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Talha Imtiaaz
Department Of Chemical Engineering
Wah Engineering College, Wahcantt


The Oil and Gas Development Company Limited is the largest oil and gas Company in Pakistan and is the
flagship of the country’s E&P sector in terms of reserves, production and acreage and is listed on all three
stock exchanges in Pakistan and also on the London Stock Exchange as of December 2006. Established on
20th September 1961 OGDCL quickly grew to becoming the largest exploration and production entity in

Plant Installation
During the installation of plant, there are several factors which need to be taken care of. Some of them are
as follows

The area in which the plant is to be installed is checked for the facilities it possess e.g. hospitals, market,
environment, suitable natural conditions etc.

The nature of the labour in the area matters a lot because it will be their nature, capabilities and cooperation
which will help a plant in the future

The transport in the area matters a lot because the lack of proper transport can greatly influence the work
of a plant.

Besides these, there are several other factors that matter during the plant installation which are named as:

 Attractiveness of region
 Utility availability
 Proximity to raw material

Layout strategy is so important stage in an industry. It is selected according to the nature of industry as
there are many types of layouts.

But, in oil and gas industries, we use the “Process Layout”.

The type of layout in which the machines/sections are installed according to process which is to be done

The important feature while selecting a layout, “it should have a short lead time”

We want a continuous production rate without any interruption, then decrease the cycle time to increase the
production rate.


The ratio of successful wells to unsuccessful is such that if 7 wells are dug, then 4 of them will be
unsuccessful and 3 will be successful i.e. the ratio of successful to unsuccessful wells is 4:3

By unsuccessful we mean that the input cost and the output don’t match up and result in loss. This does not
mean that there is no production; rather the production is not according to the input given.
Established in 1989 the Dakhni Gas/condensate processing plant is the oldest gas processing plants still
operational for OGDCL. It is also the only field processing sour gas and recovering sulfur as a major


Crude oil 56000 barrels per day 750 barrels per day
Natural gas 1120mmscfd 27-29mmscfd
LPG 180 metric tons per day 7-10 metric tons per day
Sulphur 75-90 metric tons per day 75-90 metric tons per day


The DAKHNI oil field has been divided into different areas and each area has been given an area code. The
reason for this exercise is that each area can be identified accessed easily without any problem.

In Dakhni, the academic process was divided in three departments.

 Safety Department
 Maintenance Department
 Process Department

Since Dakhni is the only field of OGDCL where both sweet and sour wells are found, so considerable safety
measures have to be taken to avoid any major accident or emergency. For this purpose, a well established
safety department and a well trained safety crew is developed to tackle any emergency.


One of the most important equipment of the DAKHNI plant is the multi-gas detector. It has the ability to
detect different gases which are as follows

 Oxygen
 Carbon monoxide
 Hydrogen Sulphide
 Low explosive limit

In maintenance department, our basic concern is the retain the working and efficiency of different
mechanical equipments installed in the plant. Moreover, if there are some sorts of leakages or other
problems in the equipment, then the fixation of those equipments is the concern of maintenance department.
In order to fix the equipment, a proper understanding of the equipment, their working and most importantly,
the type of maintenance required must be known.

Maintenance is defined as the set of activities to keep the machine/equipment running at the set

Depending upon the nature of problem, there are different types of maintenances. Some of them are defined

 Break down maintenance

 Preventive maintenance
 Condition based maintenance
 Corrective maintenance
 Predictive maintenance


In this type, the equipment, suddenly stops while running due to unknown and unexpected reasons and
immediate faults. Break down of a major equipment is a big loss for the plant because the process is
interrupted and there is production loss. E.g. In Dakhni plant, if there is some sort of break down, then the
plant faces a loss of 80-100 million dollars and the time that the plant takes to return back to its proper
condition is 24-36 hrs. So in short, break down is a big loss and must be avoided at any condition. Examples
of break down include failure of pump, turbines etc.

By preventive, it is clear that the equipment is running at a desired output and is giving an accurate
efficiency but we just do some routine checks to ensure proper running and output of the equipment. There
is a proper schedule that needs to be followed according to which the equipment needs to be maintained or
some parts of it may need to be replaced. This time period is particular for an equipment and is given by
the company that manufactures the equipment. E.g. we change the engine oil after a certain period, which
comes under preventive maintenance.


