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Installation of a 10 GPM Amine Plant for a New Customer in the Eagle Ford Shale

HOUSTON, Oct. 15 (TransTex, LLC) – In August, TransTex partnered with a new customer and successfully installed and commissioned a 10 GPM Amine Plant, along with associated equipment in South Texas, in the Eagle Ford Shale.

The right-sized amine plant replaced a competitor’s unit at a new H2S treating facility, joining multiple other TransTex facilities in the area, where we provide turnkey installation, operations and maintenance services.

An appropriate sized plant should be considered in today’s cost cutting environment.  With a current gas analysis, our engineering team can run a simulation to determine the correct plant size.  Downsizing provides savings in amine, power generation, as well as, lowering the monthly leasing costs.

Preparation begins at our fabrication yard 
Prefabrication begins at our facility in Hallettsville, Texas. The work is led by the director of construction, Josh Smith. Josh commented, “A typical refurbishment will take five to six weeks, but the lead-time can be improved if the customer needs the plant sooner.”

Once the planning is completed, the installation is scheduled. Josh continued, “The execution stage of the project plan is the most critical, and it’s the best part of the job. This is when all our planning comes together and you get to watch a quality product being built.”

Installation plan put into action

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Installation usually takes seven to ten working days. A meeting with the customer defines the scope, the budget is confirmed and the layout planned. This is when all the planning is put into action; beginning with safety, transportation, installation and piping.

Once the plant is delivered on location, all prefabricated piping is set-up and connected. We make the interconnect on the field piping to the regeneration plant and gas train, followed by the field interconnect for the flare, fuel gas, and dump lines. After piping, we connect and test all electrical and instrumentation for the plant.

The commissioning begins with a hot water wash

Once the inspection and testing are done, we begin commissioning the amine plant with a hot water wash. The amine plant contactor is pressured up and isolated. The reboiler on the plant is filled with water, then fired-up and brought to a temperature of 220° F. The hot water is circulated through the amine plant for three to four hours, depending on the size of the plant. This water wash ensures a fresh cleanout of any contaminates that might be in the system, and prepares the system for the amine solution. During the washout, TransTex also sets levels on the instrumentation and checks for leaks in the system.

Gas is slowly introduced to allow the treating process to begin

After the water wash, the amine solution is loaded and heated to its normal operating temperature of 230° F.  Once the plant is heated and we see an overhead temp of 215° F across the still column, we begin to slowly introduce gas into our system, allowing the treating process to begin. Josh continues, “Our start-up personnel adjust and calibrate the level controls on the plant to ensure they are running at their designed levels and all flows are continuous throughout the plant. This process can take anywhere from a half to two full days, dependent on any problems that might arise from the start-up.”

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The natural gas begins to flow, but not without any challenges

The natural gas stream begins flowing, but not without any challenges. From the start, the H2S concentration was 162% higher than the anticipated volumes. Robert Shimek, Vice President of Operations, said “after some discussion, we addressed the issue by adding DGA to the amine stream. The chemical was added slowly, a few gallons per day, to ensure the gas was not over treated. After several weeks of treating, monitoring and adjusting the chemical blend, the plant is now treating below the contract specification of 4 ppm.”

Stephen Morgan, the vice president of Transtex Treating commented, “This is where the experience of the personnel make a difference. Troubleshooting and understanding how an amine plant runs at an optimal level is critical to a successful installation. We do everything to ensure we provide the correct solution to succeed, in a safe and efficient manner.”