Why Are Compressor Stations Important?

2020 October1

Earlier this year, we learned What is a Natural Gas Compressor Station is, but we didn’t dive into too much detail about why compressor stations are so important to our natural gas infrastructure. This article explains why natural gas compressor stations are an essential part of our oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure.

What Are Compressor Stations?

Compressor stations are facilities found along a natural gas pipeline used to compress natural gas to a specific pressure to allow it to move freely along the pipeline toward the intended customer. These stations compress the gas to a specified pressure–which can be anywhere from 200 to 1500 psi–which allows it to keep traveling along the pipeline to the intended recipient. A typical compressor station also does the following:

A compressor station using ASME flanges

Keeps the Gas Moving through the Pipeline

As the gas moves through the pipeline network it tends to slow down, so engineers construct compressor stations about every 40 to 70 miles (depending on the terrain) along the pipeline to keep the gas moving toward its destination.

Routes Natural Gas into Storage During Low Demand

Compressor stations also can transport natural gas to storage areas during periods of low demand.

Houses the PIG Launchers and PIG Catchers

In addition, compressor stations house instrumentation known as Pipeline Inspection Gauges (PIGs) allow pipeline operators to perform various operations on the pipelines without disrupting the flow of oil or gas within them. The PIG launcher is a funnel-shaped y-section in the pipeline that helps build pressure within the pipeline to keep the flow moving along until it is trapped by the PIG catcher. The “pigging” process was named because of the squealing sound the gas makes as it is pushed through the pipeline. The pigging systems monitor the flow as well as clean the pipeline to help prevent contamination.

Filters Impurities

As the gas travels through the pipeline it causes water and other hydrocarbons to condense from the gas. Compressor stations use scrubbers, strainers, and filters to separate these things, plus remove dirt and other impurities from the gas flow.

Need Flanges, Nozzles, or Other Pressure Vessel Components for Your Compressor Station?

Let Forged Components supply them for you.  We provide a complete line of industrial forged flanges and nozzles for the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. For more information, call us at (281) 441-4088 or contact us online to get a quote from our sales staff.

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