In this type of maintenance, we do the maintenance according to some data. E.g. if the temperature of a
machine on a scale has increased beyond a certain set point, then the machine needs some maintenance and
this shows that there is some issue that needs our attention. The machine may still be giving us our desired
output but it may be very close to breakdown.

Predictive maintenance is almost the same as condition based maintenance. The only difference is that the
condition based maintenance is done on some data basis but in predictive maintenance, we don’t have a
data or a problem indicator rather we can predict a problem from the sound of machine or maybe its
vibration. Predictive maintenance is basically dependent upon experience.
If we add one step of correction in the preventive maintenance then it will be corrective maintenance. E.g.
if we check the tire pressure and it comes out to be lesser than required, then the corrective step of making
it to the correct level will be corrective maintenance.

The incoming raw feed from the wells is first entered into the separators where the components are
separated on the basis of their densities. The raw feed actually consists of water, NGL and gases. As the
feed enters the separator, there is a momentum plate slightly tilted to break the momentum because such
high pressure of feed can damage the separator. As soon as the feed strikes the momentum plate, the gases
being the lightest of the remaining feed components, separate out and move towards the upper area of the
separator. The liquid components of the feed settle down among which water being the denser settles at the
bottom above which the oil settles. There are three outputs of the separator, one each for the gas, oil and
water. The liquids move out of the vessel based on their levels with the help of level control valves. When
their level reaches a certain limit, the LCVs open up and hence the sorted components move out in their
respective lines.

The Dakhni processing plant has 3 operational high pressure separators ( 1 sweet, 2 sour), 1 test separator
and 1 low pressure separator. The high pressure separators work constantly and are the plant's primary
separators. The low pressure separator acts a fall back separator incase of a disruption in the plant's working.
It simply acts a step down pressure vessel so that the incoming feed can be stored (well feed at 1140-1300
psi cannot be directly allowed into storage vessels as they pose a risk of damage to the vessel). The test
separator, as the name suggests is used to test new wells. It checks several parameters of the incoming feed
over a time period of 24 hours, which can be analyzed and subsequently adjustments can be made.

Amine Gas Treating:

Amine gas treating, also known as amine scrubbing, gas sweetening and acid gas removal, refers to a group
of processes that use aqueous solutions of various alkylamines (commonly referred to simply as amines) to
remove hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from gases. It is a common unit process used in
refineries, and is also used in petrochemical plants, natural gas processing plants and other industries.
Processes within oil refineries or chemical processing plants that remove hydrogen sulfide are referred to
as "sweetening" processes because the odor of the processed products is improved by the absence of
hydrogen sulfide. An alternative to the use of amines involves membrane technology. However, membrane
separation is less attractive due to the relatively high capital and operating costs as well as other technical

The most commonly used amines in industrial plants are the alkanolamines DEA, MEA, and MDEA. These
amines are also used in many oil refineries to remove sour gases from liquid hydrocarbons such as liquified
petroleum gas (LPG).

Glycol dehydration:
Glycol dehydration is a liquid desiccant system for the removal of water from natural gas and
natural gas liquids (NGL). It is the most common and economical means of water removal from
these streams.Glycols typically seen in industry include triethylene glycol (TEG), diethylene
glycol (DEG), ethylene glycol (MEG), and tetraethylene glycol (TREG). TEG is the most
commonly used glycol in industry.

The purpose of a glycol dehydration unit is to remove water from natural gas and natural gas
liquids. When produced from a reservoir, natural gas usually contains a large amount of water and
is typically completely saturated or at the water dew point. This water can cause several problems
for downstream processes and equipment. At low temperatures the water can either freeze in piping
or, as is more commonly the case, form hydrates with CO2 and hydrocarbons (mainly methane
hydrates). Depending on composition, these hydrates can form at relatively high temperatures
plugging equipment and piping. Glycol dehydration units depress the hydrate formation point of
the gas through water removal.

