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Midstream 101: The dictionary

Staff Reports

In every business there is a laundry list of terms and acronyms that are used daily. Our list in the midstream industry is long. Really long…and unless you work in the industry you probably wouldn’t know the difference between a separator and a compressor. You might think lean gas is skinny and rich gas has a fat bank account.

It’s our goal to explain things simply and not use confusing words and acronyms. That said, you’ve probably heard terms before and wondered what they heck they mean.

Below are a few key terms you may have heard before. We’ve added definitions to help it all make more sense:

  • Dehydration — Removal of water vapor from the product
  • Treating — Removal of contaminants from the product; some contaminants include water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide
  • Processing — Removal of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) from the gas stream (liquids include ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline)
  • Fractionation — Separation of NGLs
  • Hydrocarbon — An organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon, e.g., methane (CH4 or one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen) or propane (C3H8)
  • Lean Gas — Gas stream that yields little or no liquid hydrocarbons
  • Rich Gas — Gas stream that yields liquids hydrocarbons
  • Sour Gas — Gas containing hydrogen sulfide; smells like a rotten egg
  • Wet Gas — Gas that is water saturated
  • Dry Gas — Gas that has been dehydrated
  • Acid Gas — Waste gas containing hydrogen sulfide and/or carbon dioxide

There’s a start to helping you understand our sometimes-complicated language.

You can learn even more at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) glossary.


Midstream 101 Series

Learn how things work with Midstream 101. Midstream 101 is an educational look at Williams operations. You’ll learn how gas is gathered, to how it’s processed and compressed, along with how […]

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