realm of natural gas science, efforts are being intensified to leverage natural gas resources, shifting from conventional fuels to more sustainable options like liquid fuels through converting natural gas processes. Especially in the United States, where large pockets of natural gas reserves can be found in many regions, refineries that process the gas into usable fuel have flourished. Each facility requires upkeep to remain operating at top levels, and STI Group performs maintenance on gas-to-liquid terminals. Let’s take a closer look at how the gas-to-liquid process works.
How It Works
Essentially, the GTL process in refineries transforms natural gas into liquid hydrocarbons, such as diesel fuel, by converting methane into synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. There are many processes by which this can be done, from a simple one-step switch from methane to methanol to a more complicated version that includes the use of syngas to make the change. Regardless of the technique employed, the outcome is a range of synthetic fuels, including GTL diesel, GTL jet fuel, and other liquid products, all achieved through advanced GTL technology.
Benefits of Liquid Fuel
Once natural gas has been converted into a liquid, it can be used in many ways, much the same as petroleum products. One of the paramount benefits is the ease of transport, making liquid fuels derived from GTL plants more portable and accessible compared to gaseous forms, a leap forward in GTL production. Parts of the country that don’t have access to large supplies of fuel get an economical source of energy even if they don’t have large pipelines nearby or their own processing facilities.
Depending on the process by which a refinery converts natural gas to liquids, there can be many separate parts of the facility that perform different duties. Although they may be structurally separated, they still all work together to finish the conversion process. This necessitates that maintenance companies possess comprehensive expertise in gas to liquids (GTL) maintenance, ensuring each GTL plant operates with excellent performance. STI Group performs maintenance on gas-to-liquids terminals using a continually updated set of safety guidelines and techniques.
Importance of Care
As with any factory format, proper maintenance of infrastructure and equipment is key to helping the plant run smoothly and efficiently. Well-cared for facilities also are safer for employees. Given that GTL plants handle volatile chemicals, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen, in the production of liquid hydrocarbons, rigorous gas to liquids GTL maintenance is crucial for safety and efficiency. Required repairs can mean significant downtime at any facility, so preventive care not only affects safety but also the bottom line.
With safety in mind, it’s vital that a gas-to-liquids plant hires a maintenance company that is well-versed in the protocols and procedures dictated by this special work environment. The goal of preventing accidents and injuries should be utmost on any company’s priority list. Not only are well-maintained facilities safer, they also suffer from less downtime, few major repairs and have higher levels of efficiency.
Another important way in which refineries can maximize production is to have one specific industrial group solely dedicated for maintenance issues. In this way, if something needs to be repaired or addressed directly, it can be done more quickly and safely if there is a singular maintenance group in charge. This is particularly helpful in the case of an emergency or shut down, where getting a repair made immediately is of the highest importance.
Gas-to-liquids terminals have millions of moving parts as well as many structural and infrastructure elements. A maintenance specialist will have to be prepared to service every facet of the plant, from pipelines to mechanic systems and buildings. The maintenance provider also will need to have access to thousands of different parts and replacement items in order to keep the facility running smoothly. Any downtime the terminal faces as a result of a maintenance issue could reflect poorly on the caretaking staff and even present a liability issue in extreme cases.
As gas-to-liquid terminals, even on a small scale, become more widely spread in the United States, there will be a high demand for companies with the expertise, experience and knowledge to run their maintenance programs. STI Group performs maintenance on gas-to-liquids terminals with an eye toward minimizing downtime and creating a safe work environment. The focus is on a single point of contact group and the ability to quickly troubleshoot all the different challenges a gas-to-liquids terminal presents.