Analysis of Natural Gas Composition and BTU Content from Fracking Operations

Accepted for presentation at Pittcon 2015
New Orleans, Louisiana
March 8-12 2015

Abstract Number: 1370 - 5
Session 1370 - Advances in Energy Research: From Unconventional Fuels to Solar Energy
Day and Time: Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 03:05 PM
Room 240

Significant shale deposits exist in 22 states including the Northeast states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York Utah and Wyoming in the West; and gas-producing states such as Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking of shale has catapulted the US into the leading producer of natural gas in 2013.  Natural gas is bought or sold based on the quantity of energy delivered. The product of the concentration (determined by gas chromatography) and the heating value (BTU) determines the BTU content of the fuel. Although the natural gas from Marcelis shale is primarily methane, the composition can vary considerably from region to region

Shale gas streams can vary in composition from primarily CH4 to one that can contain heavier HC (to C6+) species. One does need flexibility in a GC and the GC301C with temperature programming does have it. The 301C has dual detectors (FID & TCD), packed and capillary column capability and temperature programming. It has an embedded PC and Windows 7.0 operating system with PeakWorks chromatography control software. It is a compact industrial gas chromatograph in a 19” rack mount or wall mount enclosure. Outputs include RS485, and 4-20 mA. It can be connected to the internet and can be controlled remotely.  For natural gas, the methane content can vary from about 85 to 98 mole %, ethane varies from 1-7%, propane from 0.1 to 6%, nitrogen 0.2 to 6%, carbon dioxide from 0.1 to 1% with the balance of C4 and C5 hydrocarbons at trace levels. The exact composition can significantly change the BTU content. Methods can be stored for different compositions and changed remotely for additional flexibility in fracking operations.

See presentation slides below.


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