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Introducing the AZOTA SHALE GAS High Recovery Unit.

One solution for the world of Shale Gas Processing. Another innovative process design by Azota.

The most innovative company in Natural Gas processing has directed its creative energies to finding a better solution for the shale gas production rapidly coming on line in North America. The special needs of this new development in the world of Natural Gas require a new approach to the old problem: how do we economically recover our LPG with a simple, unattended operation that can be quickly installed? Azota has responded with a design which is flexible, easily installed and easily relocated. Let the revolution begin!


Designed with North American Shale Gas in Mind

The capabilities you have requested are here, with a simple and energy efficient design.

Our customers have spoken.

The requirement most often heard is for a simply operated facility that recovers most or all of the propane and heavier liquid components while thoroughly rejecting the ethane. This is what our plant is designed to do. They would also like the flexibility of pre-ordering a plant, knowing that it will work well in ANY of their gas fields. Our design addresses this by robust sizing of the liquid handling equipment and the ability to add on refrigeration capacity as needed. Our plant will also process gas over a range of pressures without turn down or capacity issues.


Eliminate the turbo-expander
Use reliable flooded screw compressors for refrigeration needs
Eliminate molecular sieve systems
Integrate the condensate handling system
Eliminate condensate truck loading systems
Eliminate plant vent streams

No one wants to be woken at night to learn that their plant has suffered a turbo-expander failure. We decided at the beginning of the design process that we needed to eliminate the high speed rotating equipment from our new design, while not sacrificing the high recoveries the industry has come to expect. With no turbo-expander there is NO turn down issue with the Azota Shale Gas Processing Plant. Obviously we need to get cold, just like any other cryogenic process, but Azota has chosen to do this with the most reliable refrigeration equipment available, the two-staged flooded screw compressor. These are not the inefficient compressors that our competitors have used. The two stage compressors used by Azota permit efficiency even at the high compression ratios needed for very low temperatures. We also decided to eliminate the molecular sieve system, which means no high speed regeneration gas compressor and no water breakthrough spikes. Molecular sieve systems are tried and true in this industry but complex, expensive and generally overkill for the processing parameters of the Azota design. We have noted that a universal requirement of most of the new shale gas development is for the handling of free liquids at the plant inlet. Unlike the condensate stabilizers of the past, the shale gas formations are frequently producing very light liquid hydrocarbon streams which look more like LPG than gasoline. Our designers have cleverly added liquid handling capabilities which stabilize these liquids and mix them with the plant product thereby eliminating another emission source, a truck loading facility and storage tanks.

A Heritage of Process Design

Some of the innovations in plant design by Team Azota:

The first commercially viable small twin tower nitrogen rejection units
The first TEG dehydration unit integrated with a low temperature, high ethane recovery plant
The standardization of the high pressure, three reboiler de-ethanizer in its high ethane turboexpander plants
The leader in revamping existing plants to increase recoveries or reduce fuel usage
The first to utilize mixed refrigerant and compound refrigerant designs in gas processing
The only designer of split flow, high efficiency amine systems capable of meeting less than 10 ppm CO2

The Azota team has always been known for being the innovative design leaders of the industry. When there was a difficult issue in the processing of some natural gas stream, the engineers of Azota would take on the task of finding the best solution. Sometimes this meant simply inventing a process that was new to the industry; sometimes this meant finding a new twist to an existing design. While the requirement for small nitrogen separation units was always a given in the gas patch, the costs for such a unit were prohibitive. However, with careful design and the techniques we learned as packagers of small gas plants, we successfully rose to the challenge. When our customers asked us for a turbo-expander plant which did not use so much recompression horsepower, we answered the need by finding an elegant solution which permitted us to standardize on a very high operating pressure de-methanizer. We also breathed new life into some old technologies like Tri-Ethylene Glycol dehydration. By concentrating on the fundamentals, we were able to achieve water dew points low enough to permit cryogenic operations. The list of Azota innovations in gas processing is a long one. We believe however that our offering for an economical, efficient, and high recovery plant tailored to the shale gas industry will prove to be the most innovative design of all.


Some problems often heard from our customers:

"I know what my gas stream looks like now, but we do not know what it will be like in a few years; we want to bring on some other people's production and our own gas is becoming heavier with time."

"We have already re-wheeled the expander once before but flow rates and pressures continue to change, and we will need to do this again."

"We have a used plant available, but the tower design pressure is only 250 psig which means we will need to install two-stage residue compression at the new location."

"We want all the propane we can get, but when we reject all of the ethane, we lose a lot of valuable propane as well."

"Our gathering system pressure is only 400 psig. To make the spec plant we purchased get the desired recoveries, we are going to have to install inlet compression to get the feed up to 1000 psig."

