|Title of Invention||
A METHOD FOR EFFICEINTLY DISTRIBUTING TO A MARKETPLACE A LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS
|Abstract||A method for efficiently producing, transporting, offloading, storing and distributing a natural gas to a marketplace. The method comprising producing the natural gas from a first subterranean formation, liquefying the natural gas to produce a liquefield natural gas, transporting the liquefied natural gas to a re-gasification platform, offloading and pressurizing the liquefield natural gas, re-gasifying the liquefied natural gas to produce a re-gasified natural gas, and injecting the re-gasified natural gas into a second subterranean formation which is capable of storing natural gas and producing a product natural gas stream therefrom and transporting the product natural gas stream via a distribution system to a marketplace.|
|Full Text||FORM 2
THE PATENTS ACT 1970
[39 OF 1970]
THE PATENTS RULES, 2003
[See Section 10; rule 13]
"A METHOD FOR EFFICEINTLY DISTRIBUTING TO A MARKETPLACE A
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS"
BP CORPORATION NORTH AMERICA INC., of Law Department - Mail Code 2207A, 200 East Randolph Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601, United States of America,
The following specification particularly describes the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed:
The present invention relates to a method for efficiently distributing to a marketplace a liquefied natural gas.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
This invention relates to. an efficient method for producing, transporting, offloading, pressurizing, storing and distributing to a marketplace a natural gas which is produced from a subterranean formation remotely located relative to the marketplace utilizing a subterranean formation capable of storing natural gas.
Brief Description of the Prior Art
Because of its clean burning qualities and convenience, natural gas has been widely used in recent years both for industrial use and for home heating. Many-sources of natural-gas are located in remote areas,-which are not conveniently available to any commercial markets for the natural gas. When pipelines are unavailable for the transportation of the natural gas to a commercial market, the produced natural gas is often processed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transport to market One of the distinguishing features " of a LNG plant is the large capital investment required for the plant.
A further large investment is required at the destination for the LNG for cryogenic storage tanks near the marketplace to store the LNG until it is marketed. Such cryogenic facilities are relatively expensive and require re-gasification of the LNG for distribution via a pipeline system or the like to the ultimate consumers.
Where pipelines have been available to deliver natural gas to a marketplace, the demand for natural gas has fluctuated widely between low demand periods and peak demand periods. In such instances, natural gas
has;-irr-some-instancesr been stored in subten anean formations "or cavities: The natural gas is delivered as a gas to the subterranean storage and subsequently retrieved from the subterranean storage for delivery to a pipeline or other system to distribute it to the ultimate consumers. These systems require that natural gas be available as a gas from pipelines for storage in the subterranean storage areas.
Natural gas is typically available at pressures from about 1,723 KPa As noted previously, both of these methods entail certain disadvantages, i.e. the transportation of natural gas by pipeline is limited by the availability of the pipeline system; therefore, the storage of natural gas in gaseous form in subterranean formations, cavities or surface storage facilities is limited to those areas in which greater quantities of natural gas can be delivered, then can be used during low demand periods- Similarly, the use of liquefied natural gas, which is liquefied at or. near the marketplace, is also limited to those areas where an excessive amount of natural gas can be delivered during at least a portion of the year. As indicated previously, this practice also requires the construction and use of cryogenic tanks, which are
"" relatively expensive. -
The use of liquefied natural gas which has been liquefied at a production site at a remote location also requires the use of cryogenic storage space ancf re-gasification equipment at or near the marketplace so that the LNG can be stored-unti! it is desired to re-gasify the LNG and use ft
US 5,511, 905 discloses injection of cold fluids into a subterranean cavity and their storage as fluids, where by are retained in a super critical state.
As noted above, various systems for producing liquefied natural gas from natural gas are wejl known. Some such systems are shown, for instance, in U.S. Patent 4,033,735, issued July 5, 1977 to Leonard K. Swenson, and U.S.. Patent 5,657,643, issued August 19, 1997 to Brian C. Price, and .U.S. Patent 3,855,810, issued December 24,1974 to"Simion et al.