Without dehydration, a free water phase (liquid water) could also drop out of the natural gas as it
is either cooled or the pressure is lowered through equipment and piping. This free water phase
will often contain some portions of acid gas (such as H2S and CO2) and can cause corrosion.

Process Description:
Lean, water-free glycol (purity >99%) is fed to the top of an absorber (also known as a "glycol contactor")
where it is contacted with the wet natural gas stream. The glycol removes water from the natural gas by
physical absorption and is carried out the bottom of the column. Upon exiting the absorber the glycol stream
is often referred to as "rich glycol". The dry natural gas leaves the top of the absorption column and is fed
either to a pipeline system or to a gas plant. Glycol absorbers can be either tray columns or packed columns.

After leaving the absorber, the rich glycol is fed to a flash vessel where hydrocarbon vapors are removed
and any liquid hydrocarbons are skimmed from the glycol. This step is necessary as the absorber is typically
operated at high pressure and the pressure must be reduced before the regeneration step. Due to the
composition of the rich glycol, a vapor phase having a high hydrocarbon content will form when the
pressure is lowered.
After leaving the flash vessel, the rich glycol is heated in a cross-exchanger and fed to the stripper (also
known as a regenerator). The glycol stripper consists of a column, an overhead condenser, and a reboiler.
The glycol is thermally regenerated to remove excess water and regain the high glycol purity.

The hot, lean glycol is cooled by cross-exchange with rich glycol entering the stripper. It is then fed to a
lean pump where its pressure is elevated to that of the glycol absorber. The lean solvent is cooled again
with a trim cooler before being fed back into the absorber. This trim cooler can either be a cross-exchanger
with the dry gas leaving the absorber or an air-cooled exchanger

The Cryogenic Expansion Process:

Cryogenic processes are also used to extract NGLs from natural gas. While absorption methods can extract
almost all of the heavier NGLs, the lighter hydrocarbons, such as ethane, are often more difficult to recover
from the natural gas stream. In certain instances, it is economic to simply leave the lighter NGLs in the
natural gas stream. However, if it is economic to extract ethane and other lighter hydrocarbons, cryogenic
processes are required for high recovery rates. Essentially, cryogenic processes consist of dropping the
temperature of the gas stream to around -120 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a number of different ways of chilling the gas to these temperatures, but one of the most effective
is known as the turbo expander process. In this process, external refrigerants are used to cool the natural
gas stream. Then, an expansion turbine is used to rapidly expand the chilled gases, which causes the
temperature to drop significantly. This rapid temperature drop condenses ethane and other hydrocarbons in
the gas stream, while maintaining methane in gaseous form. This process allows for the recovery of about
90 to 95 percent of the ethane originally in the gas stream. In addition, the expansion turbine is able to
convert some of the energy released when the natural gas stream is expanded into recompressing the
gaseous methane effluent, thus saving energy costs associated with extracting ethane.

The extraction of NGLs from the natural gas stream produces both cleaner, purer natural gas, as well as the
valuable hydrocarbons that are the NGLs themselves.

Sulphur Recovery Unit:

The Claus process is the most significant gas desulfurizing process, recovering elemental sulfur from
gaseous hydrogen sulfide. First patented in 1883 by the chemist Carl Friedrich Claus, the Claus process has
become the industry standard. C. F. Claus was born in Kassel in the German State of Hessen in 1827, and
studied chemistry in Marburg before he emigrated to England in 1852. Claus died in London in the year

The multi-step Claus process recovers sulfur from the gaseous hydrogen sulfide found in raw natural gas
and from the by-product gases containing hydrogen sulfide derived from refining crude oil and other
industrial processes. The by-product gases mainly originate from physical and chemical gas treatment units
(Selexol, Rectisol, Purisol and amine scrubbers) in refineries, natural gas processing plants and gasification
or synthesis gas plants. These by-product gases may also contain hydrogen cyanide, hydrocarbons, sulfur
dioxide or ammonia.
Gases with an H2S content of over 25% are suitable for the recovery of sulfur in straight-through Claus
plants while alternate configurations such as a split-flow set up or feed and air preheating can be used to
process leaner feeds.

