Chapter 4
Pipeline Compression Systems


As the name suggests, hydrocarbons are chemical compounds made up of a combination of hydrogen and carbon (Fig. 4-1). Natural gas is a mixture of two of the simplest members of the “hydrocarbon” family. Natural gas is predominantly made up of the two lightest hydrocarbons — methane (90%) and ethane (10%).

However, industrial natural gas is a mixture of many components with methane (CH4) being the major component, along with heavier hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, iso-butane, normal butane, etc. In the raw state, it often contains a considerable amount of non-hydrocarbons, such as nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide.

Effects of gas composition variations are due to the differences in the thermo-physical properties attributed to each gas component and their relative concentration in natural gas. Typical variations in natural gas constituents are depicted in Table 4-1. Richer to average natural gas compositions are indicated in Table 4-2 [1].

In describing the behavior of natural gas, it can be assumed that a linear relationship exists between the pressure, volume, and temperature of the gas.

Natural gas is a major world energy source. World natural gas reserves are estimated at 155 trillion cubic meters, 6112 TCF [2]. About 72% of the world's natural gas reserves are found in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

A gas is a fluid which will expand or compress to occupy all the space within any container such as pipelines, storage, etc. Knowledge of gas properties and the compression systems and appertaining factors are essential for the transport, storage, and utilization of natural gas.

  • 4.1 Hydrocarbon and Natural Gas
  • 4.2 Role of Compression in a Gas Pipeline Network
  • 4.2.1 Types of Gas Pipeline Compressors
  • 4.2.2 Gas Pipeline Hydraulics
  • 4.3 Driver Power
  • 4.3.1 Gas Pipeline Hydraulics Principles
  • 4.3.2 General Properties
  • 4.3.3 Principles of Fluid Flow
  • 4.3.4 Thermal and Thermodynamic Effects
  • 4.3.5 Pipe Diameter
  • 4.3.6 Pipe Effective Roughness
  • 4.3.7 Pipe Burial Depth
  • 4.3.8 Friction Factor and Flow Regimes
  • 4.3.9 Flow Regimen Velocity Profiles
  • 4.3.10 Generalized Isothermal Flow of Gas in Pipelines
  • 4.3.11 Maximum (Sonic) Velocity of Compressible Fluids) in Pipeline Systems
  • 4.3.12 Pipeline Design and Optimization With Respect to Compression
  • 4.3.13 Pipeline Looping and Compression (Location and Spacing)
  • 4.4 General Compressor Station Configuration
  • 4.4.1 Operating Considerations
  • 4.4.2 Types of Compression Equipment
  • 4.4.3 Parallel and Series Configuration
  • 4.4.4 Number of Units
  • 4.4.5 Case Study: NPV Comparison Between Immediate and Deferred Unit Installation
  • 4.4.6 Standby Units
  • 4.4.7 Environmental Considerations
  • 4.4.8 Case Study: Comparison of Different Usage Scenarios for Pipeline Stations
  • 4.4.9 Compressor Requirements
  • 4.4.10 Driver Requirements
  • 4.5 Station Layout and Facilities
  • 4.5.1 General
  • 4.5.2 Station Piping Layout
  • 4.5.3 Scrubbers and Filters
  • 4.5.4 Gas Coolers
  • 4.5.5 Station and Unit Auxiliary Systems
  • 4.5.6 Station and Unit Control Systems
  • 4.5.7 Buildings and Weather Protection
  • 4.5.8 Safety Systems and Environmental Controls
  • 4.5.9 Codes and Standards
  • References

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