Gazprom Neft successfully tests new Russian technology for processing associated petroleum gas

Gazpromneft-Vostok has successfully completed pilot testing of an innovative new domestic mild steam reforming technology for processing associated petroleum gas (APG).* On the basis of results from testing undertaken at the Krapivinskoe field in the Omsk Oblast, this technology is now recommended for implementation throughout the company’s facilities, initially at small and remote fields where other means of productive APG utilisation are unfeasible or unworkable.

The mild steam reforming facility allows one of the components of APG — natural gas liquids (NGL) — to be refined into gas without their prior separation. The resulting product is then ready for use in power generation or can be despatched by pipeline for onward transportation to consumers. This technology has been developed by the Institute of Catalysis, part of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation; the facility to allow its on-site utilisation is being undertaken by a subsidiary company of the institute — BI Technology, under the supervision of the Gazprom Neft Gas and Power Directorate, in conjunction with the company’s Scientific and Technical Centre. The prefabricated modular construction of this facility allows it to be transported easily to different fields. Tests show the conversion ratio of hydrocarbons from ethane and higher n‑alkanes into methane to be 94 percent, a level higher than anticipated.

Gazprom Neft is currently implementing a range of initiatives directed at increasing the productive use of APG, allowing it to be refined directly and cost-effectively at production locations. Technical solutions suggested for use in the south—west section of the Krapivinskoe field allow the resulting APG to be fully integrated into the production process, ensuring its full utilisation and increasing project profitability.

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* Associated Petroleum Gas (APG) is an integral by-product of oil production, at almost all fields. In order to minimise environmental impacts, the gas has to be processed. One technology commonly applied in the refining of APG is low-temperature separation into natural gas liquids (NGL), dry-stripped gas, and casing head gasoline. The gasoline is subsequently used as fuel, and the gas despatched by pipeline, while NGLs form the raw materials for petrochemical production, used to produce rubber, plastics, solvents and additives for high-octane gasoline. Construction of a gas processing plant and NGL transportation infrastructure, however, is only justified where significant quantities of APG need to be disposed of. Where this is produced only in small quantities alternative processing techniques are necessary to maintain project viability.