Hydrogen sulfide produced, for example, in the hydro-desulfurization of refinery naphthas and other
petroleum oils, is converted to sulfur in Claus plantsThe reaction proceeds in two steps:

2 H2S +3 O2 → 2 SO2 + 2 H2O

4 H2S +2 SO2 → 3 S2 + 4 H2O

The temperature inside Claus furnace is often maintained above 1050°C[9][10]. This ensures BTEX
(Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl benzene and Xylene) destruction which otherwise would clog downstream Claus

Gases containing ammonia, such as the gas from the refinery's sour water stripper (SWS), or hydrocarbons
are converted in the burner muffle. Sufficient air is injected into the muffle for the complete combustion of
all hydrocarbons and ammonia. The air to the acid gas ratio is controlled such that in total 1/3 of all hydrogen
sulfide (H2S) is converted to SO2. This ensures a stoichiometric reaction for the Claus reaction in the
second catalytic step (see next section below).

The separation of the combustion processes ensures an accurate dosage of the required air volume needed
as a function of the feed gas composition. To reduce the process gas volume or obtain higher combustion
temperatures, the air requirement can also be covered by injecting pure oxygen. Several technologies
utilizing high-level and low-level oxygen enrichment are available in industry, which requires the use of a
special burner in the reaction furnace for this process option.

Usually, 60 to 70% of the total amount of elemental sulfur produced in the process are obtained in the
thermal process step.

The main portion of the hot gas from the combustion chamber flows through the tube of the process gas
cooler and is cooled down such that the sulfur formed in the reaction step condenses. The heat given off by
the process gas and the condensation heat evolved are utilized to produce medium or low-pressure steam.
The condensed sulfur is removed at the liquid outlet section of the process gas cooler.
The sulfur forms in the thermal phase as highly reactive S2 diradicals which combine exclusively to the S8

4 S2 → S8

Pumps are the devices that convert mechanical energy in pressure energy or convert kinetic energy
into potential energy.

Pumps are one of the most important equipments in the field. They are used to move the liquid from one
place to another and to move the liquid to higher places. Wherever, there are towers in the field that involve
showering of some chemical from the top, it has a pump attached to it in order to move the chemical to the

There are two basic types of pumps known as

 Positive Displacement Pumps

 Centrifugal Pumps


 Positive displacement pumps involve non-continuous flow. However their speed is so high that the
non-continuous flow is quite difficult to notice. The non-continuous flow is occurring due to the
feed given into the pump only by the forward motion of the plunger.
 Positive displacement pumps work at high pressure and low discharge

The positive displacement pumps are further divided into

 Reciprocating pumps
 Rotary pumps

Reciprocating pumps move the fluid using one or more oscillating pistons, plungers, or membranes
(diaphragms), while valves restrict fluid motion to the desired direction. The reciprocating pumps are
further divided into

 Piston and cylinder type

 Piston and plunger type

The piston and plunger type pump is used for high pressure and low discharge whereas the piston and
cylinder type is used for very high pressure and low discharge. The only difference lies in the thickness of
plunger which increases the pressure.
Positive displacement rotary pumps move fluid using a rotating mechanism that creates a vacuum that
captures and draws in the liquidThe rotary pumps have a lot of types that include screw type, gear type,
loop type pumps etc.

 Centrifugal pumps involve continuous flow with a smooth running. The feed enters the pump not
only in the forward motion of plunger but also in the backward motion of plunger.
 Centrifugal pumps work at low pressure and high discharge


The centrifugal pumps may be single staged or multi-staged. Single stage pumps have only a solo impeller
whereas the multi-stage pumps have more than one impeller where each impeller increases the energy of
the fluid in steps to give a final output of highly energized fluid.


The centrifugal pumps may be installed in parallel to increase the flow and in series to increase the pressure
of fluid.

Knock out vessels are used to slow down gases and allow liquids to fall out of the gas stream. Knock out
drums can be installed either in the waste gas header, or in the flare stack base itself. Knock out drums can
be configured in either a horizontal or vertical arrangement.

In Dakhni plant, the example of knockout drum is the sweet gas carrying amine to some extent. As the gas
enters the knockout drum, it expands, the amine settles down and the sweet gas moves to the top. In this
way, the liquid-gas combination is separated.

