Surge vessel to improve operational performance
Recently in Moundsville, W.Va., we received a new major piece of equipment at our Oak Grove natural gas processing facility. The 140-foot surge vessel (nearly half a football field in length) increases the reliability of our operation for our customers and drives greater shareholder value.
What the Oak Grove facility does and how this vessel improves the operation
Natural gas we receive from our customers’ production wells in the Ohio Valley contains both dry gas (methane) and valuable natural gas liquids (NGLs) like ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline. Our Ft. Beeler and Oak Grove processing plants separate these NGLs from the dry gas. Dry gas is placed into the transmission network to generate electricity, heat homes and fuel industry. NGLs are then sent to our Oak Grove de-ethanizer for ethane extraction.
Because ethane is highly volatile, there must be a safe and non-disruptive way to contain the pressure. That’s where the new surge vessel comes into play.
With a high-pressure-rated surge vessel, we can safely store (versus temporarily disrupting the production process) ethane-rich NGLs before these products go into the de-ethanizer. This helps keep producers’ natural gas flowing.
The ethane is sent via pipeline to a hub in Houston, Pa. The rest of the liquids mixture goes to our Moundsville fractionator for further product separation, then sent via rail, truck and barge to market.
To transport the surge vessel from Oklahoma, it had be moved in three pieces. The vessel is being welded together and will be moved to its final location at Oak Grove. This $6 million investment will be placed into operation in November 2015, and is expected to pay for itself in less than four years.