The objective of this paper is to showcase the successful and innovative troubleshooting data analysis techniques to reduce glycol loss and to meet the product specifications in one of the gas dehydration systems in an upstream gas oil separation plant (GOSP). The gas dehydration system using Triethylene Glycol (TEG) is the most widely used and reliable gas dehydration system in upstream operation. These proven data analysis techniques were used to tackle major and chronic issues associated with gas dehydration system operation that lead to excessive glycol losses, glycol degradation, and off-specification products. Glycol loss is the most important operating problem in the gas dehydration system and it represents a concern to the operation personnel. Most dehydration units are designed for a loss of less than 1 pound of glycol per million standard cubic feet of natural gas treated, depending on the TEG contactor operating temperature.
In this paper, comprehensive data analysis of the potential root causes that aggravate undesired glycol losses degradation and off-specification products will be discussed along with solutions to minimize the expected impact. For example, operating the absorption vessel (contactor) or still column at high temperature will increase the glycol loss by vaporization. Also, the glycol losses occurring in the glycol regenerator section are usually caused by excessive reboiler temperature, which causes vaporization or thermal decomposition of glycol (TEG). In addition, excessive top temperature in the still column allows vaporized glycol to escape from the still column with the water vapor. Excessive contactor operating temperature could be the result of malfunction glycol cooler or high TEG flow rate. This paper will focus on a detailed case study in one of the running TEG systems at a gas-oil separation plant.