Gas Processing


Natural gas processing is a complex industrial purification method used on raw natural gas after being extracted from a well. Processing is necessary to purify the extracted natural gas.

  • to produce transportable gas
  • prepared to meet the specific sales requirements (pipeline quality dry natural gas)
  • maximize liquid recovery

Methane is the gas found in natural gas, and natural gas processing is used to remove other gases and impurities. Natural gas processing can occur either before pipeline transportation or afterward.

A gas processing plant encompasses the equipment between the gas wells and the pipeline or other transportation methods.

An Example of a natural gas plant

The purpose of the gas processing plant is to remove the impurities and contaminants from the gas, remove solids and liquids, and prepare the gas to meet the specific sales requirements of the purchaser.

Gas processing consists of separating all of the various hydrocarbons, non-hydrocarbons (such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide), and fluids from the methane.


The gas processing plant takes the raw material (natural gas, pipeline condensate, water, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur). It generates intermediate products (aw make, plant condensate, natural gasoline, and ethane-propane streams) and finished products (transmission quality natural gas, butane, and propane).

Natural gas process

The natural gas process depends on the location and composition of the raw gas and the application of the gas by the end-users.


The processing of natural gas to pipeline dry gas quality levels can be very complex, but commonly involves these main processes to remove the various impurities:

Removal of large particles – The first step of natural gas processing is to remove the most significant impurities, for example, sand, with scrubbers. Heaters ensure that the temperature does not fall below a certain level.

Oil, condensate, and water removal – Then, the oil, gas, and water are separated. The gas in this state can still have sulfur and is called sour gas. Sending natural gas through a pipeline in this state is undesirable because corrosion can occur due to sulfur.

Sulfur and carbon dioxide removal – Therefore, the next step is to remove the sulfur and carbon dioxide from the natural gas.

Separation of natural gas liquids – One of the final steps of natural gas processing is known as natural gas liquid recovery, where many of the hydrocarbons besides methane are removed and collected.

The collected liquids serve many uses and can be pretty valuable. These hydrocarbons include but are not limited to propane, butane, and ethane.

The gas to liquid process (GTL) can be defined as converting natural gas into high-quality liquid products that would otherwise be made from crude oil. These liquid products include motor oils, transport fuels, and the ingredients for everyday necessities like plastics, detergents, and cosmetics.

The natural gas processing facilities consist of several different gas processing units, but all typically have:

  • Inlet receiving and compression
  • Gas treating
  • Sulfur removal
  • Dehydration
  • Hydrocarbon recovery
  • Outlet compression

Although there are many options for processing natural gas, no one option is best for all circumstances.

Important considerations when choosing the correct processing method are:

  • Gas composition
  • Residue specifications
  • NGL takeaway
  • Expected long-term inlet gas volume and composition projections

In many cases, the best answer ends up being multiple processing options that change over time as the field develops and then matures due to inlet volume and composition fluctuations.

Gas processing companies strive to optimize production and minimize downtime and operational cost while maintaining safe operation. For this purpose, these gas processing systems must meet stringent process control requirements while being reliable and scalable.

Gas processing companies must find ways to improve plant efficiency and increase throughput without commissioning a complete plant overhaul. Integration of information technology and upgraded operations technology systems can be a cost-effective way to achieve the production visibility required to improve efficiencies.

The natural gas industry has, from its outset, always been wide open to innovation and every kind of modern technology. Technological advances have constantly shaped and re-shaped every industry stage, from exploration right through to final usage.

Scientists, researchers, and engineers need to keep updated with technology and business information for the natural gas industry, including shale gas, LNG, CNG, gas processing, and gas production.

Innovative gas treatment technologies promise to reduce energy consumption. These gas processing innovations could revolutionize the fuel market.

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Articles about Gas Processing

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