Gazprom Relies on Pentair Thermal Management to Keep Gas Flowing

By Evgeny Lebedev, October 8, 2013

The efficient and fast movement of natural gas from gas fields to processing regions requires a complex transportation system. For many years, pipelines have been the preferred method of transport, favoured for their ability to deliver gas to processing plants quickly across substantial distances. 

However, the movement of natural gas by pipeline still poses challenges. As such, when designing extended pipelines for natural gas, there are a number of considerations for engineers. Safeguarding the delicate conditions of the pipeline is a vital concern. An efficient heat-tracing solution is essential to keep gas flowing safely as it ensures consistent circumstances along the length of a pipeline. Even a minimal change in temperature can cause irreversible damage to the product and create dangerous conditions, leading to, among other things, a risk of a pipeline fracturing or even an explosion. 

Another concern is the creation of regular compressor stations along the length of the line. When transported in pipelines, natural gas needs to be constantly pressurised, ideally at intervals of 40 to 100 miles. This pressure provides the energy required to keep gas moving through the pipeline.

The challenges faced by plant owners and engineers are often compounded by external environmental factors. More and more energy producers are exploring increasingly remote areas to take advantage of newly discovered natural resources. With remote locations often comes extreme weather or environmental conditions which can bring substantial additional strain to pipeline systems. 

Remote Reserves

Siberia is well known for its vast natural gas reserves, but the Yamal peninsula in the far north of Russia is home to the largest reserve in the country. Developing this corner of Siberia has been a long-term strategic aim of global energy company Gazprom, which recently began operations in the area. 

Home to 11 gas and 15 oil, gas and condensate fields, the Yamal peninsula and its offshore regions are rich in natural resources. Located in the far north-western corner of Siberia, this arctic peninsula is predicted to hold up to 22 trillion cubic metres of reserves. The region’s most significant gas field is Bovanenkovo. Predicted to hold up to 4.9 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, Bovanenkovo is expected to produce 46 billion cubic metres of gas in 2013, rising to 115 billion cubic metres by 2017.

The extraction of natural gas from the Bovanenkovo gas field is the largest energy project in Russia’s history. Operated through Gazprom’s subsidiary Yamalgazinvest, the company’s plans include the construction of a 1,100- kilometer pipeline from the Bovanenkovo gas field to the gas processing hub in the city of Ukhta.

Feeling the Cold 

From Bovanenkovo, the pipeline crosses the Arctic Circle and traverses Russia’s subarctic Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District to Ukhta, capital of the Komi Republic. The extended pipeline is located in an exposed region where permafrost is common and temperatures can reach as low as -58 C in winter and as high as 33 C in summer. 

Heat-tracing is vital in such extreme conditions to protect against freezing, which can cause structural harm to