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Investigation into gas flaring reduction in the oil and gas industry

Gas flaring is the burning of unwanted produced natural gas, which cannot be processed or sold during oil and gas production and processing operations. In past decades, gas flaring was believed to be environmentally tolerable. However, scientists have found that the flaring of gas is an impediment to the environment; this has led to attempting to tackle the problem of gas flaring to advance it to an acceptable level worldwide. In this study, two options were investigated for the utilisation of natural gas that was previously flared. The first option was a theoretical investigation of the use of ceramic perovskite membranes in a tubular reactor for the partial oxidation of methane (flare gas) to syngas. The H2/C product ratio of partial oxidation of methane is 2:1, which is suitable for Fischer-Tropch technology or methanol synthesis. It was found that this option is ideal for converting natural gas into synthesis gas (CO + H2), and it reduces capital and running costs, as these membranes are able to separate oxygen from the air stream with no need for an oxygen separation plant. The novelty of this approach is that the production of syngas using oxygen selective membranes can be achieved at the “Wellhead” with no requirement for the gas to be transported and a consequent reduction in transport costs. The second option was an experimental investigation in using spraying and atomisation techniques for the generation of carbon nanotubes, by spraying simulated catalyst solution droplets into a hydrocarbon gas stream (methane as a carbon source) using a novel “atomiser device” incorporating pressure swirl atomisers. The second part of the investigation was divided into two phases: Phase-I, which was implemented at the Spray Research Group laboratory at the University of Salford, involved a series of experiments which were undertaken to produce fine aerosol droplets that have a number mean diameter of less than or equal to 5 μm, which was successfully achieved. In this phase, water and air were used to simulate the metal catalyst and methane, respectively, which were used in Phase-II. Phase-II trials were implemented at the University of Oxford on a collaborative basis. A furnace was installed underneath of the Phase-I “atomiser device” and the stream of droplet particles fell down through the furnace (400 - 800o C). Reaction inside the furnace occurred to produce the Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNT) material. The preliminary results of the experiments in this Phase showed that it is possible to produce SWCNT. This investigation also considered an economic analysis of reducing gas flaring. A Visual Basic (VB) programme was developed to make a cost comparison between the proposed options and current conventional plants. The consideration of the economic analysis demonstrated that the cost of natural gas flaring exceeds those for syngas and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes production.
Date January 2010
CreatorsAbuhesa, Musa Bashir
PublisherUniversity of Salford
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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