Energy & Infrastructure

Midstream 101: Natural gas processing

Staff Reports
8/5/21 5:59:23 AM — Williams photoshoot at Transco Station 610. Photo by Shane Bevel

What is natural gas processing? It’s similar to the gas gathering process, in that, the gathered gas can’t stay in the gathering lines. It has to be moved to a processing facility, to a larger transmission system, to storage or a shipping point.

Much of the gas that comes from the ground in not ready to be used by consumers; it must be treated and processed first. This means the various contaminants, natural gas liquids and water must be separated to leave behind the purest natural gas possible. You may hear it referred to as “pipeline quality” natural gas.

If there are impurities such as carbon dioxide in the gas stream, they are removed in the treating process.

Water is removed from the gas stream in a dehydration process. Other components that may be separated include natural gas liquids (NGLs) such as propane, ethane and butane. The NGLs must be broken down further during a process called fractionation to be useful.

The pipeline quality natural gas moves from the processing plant to transmission lines, which take the product to different parts of the country and ultimately to your home.

Energy & Infrastructure

Midstream 101 Series

Learn how things work with Midstream 101. Midstream 101 is an educational look at Williams operations. You’ll …