The role of the midstream gas processing industry is to separate the various components of raw natural gas received from producing gas wells. In the U.S. today, there are over 600 midstream gas processing facilities in service and 34 under construction. The U.S. EIA estimates the market size of the midstream industry to be 14.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE) in 2012.
Raw natural gas consists of a mixture of hydrocarbons, mainly methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), butane (C4H10), and with a small fraction of longer chain molecules. It can also contain water, inert components (nitrogen, CO2, noble gases) and contaminants such as sulfur or mercury. The main product of a midstream gas processing plant is dry gas (predominantly methane). Also known as sales gas, dry gas meets pipeline specifications and can be transported to residential and industrial customers who use it for heating and/or power generation.
In addition to sales gas, the midstream industry also produces a number of valuable products for large and varied markets. For example, ethane is used as a raw material in the petrochemical industry; propane is used as heating fuel; butane can be converted into synthetic rubber or blended in gasoline to increase the octane number; and the liquid hydrocarbons (pentanes and heavier molecules) can be mixed with unconventional heavy oil to enable its transportation by pipeline. In general, the longer the hydrocarbon molecule, the more valuable it is.
Siluria's OCM + ETL technology enables midstream operators to increase profitability of gas processing plants by converting methane and ethane, the two most prevalent and lowest value raw natural gas components, to high value products such as gasoline or high purity ethylene. Siluria’s midstream design uses standard, off the shelf modular units of modern gas processing plants, so OCM+ETL technology can be easily integrated with either an existing or a newly constructed plant. Access to the OCM + ETL technology gives the midstream operator a steady pipeline of capital-efficient projects, generating incremental cash flows for distribution.