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Gas plant mercury contamination assessment

KBC was appointed by a large operating company to help them assess the risks associated with mercury contamination at a gas plant during its design phase. Mercury represents a serious hazard, risking the corrosion of facilities and presenting significant health and safety concerns associated with its potential uncontrolled diffusion.

The challenge

The analysis of mercury partitioning across a processing plant requires careful fluid modeling based on reliable experimental data. Mercury needs to be traced across the plant, requiring a process modeling tool that is flexible and accurate enough to reliably trace components, even if present in very small amounts (10-6 mole fraction). Expert modeling skills and rigorous modelling software are absolutely crucial.

Solution

KBC conducted a detailed pressure, volume and temperature (PVT) modeling assessment using Multiflash, providing crucial clues on the operating conditions that might lead to a significant presence of mercury and the potential for accumulation. We then developed a new plant model with Petro-SIM. The utilization of Petro-SIM and Multiflash, together with additional tools specifically designed to simulate the behavior of the plant during the life of the field, allowed KBC consultants to exactly pinpoint the areas of highest risk. KBC recommended the installation of a mercury removal unit (MRU), investigating the optimal position for its location, and advising the customer on subsequent design stages for the plant.

The results

Through a fully integrated fluid and process modeling approach, KBC was able to model mercury behavior across the system. This allowed us to make an informed decision on the location and size of the MRU to minimize the risk of mercury accumulation. The study demonstrated the best approach to optimize capital and operational expenditure.

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