Compression 101

690-Horsepower-Three-StageWhat is ‘Compression’?

  • Compression is the reduction in volume and increase in pressure of a gaseous fluid.

Why Compress?

  • Natural gas must be compressed for efficient processing, transportation, and storage.
  • By decreasing the volume and increasing the pressure, pipelines can accommodate much higher gas flow rates.
  • Decreasing well head pressure by ‘sucking’ on the well can increase production of both gas and oil.
  • Natural gas compression can be utilized to enhance recovery of oil through a process called ‘gas lift’, in which natural gas is injected and circulated through a well bore to reduce the hydrostatic pressure thus ‘lifting’ the fluid.

What does it take to Compress gas?

  • Roughly 200 horsepower is required to compress and move 1 MMSCFD (million standard cubic feet per day) of natural gas from a wellhead pressure of 50 PSI to a pipeline pressure of 1200 PSI.

How much Compression is needed?

  • U.S. produces roughly 72,000 MMSCFD, requiring roughly 15 million horsepower for production alone.
  • Tens of millions of additional compression horsepower is required for low pressure production, gas processing, gas-lift, gas storage, CO2 recovery, pipeline boost, and other applications.