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The UOP Separex membrane system has been selected for the removal of contaminants from natural gas produced from a large shale formation found in British Columbia.

Apache Corp will use the UOP Separex membrane system from Honeywell to remove carbon dioxide from shale gas at its operations in the Horn River Basin of northeastern British Columbia. Removing impurities is a required step in upgrading the gas so it can be transported by pipeline for commercial use. The UOP Separex membrane technology upgrades natural gas streams by removing carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and water vapour in a single process to meet the quality standards specified by pipeline transmission companies, as well as end-users of the natural gas.

Separex membrane systems can be installed on-shore or off-shore, require little to no utilities, and have very short start-up times and extreme turndown capabilities. Due to the low consumption of materials within the process, membrane technology is particularly desirable in remote locations where logistics make it difficult to transport supplies to site. When complete, the land-based Separex system will remove carbon dioxide from 150 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas processed at the facility. Engineering will be complete in summer 2010 and the fabricated system will be delivered in the first quarter of 2011.

Gary Sturtevant, gas processing business director for Honeywell’s UOP, said: “Shale gas is an important energy resource in North America and around the world. Our membrane solution offers a novel approach to the critical step of contaminant removal that simplifies start-up and reduces maintenance requirements.”

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