The global sour gas market is anticipated by experienced researchers to gain from rising oil and gas exploration activities in the coming years. Close to 40% of natural gas reserves of the world comprise of sour gas. Before making it available for sale on the market, high sour gas concentration is required to be treated since acid gas composition is significantly high in some reserves. As a result, there is a telling requirement of more number of sour gas facilities with improved efficiency and capacity.
The global sour gas market is foreseen to create strong growth prospects while riding on the cost-effective nature of different processes used to separate acids from the gas. Increasing requirement of consistent gas supply for power generation and other purposes in several industries could also improve the growth of the market.
Advancements in Technology to Pave Way for Sophisticated Sour Gas Treatments
Since sour gas contains a substantial quantity of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the sweetening process is used in chemical refineries to get rid of H2S. Moreover, the rotten egg odor of the processed gas is eliminated with the removal of H2S. The sweetening process is used to bring the amount of H2S to an acceptable range. This process used during the production of sour gas could act as a powerful element of growth for the market. Another factor that could enhance market growth is expected to be the economic value of the gas.
Owing to hazardous exposures and uncertain end points, it could be difficult for the sour gas industry to conduct comprehensive researches. Moreover, sour gas is considered to be poisonous for humans and animals, highly inflammable, and colorless. The sour gas industry could face problems when treating the gas, including solvent losses, formation of corrosion in vessels and pipes and solution in regenerators, and failure to meet H2S specification for sales. However, there could be availability of advanced treatment processes introduced in the world sour gas market because of the advent of various technological developments.
Amine Gas Treatment and Selexol Process as Procedures to Treat Sour Gas
In terms of process, the world sour gas market could see a classification into two main segments, i.e. Selexol process and amine gas treatment. The Selexol process is studied to render sour gas more stable and suitable for combustion and further processes. Sour gas could be recovered clean with the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and H2S while using Selexol as a solvent. Selexol solvent could be put to use to recover CO2 and H2S separately. It extracts acid from the feed gas during the process at a comparatively higher pressure, i.e. between 2.07 to 13.8 MPa, than other solvents.
Sour gas could also be treated with the use of amine gas that helps to do away with H2S and CO2. Different aqueous solutions of several alkylamines are used in a group of procedures incorporated by the gas sweetening process – another term for amine gas treatment. This type of gas treatment is extensively adopted in petrochemical and natural gas processing plants and refineries at the commercial level.
The production rate of sour gas is envisaged to be high in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. South America covers key sour gas reserves in Columbia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. For North America, Canada’s Alberta and the U.S.’ Gulf of Mexico could serve as chief sour gas reserves. The international sour gas market features top players such as Petro-Hunt LLC, Spectra Energy Corp., and Keyera.