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Where do liquids originate from in natural gas?


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Liquids found in natural gas pipelines have two primary sources: intentional introduction into the pipeline or formation during its operation. This article explores the reasons and conditions under which liquids are generated within gas pipelines. By enhancing our knowledge we can identify the issues, solve them, and advance technologies further. That is exactly what we have accomplished in ZEGAZ Instruments, soon to be unveiled.

Why Can Unintended Liquid Be Disruptive?

Beside intentional introduction, the emergence of liquids in natural gas pipelines can cause damage or disruption to the system's operational conditions. How does this happen?

Referencing the natural gas phase diagram, where temperature is plotted against pressure, reveals crucial insights. The diagram illustrates three regions: vapor state (desired for optimal pipeline operation), gas+liquid state, and an all-liquid state.

ZEGAZ INSTRUMENTS, HydroCarbon Dew point analyser analyzer, Natural Gas tem. Pressure phase diagram infographic
(Temp. Vs Pressure) phase diagram for a typical natural gas

 How Does the Liquid Emerge?

Conditions leading to liquid formation in pipelines include:

1. Decreasing Temperature:

   When exposed to lower temperatures, gas may cross the dew point curve, resulting in the formation of liquids in the pipeline.

2. Decreasing Pressure:

   A decrease in pressure during gas transportation can cause the gas to cross the dew point curve, leading to the creation of liquids in the pipeline.

3. Increasing Pressure (Compression):

   Compression of gas, necessitated by a decrease in pressure, may cause it to enter the gas+liquid region, resulting in the formation of liquids.

 Addressing Challenges: Empowering Users

In all the aforementioned scenarios, liquids exhibit typical behavior by flowing to the lowest point in the pipeline, causing safety concerns and operational issues such as reduced pipeline diameter, increased pressure requirements, potential hydrate formation, turbine damage.

Another important effect of liquids is during gas quality and flow measurements.  Most gas analyzers, including GCs, get damaged by presence of liquids, resulting in costly repair and down times.  Presence of liquid also affect flow measurements.

Understanding the phase diagram and these operational conditions is crucial for maintaining the efficiency and safety of natural gas pipelines. 

We will go into further details soon. Stay tuned for ZEGAZ Instruments new patented technology that detects fluid in natural gas and provides beneficial information.


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