October 7, 2016
This week we hosted WA State Minister Sean L’Estrange at our Gas Processing Laboratories at the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) in Kensington. Professor May presented briefly on the Training Centre for LNG Futures, our research and Micro-Scale LNG Plant project before touring the laboratories. The lab tour covered aspects of the LNG production process; flow assurance (subsea pipelines), separation of impurities from natural gas and liquefaction.
Flow Assurance In the Hydrates laboratory we presented the research we do to ensure gas from subsea wells can be delivered to processing equipment in a safe and efficient manner. It is critical to ensure pipeline blockages by gas hydrates (gas-water ice structures) do not form. A key part of our research is to understand the formation of these hydrates and how they can be inhibited and managed.
Separation Processes Prior to liquefying natural gas impurities including carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen must be removed. The Minister viewed our lab scale separation equipment (Dual Reflux Pressure Swing Adsorption pilot plant) where we are able to test novel adsorbents developed by our researchers.
Liquefaction Finally we toured the LNG research facility which includes the cryogenic distillation column recently designed and constructed in collaboration with CSIRO. The column allows testing of fluid properties at conditions (high pressure and low temperatures) found in the liquefaction part of LNG plants. The properties at these cryogenic conditions are often not well understood and our research helps improve design and operation of LNG Plant.
On conclusion of the lab tour the Minister joined some of our Research Fellows and PhD Students for morning tea. The Minister spoke with students about their research and how it relates to the LNG industry and developments such as Chevron’s Gorgon and Woodside’s Greater Enfield.
Minister L’Estrange is a member of the governing Liberal part in Western Australia and holds the Ministerial portfolios of Mines and Petroleum, Small Business and Finance.