"Why don't you guys come up with something that is simple and flexible like those old "straight refrigeration plants" that we could set down anywhere, and they would work?"

These are all real problems, the very problems that have inspired Azota to re-think the gas plant design equation.

We think we have the answers. Our no-expander design is insensitive to gas flow pressures and temperatures. Our heat exchangers are designed for 1100 psig on the plant inlet side, and 500 psig on the low pressure side. Our de-ethanizer is designed for 500 psig with an operating pressure of 425 psig. Our refrigeration system is revolutionary and yet simple. Best of all, it can be scaled to your needs. Not one standard cubic foot of processed gas is delivered from the Azota plant at less than 400 psig and much of it is delivered at near inlet pressure. We get your gas cold enough to squeeze out all of the propane while rejecting the ethane. No need to ask about the butanes and heaviers! And finally, yes, we think we have come up with something that will bring back those simpler times when all you needed to worry about was whether the refrig compressor was running on that old straight refrigeration plant. Just plug it in and turn it on...

ONE STOP SHOPPING... the way it used to be.

We not only engineer, design and fabricate, but we install as well. One fixed price, turn-key and ready to operate.

The standard for the gas processing industry used to be the single source contract. Our industry has largely gotten away from this with the proliferation of "spec plants" by specialty contractors who build cookie-cutter modules designed for short term capital cost reduction but with little attention given to ease or cost of installation, inlet or residue gas compression minimization, or maintainability. In the effort to shave all costs, even code requirements are often compromised.

Azota has taken a different approach. As a construction company, we know how to design the plant to minimize field construction costs and time. Accordingly, our plants are designed by folks who know how to construct and know how to keep this process simple. Of course, we are also willing to put this to the test; we will offer no plant without an implicit offer to also install it at a single fixed price. However, we know that some companies like to do the installation work themselves; either way works for us.

Some frequently asked questions and their answers

How long does it take to purchase and install an Azota Shale Gas Unit?
As we are introducing this product, early adopters will need to wait for the delivery of some of the long-lead equipment items. Soon, however, we hope to reduce the delivery to less than four months, the module assembly time. Installation is sequential and site dependent; however, most plants will be able to be installed in less than three months after site preparation.

In performing our economic analysis can you tell me ahead of time what my recoveries are going to be?
That is simple. You may safely base your economics on the assumption that you will recover 95% of the inlet gas propane while rejecting 99% of the ethane.

What is or is not included with your basic plant? What other costs will I need to consider?
The plant includes all of the process modules required for LPG recovery as well as all off-module equipment such as towers. It also includes an inlet condensate handling system. The main plant pipe rack for interconnecting piping between our modules and free standing equipment is also included. Compression is included. Specifically what is not included is a plant inlet slug catcher, (if required), any engine driven compression, a plant flare, product storage tanks, buildings and custody transfer metering. If purchased on an installed basis, foundations and all field labor needed for full installation is also included.

How will my plant performance be effected with changing conditions?
This is a complex question, but basically if the plant is tuned for a given pressure, say 1000 psig, and the pressure drops, say to 750 psig, recovery would be slightly reduced. However, by changing operating pressures of the refrigeration system, the plant will maintain original recoveries. Let's consider the opposite case. The plant is originally tuned for 500 psig and is now going to be fed with 1000 psig inlet gas. No equipment will need to be changed or replaced. All plant design pressures are good for ANY anticipated operating conditions. The same holds true of changing gas compositions; if a gas stream becomes significantly richer, an additional refrigeration compressor may need to be added, but nothing is obsoleted.

Can my plant be designed for unattended operations?
The plant is designed PRIMARILY for unattended operations.

What size or sizes are available?
We are currently offering this plant in two sizes ; 50 MMSCFD and 100 MMSCFD. Larger capacities are clearly possible, but a better choice may be two units or a specifically designed site specific unit.

Should we count on installing inlet compression?
Our Shale Gas Processing Unit is quite comfortable with 400 psig inlet gas pressure. However, there is an advantage to higher pressure inlet gas in that this will reduce the refrigeration horsepower requirement as well as the residue compressor horsepower requirement. As the refrigeration compressors are supplied as electric motor driven units, there may be an operating cost advantage in boosting the inlet gas pressure using gas engine driven compressors.

What about the residue compressor requirements?
Like your father's "straight refrig plant", some portion of your inlet gas will pass through the plant with only a small frictional pressure drop. The remainder will leave the plant at 400 psig, come rain, come shine. We will need to look at your application to determine how this splits.

What about all that other stuff like plant permitting, HAZOP, and plant start-up?
Azota will assist our customers in preparing all plant permitting. All of our plants come with a completed HAZOP done internally by our engineers. Your company policy may require you to do your own, but the "go-by" helps immensely. Finally, our engineers are present from the day of plant commissioning until the plant is in operation. We stay until the plant works!