Gas Plant Saves Thousands in Compressor Repairs with Unique Chemistry

Gas Plant Saves Thousands in Compressor Repairs with Unique Chemistry

A midstream gas plant in Texas was experiencing severe black powder fouling resulting in compressor, valves and piston failure of two of their compressors every week. Valve and piston repairs were costing $11,200 each, and plant was paying approximately $1,164,800 in repairs annually. Compressor repairs were costing $3,400 a week in manpower, equaling an additional $176,800 a year. This was not sustainable, and the plant looked to U.S. Water’s experienced Energy team for a system solution.

After U.S. Water representatives conducted a plant survey, they discovered the plant was experiencing unscheduled compressor downtime, resulting from the formation of black powder. The black powder was causing backpressure on the second stage with valve noise, indicating eminent unscheduled compressor downtime and weekend repairs.

Black powder is an industry term used for black/brown/grey colored deposits within gas systems. It can be composed of pure iron sulfide or any combination of FeS, FeCO2, FeO species or oxides with glycol, salt, condensate, sand, amines and compressor oils. During one of the compressor repairs, U.S. Water representatives sent samples of the black deposit to the analytical laboratory to identify the exact makeup of the deposit.

The U.S. Water’s Energy team’s first recommendation was to conduct a trial antifoulant chemistry on the second stage compressor inlet to remove the blockage and measure the debris concentration located in the gas streams. The results from the debris analysis allowed U.S. Water to formulate a custom inhibitor package for the two separate trains. Working together with the Engineering & Equipment team, chemical feed equipment was designed to allow the plant to deliver the antifoulant by atomization throughout the entire system. Paired with targeted monitoring technology, U.S. Water’s solution allowed the plant to get, and keep, the system clean and then optimized the chemical costs.

Since the plant introduced U.S. Water’s solution into their system, one compressor has been running uninterrupted, and other has been on a six month run. In addition to continuous production, the plant was able to save $670,800. The plants Return on Investment (ROI) is approximately 400%, with a two month payback.