Maintenance of Gas-To-Liquids Terminals
July 28, 2015
Companies worldwide are on a continual hunt for innovative ways to provide fuel for consumers that are economical, accessible and environmentally responsible. As much of the globe tries to develop new technologies that get away from using finite liquid petroleum, natural gas has come to the forefront as one of the most promising and low-cost sources of fuel. Especially in the United States, where large pockets of natural gas reserves can be found in many regions, refineries that process the gas into useable fuel have flourished. Each of these facilities requires upkeep to remain operating at top levels, and STI Group performs maintenance on gas-to-liquids terminals. Let’s take a closer look at how the gas-to-liquids process works.
How It Works
In a nutshell, refineries convert natural gas into liquid for easier use through a chemical process that alters the hydrocarbons in gas. 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 method used, the end result is a synthetic fuel in liquid form, often diesel, jet fuel or gasoline.
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 biggest advantages is portability, as transportation is easier for liquids than gases. 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 means maintenance companies have a lot of parts about which they will need expertise. 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. Because gas-to-liquids refineries are dealing with volatile chemicals and highly flammable processes, a high level of maintenance is especially important. 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.