Maintenance of Natural Gas Terminals

September 3, 2015

Natural gas is a vital source of energy with multiple uses, including as fuel and in the construction of lubricants and fertilizers. However, before natural gas can be sold, it must undergo processing in order to rid it of impurities. Natural gas processing is a valuable activity in the United States. Maintenance of the terminals in which processing takes place is a critical requirement for natural gas processors seeking to maximize efficiency, profit and worker safety.

Given the increasing value of natural gas and the rapid advancement of hydraulic fracking and other technologies, natural gas terminals are in more demand than ever—and they have the workload to show for it. Terminals must now operate at peak capacity for indefinite periods of time without showing signs of wear or breakdown. Even a short work stoppage, equipment breakdown or accident can mean the loss of significant productivity and profit. Effectively maintaining a natural gas terminal is a crucial requirement to maximize production. Read below for a detailed overview of why maintenance is so essential and the issues you should be aware of when seeking to ensure proper upkeep of your natural gas terminal.

Top-quality Maintenance of Natural Gas Terminals Is Critical

No matter what type of energy facility you are running, maintenance is key for ensuring safety and efficiency of production. It is particularly important at natural gas facilities because maintenance can prevent costly problems, such as outages, accidents and unscheduled production shutdowns from developing in the first place. Here are a few of the most important reasons why maintenance is a critical key to keeping your natural gas terminal profitable and effective.

Safety Is of the Utmost Importance

One of the most important outcomes of excellent maintenance at natural gas terminals is to create a safe environment free of accidents and mistakes. Natural gas is a safe fuel source, but there is always the risk of accidents as the result of leaks, defective equipment or worker error. Safety is a paramount concern at any natural gas terminal and a well-maintained terminal will be designed to avoid damage to workers, the facility or the environment. Proper maintenance will focus on ensuring that the equipment is functioning well and is up to date, workers are well trained in the latest safety procedures and have the tools to protect themselves and the risk of accidents, leaks or contamination is minimal.

Peak Productivity at the Natural Gas Terminal

Given the rising demand for natural gas across the country, terminals are increasingly finding themselves operating at peak output for longer and longer time periods. Properly working equipment is therefore essential. Slowdowns or stoppages due to non-functioning or defective equipment can be economically crippling. Even equipment that is working but at a suboptimal level can be devastating to your bottom line. Regular and thorough maintenance will ensure that equipment is up and running the way it should be, thereby allowing the terminal to operate at full production capacity.

Regulatory Compliance Is Complex and Essential

Natural gas terminals are regulated by several government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Regular maintenance is a requirement for these terminals, and many considerations must be taken into account when determining how to meet regulations, including safety and environmental concerns. Maintenance can therefore be a complex process that must take many factors into consideration to be effective.

Types of Maintenance at Natural Gas Terminals

Turnarounds take natural gas terminals offline for a short period in order to perform more involved maintenance. This type of maintenance typically involves inspection and repair of complex equipment that normally cannot be worked on when the terminal is active. Turnarounds result in a stoppage of work, and thus temporary cessation of profits while also requiring significant spending outlays for parts, equipment and labor. Therefore, companies performing maintenance must be able to employ strong cost control strategies and always work efficiency, safety and rapidly in restoring operation of the terminal. Turnarounds need to be quick, efficient and effective, which requires significant planning and expertise.

Equipment Repairs and Upgrades at Natural Gas Terminals

Repair of equipment is a necessary step in maintaining a top-of-the-line facility, but sometimes equipment must be replaced. Alternatively, superior equipment may go on the market which could improve productivity, cut costs or promote safety. When replacing or upgrading equipment, maintenance must be done to make sure that the new piece of equipment or part is properly installed and running the way it should.

Proper Maintenance Requires a Good Industrial Service Company

To perform excellent maintenance on a natural gas terminal, an expert industrial services company is required. The company should have the professionalism, expertise, manpower and equipment to do maintenance quickly, thoroughly and safely. STI Group is one example of such a company and has extensive experience in providing maintenance services for natural gas facilities. If you are seeking expertise in maintenance for your terminal, you want the right combination of experience, commitment and resources. STI Group is dedicated to ensuring client satisfaction and making sure you achieve your maintenance goals efficiently and effectively.