Re-gasification systems for re-gasifying liquefied natural gas are also known, these systems can vary Widely but include systems such as open rack vaporizers which afe typically used with seawater as a heat exchange medium; shell and tube vaporizers which use either. seawater, glycol-freshWater. mixtures, or profane and an intermediate as the heat exchange medium. Submerged combustion vaporizers, stearh-heated vaporizers and ambient air heated vaporizers are other means for re-gasifying liquefied natural gas. A wide variety of vaporizers can be used so long as they are effective to. re-gasify the LNG by heat exchange with some suitable heat exchange"medium:
Accordingly, in view of the expense of delivering the natural gas to consumers by either of the foregoing methods, continued efforts have been directed to the development of more efficient methods for delivering natural gas from a remote production site to a marketplace more efficiently.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention, a method is provided for efficiently producing, transporting, storing and distributing to a marketplace a natural gas, the method comprises producing the natural gas from a first subterranean formation, liquefying the natural gas to produce a liquefied
naturai gas, transporting the liquefied natural gas to a re-gasification facility (onshore, offshore or a combination of both), offloading and re-gasifying the liquefied natural gas to produce a re-gasified natural gas at a suitable pressure for injection, and injecting the re-gasified natural gas into a second subterranean formation which is capable of storing natural gas and which comprises production wells and associated facilities with a pipeline to the marketplace, and may be utilized to deliver the stored natural gas to the marketplace from the second subterranean formation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The Figure is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of the present invention,
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS According to the present invention, a natural gas is efficiently delivered to a marketplace by liquefying the natural gas at or near the production site, transporting the liquefied natural gas to a re-gasification facility, offloading and pressurizing the liquefied natural gas to re-injection pressures, re-gasifying at pressure and injecting the naturai gas into a subterranean formation suitable for storing naturai gas as a product for delivery to a marketplace accessible by a distribution system from the second subterranean formation. The re-injection pressure of the gas can be achieved as described above by pressurizing the liquefied natural gas prior to the re-gasification, or by conventional compression equipment for the natural gas after re-gasification, or a combination of both. The re-injection rate of the re-gasified natural gas is equal to the offloading rate of liquefied natural gas thereby eliminating the need for cryogenic liquefied naturai gas storage tank facilities at the regasification platform. The natural gas is then contained in the second subterranean formation until it is desired to produce the gas for distribution. Production wells and associated facilities with pipeline to the marketplace are
utilized to deliver the stored natural gas to the marketplace from the second subterranean formation. The gas may be produced by the same production system previously used to natural gas from the second formation and may be distributed via the same distribution system previously used for the distribution natural gas from the second subterranean formation.
While natural gas could be delivered as LNG, re-gasified and distributed directly to the pipeline, such requires the construction of expensive cryogenic facilities to store the LNG prior to re-gasification at a relatively continuous rate for a steady supply to the pipeline. Utilizing the second
subterranean formation to store the natural gas thereby eliminating theneed for cryogenic storage and allowing for variable natural gas-production rates to meet market needs. This results in a more economical and flexible system for storing and distributing the LNG than the relatively expensive cryogenic facilities previously used.
As shown in Figure 1 schematically, an embodiment of the present invention comprises an offshore platform 10 including producing wells and
production facilities positioned to produce natural gas from a first remotely located subterranean formation 11, which is a natural gas-producing field. The platform is supported by supports 12 from a sea floor 14 above a sea level 16. The production is achieved via a well 18 as shown by arrow 20. The produced gas is passed via a pipeline 22, which is shown as a pipeline extending from offshore platform 10 to an LNG plant shown schematicafly at 24. producing wells and production facilities for the LNG plant may be located offshore as shown or located onshore depending upon the location of the producing subterranean formation 11. LNG plant 24 as shown is positioned on land 26. LNG plant 24 may be positioned on either a platform, floating or grounded vessel, or land, as convenient, in LNG plant 24 the natural gas is liquefied and passed to LNG storage 28. From LNG storage 28, a ship 30, which is shown schematically as an LNG tanker, is loaded and transports the natural gas to a docking and re-gasification platform 32.
Platform 32 is supported from sea floor 14 by supports 34. Platform 32 is constructed to be sufficiently sturdy to permit docking and unloading operations from LNG tanker 30. From platform 32 the_LNG is pressurized using cryogenic booster pump and then re-gasified as known to those skilled in theart. The LNG may be re-gasified by the use of any suitable heat exchange system such as an open rack vaporizers, a shell and tube vaporizers using either seawater, glycol-freshwater mixtures or propane as an intermediate or any other suitable heat exchange medium, submerged combustion vaporizers, steam heated vaporizers, or ambient air heated vaporizers and the like. Combinations of these types of vaporizers may be used. Desirably, seawater is used as a heat exchange medium on platform 32. While the natural gas may be re-gasified by any suitable heat exchange method, according to the present invention it is preferred that an open rack vaporizer be used, using seawater as the heat exchange medium. The_ reinjectipn pressure .of the gas can be.achieved as described above, by pressurizing the liquefied natural gas prior to re-gasification or by conventional compression equipment of the natural gas,after re-gasification or by using both techniques. The natural gas is then passed to an injection platform supported by supports 38 above sea floor 14 where it is injected via a well 40 into a second subterranean formation44)-as shown by arrow 42. Second subterranean formation 44 is capable of storing natural gas and may be a depleted or at least partially depleted subterranean formation which has previously produced gas in sufficient quantities to justify the construction of a system of producing wells, gathering facilities and distribution pipelines for the distribution to a market of natural gas from subterranean formation 44. After and during the injection of the re-gasified liquefied natural gas, production may be achieved from second formation 44 via a weii 50, as shown by arrow 52, to a platform which is supported on supports 48 above sea floor 14. Platforms 36 and"46 may be located either on shore as facilities or off shore on platforms. It is, however, desirable that platform 32 be located off shore or
near shore to allow for LNG tanker access and offlading and for convenience in the use of seawater as the heat exchange medium.
