NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                MAY 2014

Market for Thermal Oxidizers in the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Is Changing

The advent of shale fracturing and new rules relative to the way new wells be “completed” are changing the market for thermal and catalytic oxidizers. The impact of these factors is analyzed in Thermal Catalytic World Air Pollution Markets,published by the McIlvaine Company.

There are more than 493,000 operating gas wells in the United States and are most predominantly concentrated (84%) in approximately ten states. These wells feed raw natural gas to approximately 500 gas-processing plants which dehydrate the gas and remove other constituents including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), CO2, nitrogen and natural gas liquids (NGLs) like butane, propane and ethane. The result is “pipeline quality” gas fed into a network of more than 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines with approximately 1,400 compressor stations for pressure boosting prior to delivery to local distribution companies (LDCs) for sale to residential, industrial, commercial and power company users.

Existing and new opportunities for Air Pollution Control (APC) equipment and gas processing equipment are found throughout the value chain from the wellhead to local storage at the LDC. Thermal oxidizers applications include amine tail-gas treatment, nitrogen rejections and LNG processes. The new rules addressing greenhouse gases have both positive and negative impact for suppliers of thermal treatment systems.  Emission of untreated gas will no longer be allowed.

The options include:

  • Combustion of the gas without beneficial use of the energy.
  • Combustion of the gas and beneficial reuse.
  • Processing of the gas into new products.

Thermal oxidizers convert methane to CO2.  This conversion alone reduces the greenhouse gas impact by a multiple of 29 to 100 depending on the comparison period.  Methane is one hundred times more potent than CO2, but remains as methane for 30 years or less in the atmosphere.

With thermal oxidation and beneficial reuse of the energy, the impact on greenhouse gas combustion is even greater.  However, combustion of the gas directly in a turbine is more efficient than a thermal oxidizer and then a steam turbine.  If the needed product is process steam, then the oxidizer has a place. New alternatives including micro gas processing to liquids, CNG and LNG areas are gaining interest.  The impact on the thermal oxidizer market could be substantial.

The U.S. is a leader in the shale gas and oil extraction.  The regulations and approaches used to minimize air pollutants will likely be adopted by other countries as they also exploit this energy source.

The new trends, regulations and the specific impacts on the market are continually analyzed in Thermal Catalytic World Air Pollution Markets. Formore information, click on: