Natural gas is the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel, with global consumption expected to increase by 70% over the coming years, from around 4 trillion m3 in 2014 to around 7 trillion m3 by 2040. Typically gas processing costs are around 2.3 cents per m3 which, taken in isolation, doesn’t sound like much but when you factor in the huge amounts of gas being used it makes natural gas processing a €91 billion global industry now and potentially a €150 billion plus global industry in the future.
The majority of gas processing costs are related to energy and materials usage, some of which is in terms of natural gas that is consumed to process other natural gas. It follows that anything that can be done to increase the efficiency of natural gas processing has the potential to dramatically reduce energy usage, saving costs and reducing the associated environmental impact. In this article we explain why the emergence of shale gas complicates the issue, and increases the urgency for a solution, and then explain why more accurate measurements can be the key to unlocking process efficiency improvements of as much as 20%.