Natural Gas Compressor Stations and Safety Considerations

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Natural Gas Compressor Stations and Safety Considerations


Why are Compressor Stations Needed?

When natural gas is transported through long-distance pipeline, it is pressurized so it can be controlled and moved through the system. It loses pressure along the way, however, and needs to compressed at compressor stations periodically as it progresses.

These Compressor stations might be anywhere from 40 to 100 miles apart and they receive, store, and deliver gas throughout the pipeline system.

Different Types of Compressors

  1. Turbine compressors – typically powered by a small percentage of the natural gas it takes in, acts as a centrifugal compressor. A fan compresses and pumps the gas through.
  2. Electrical compressors – are powered by electric motors.
  3. Reciprocating natural gas engines – Much like a big car engine, they are powered by the natural gas with powers pistons on the outside, they compress the gas.

Other Jobs of Compressor Stations

Scrubbers and filters inside the compressor stations separate unwanted liquids and debris from the gas. Sometimes water and particles condense out of the stream while traveling. These separators keep the gas pure and clean.

Compressor stations also provide safety precautions such as shutoff valves to isolate and stop compressor units from running. Regular testing of this emergency system is required and Snelson routes the gas around the compressor station during that period.

Monitoring of Compressor Stations

Of course, safety in compressor stations is crucial. Compressor stations are monitored and controlled either remotely or on-site by trained professionals.

Compressor Station Location

Snelson works with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who have very specific guidelines and regulations for the location of compressor stations dependent on environmental impact, design (Looking towards hydraulic performance), and geographic location to name a few.


Environmental Considerations

Compressor stations are only allowed to be slightly louder than your household dishwasher. FERC regulates the noise at 55 decibels. The average dishwasher is 50.

Because the station is powered by the natural gas, emissions are clean and low. (25 parts per million by volume, dry basis.)

Snelson and Compressor Stations

Snelson has been a leader in Natural Gas Compressor Station construction and maintenance for decades. Our station construction services include construction, maintenance, expansion, upgrading, and repair. Learn more about Snelson’s station construction services here.