Amine & Glycol Reboilers

In natural gas and crude oil refining, corrosive hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide gases must be removed from the hydrocarbon stream before the respective fuels can be stored or introduced into the pipeline.

Often referred to as acid gases, these compounds are present in varying quantities, depending on the well site and formation from which the gas stream originates. The maximum allowance of these compounds in the gas stream is guided by government regulations. To remove acid gas from the crude oil or natural gas stream, the stream is typically treated with an amine compound which absorbs the H2S and CO2. In the amine gas treating process, a reboiler is used to remove the acid gas and recycle the rich amine mixture into a clean stream that is again ready for processing.

Similarly, natural gas streams are treated with glycol to remove water from the natural gas prior to distribution. In both of these processes, the respective fluid stream must be heated to a sufficient temperature to strip the acid gas or water without overheating the stream. Overheating of glycol or amines can cause significant degradation to the mixture and reduce the mixture’s ability to absorb the acid gas or water. Using indirect heating systems are an ideal way to provide the constant heat needed to maintain the efficiency of the reboiler, while preventing overheating and degradation. Thermal fluid systems, such as modified Weir bath heaters, can be used to heat the gas stream. Instead of the coil found in many bath heaters, a Weir bath heater contains a fire-tube with a weir at the end. This type of heater is used throughout the natural gas and crude oil processing industries due to its low maintenance and simplicity. Sigma Thermal can assist customers in selecting the ideal heater type and size for the amine or glycol reboiler system.