The produced gas from second formation 44 via platform 46 is passed via a pipeline 54 to a pipeline system 56 it will be understood that platform 46 schematically depicts a plurality of platforms positioned to recover natural gas from subterranean formation 44. Either plurality of platforms or platforms using a plurality of directionally drilled wells or both and the like may be used and the.like, as known to those skilled in the art for production of natural gas from a subterranean formation comprising a natural gas field. Similarly, a plurality of gathering lines may be used as shown schematically by pipeline 54. The natural gas, as collected, is then delivered to a pipeline system 56, which is not shown in any detail. It is well understood by those skilled in the art that it may be necessary, and in fact typically-is necessary, to treat the recovered natural gas for the removal of hydrogen sulfide and carbn dioxide compounds, water and possibly other contaminants prior to delivering it to a
According to the present invention, the natural gas has been liquefied and can be transported via ship or otherwise over substantial distances from remote gas fields to a re-gasification facility where it is offloaded, pressurized, re-gasified and stored, without the need for cryogenic storage facilities, in a second subterranean formation capable of storing natural gas from which it can be produced through production wells and gathering facilities and a pipeline distribution.
In summary, the present invention represents a remarkably efficient system for producing, transporting, storing and distributing natural gas to a marketplace. The savings are achieved by the use of an existing storage capacity in second formation 44, the use of re-gasificaiion as the LNG is unloaded from tanker 30 to avoid the need for cryogenic storage at platform 32. These advantages result in substantial savings by comparison of the method of the present invention to existing processes for the production and
delivery of natural gas from remotely located natural gas fields, the present method also permits the use of sufficient re-gasification capacity to facilitate rapid unloading of a LNG vessel so that the vessel is detained for unloading for a minimal period.
Typically, the natural gas is re-gasified at platform 32 to have an injection temperature slightly above the gas hydrate temperature within the second subterranean formation 44 as injected via well 40 from about 10°C (50°F) to about 29.4°C (85°F) . The natural gas is injected into the second subterranean
reservoir at pressures of between 1379kpa(200 psi) and 17237 kpa(2500 psi) or higher depending upon the depleted reservoir pressure requirement The conditions for the delivery of natural gas to pipeline 56 are, of course, set by the individual pipeline requirements with respect to pressure, temperature and gas contaminants.
Having thus described the present invention by reference to certain of its preferred embodiments, it is noted that the embodiments disclosed are illustrative rather than limiting in nature and that many variations and modifications are possible within the scope of the present invention. Many such variations and modifications may be considered obvious and desirable by those skilled in the art based upon a review of the foregoing description of preferred embodiments.
1. A method for efficiently distributing to a marketplace a liquefied
natural gas produced from a remote subterranean formation (11), the
a) offloading the liquefied natural gas;
b) pressurizing the liquefied natural gas to re-injection pressure wherein the re-injection pressure of the natural gas is accomplished by pressurizing the liquefied natural gas prior to re-gasification, or by compression of the natural gas after re-gasification or a combination of both;
c) re-gasifying the liquefied natural gas to produce a re-gasified natural gas; and,
d) injecting the re-gasified natural gas into a depleted or partially depleted second subterranean formation (44) which is capable of storing the re-gasified natural gas and producing a recovered natural gas stream therefrom and transporting the produced natural gas stream via a distribution system to a marketplace.
2. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the natural gas is treated for the removal of hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, water and other contaminants prior to liquefaction.
3. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the liquefied natural gas is transported via a ship (30) from the remote subterranean formation (11).
4. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the liquefied natural gas is re-gasified by heat exchange with seawater.
5. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the liquefied natural gas is re-gasified using a heat exchange system selected from the group consisting of an open-rack vaporizer, a shell and tube vaporizer using either seawater or glycol-freshwater mixtures, or with propane as an intermediate, a submerged combustion vaporizer, a steam heated vaporizer and an ambient air heated vaporizer.
6. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the liquefied natural gas is regasified using an open-rack vaporizer for heat exchange with seawater.
7. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the re-gasified natural gas is injected into the second subterranean formation (44) above the hydrate temperature of the gas contained in the subterranean reservoir at temperatures from 0°C (32°F) to 26.67°C (80°F).
8. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the re-gasified natural gas is injected into the second subterranean formation (44) at a pressure greater than the pressure in the second subterranean formation.
9. The method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the pressure is from 1379kPa (200psig) to 17237kPa (2500psig).
10. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein wells and production facilities for producing natural gas from the first subterranean formation (11) is accomplished using onshore wells and productions facilities and/or offshore wells (10) and production facilities.
11. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the re-gasification facilities, re-injection wells and facilities of the natural gas into the second subterranean formation (44), and wells and production facilities
from the second subterranean formation are located offshore, onshore, or a combination of both.
Dated this 17th day of January, 2002.
OF REMFRY & SAGAR
ATTORNEY FOR THE APPLICANTS
|Indian Patent Application Number||IN/PCT/2002/00062/MUM|
|PG Journal Number||04/2008|
|Date of Filing||17-Jan-2002|
|Name of Patentee||BP CORPORATION NORTH AMERICA INC.|
|Applicant Address||LAW DEPARTMENT- MAIL CODE 2207A 200 EAST RANDOLPH DRIVE , CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60601 USA|
|PCT International Classification Number||F25J1/00 B65G5/00|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/US01/08078|
|PCT International Filing date||2001-03-14|