An air compressor is a device that converts power (usually from an electric motor, a diesel engine or
a gasoline engine) into kinetic energy by compressing and pressurizing air, which, on command, can
be released in quick bursts.

The compressors have similar types as a pump with similar names. The only difference is that the single
stage centrifugal compressor has a single cylinder and multistage centrifugal compressor has multiple

The amount by which the compressor compresses the fluid is determined by the compression ratio which
is defined as

The ratio of output pressure to input pressure of fluid

This ratio is always lesser than one because the input pressure is always greater than the output pressure of
Generally used for incompressible fluids Generally used for compressible fluids
The temperature of the fluid is not increased Increases the temperature of compressed fluid
Pumped fluid cannot be stored Can store the compressed fluid

Air compressors & PDP’s High pressure

Blowers & centrifugal pumps Constant supply

Due to adiabatic heating, compressors require some method of disposing of waste heat. Generally this is
some form of air- or water-cooling, although some compressors may be cooled by oil. There are certain
cooling circuits in which the coolants move to ensure proper cooling.

A pressure vessel is a closed container designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially
different from the ambient pressure.

The basic reason of calling them pressure vessels is because their pressure is greater than the atmospheric
14.5 psi. e.g. heat exchangers, towers etc.


The hydro test is organized for pressure vessels in order to check their running and performance. In this
test, the vessel is maintained at a pressure and temperature of 1.5 times the design of vessel and twice the
operating temperature and pressure. These conditions are held for 30-40 minutes and by the help of data
accumulated in this test, we judge the performance of the vessel and its efficiency.

A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to


There are several types of heat exchangers, some major of which are as follows

 Shell and tube heat exchanger

 Double pipe heat exchanger
 Plate heat exchanger
The double-pipe heat exchanger is one of the simplest types of heat exchangers. It is called a double-pipe
exchanger because one fluid flows inside a pipe and the other fluid flows between that pipe and another
pipe that surrounds the first. This is a concentric tube construction.


Shell and tube heat exchangers consist of series of tubes. One set of these tubes contains the fluid that must
be either heated or cooled. The second fluid runs over the tubes that are being heated or cooled so that it
can either provide the heat or absorb the heat required. These types of heat exchangers are installed in
DAKHNI plant.


Another type of heat exchanger is the plate heat exchanger. One is composed of multiple, thin, slightly
separated plates that have very large surface areas and fluid flow passages for heat transfer. This stacked-
plate arrangement can be more effective, in a given space, than the shell and tube heat exchanger


There are three primary classifications of heat exchangers according to their flow arrangement.

 Parallel flow heat exchanger

 Counter flow heat exchanger

 Cross flow heat exchanger


In parallel-flow heat exchangers, the two fluids enter the exchanger at the same end, and travel in parallel
to one another to the other side.


In counter-flow heat exchangers the fluids enter the exchanger from opposite ends. The counter current
design is the most efficient, in that it can transfer the most heat from the heat transfer medium due to the
fact that the average temperature difference along any unit length is greater.


In a cross-flow heat exchanger, the fluids travel roughly perpendicular to one another through the
exchanger. For efficiency, heat exchangers are designed to maximize the surface area of the wall between
the two fluids, while minimizing resistance to fluid flow through the exchanger.

A turbine is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into
useful work
The blades of turbines are of different types depending upon the flow and pressure of fluid etc.

There are three basic types of turbines

 Gas turbines
 Steam turbines
 Hydro turbines

The operating condition of gas turbine is Brittan cycle. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to
a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between. The basic operation of the gas turbine is
similar to that of the steam power plant except that air is used instead of water. Fresh atmospheric air flows
through a compressor that brings it to higher pressure. Energy is then added by spraying fuel into the air
and igniting it so the combustion generates a high-temperature flow. This high-temperature high-pressure
gas enters a turbine, where it expands down to the exhaust pressure, producing a shaft work output in the
process. The turbine shaft work is used to drive the compressor and other devices such as an electric
generator that may be coupled to the shaft.

In Dakhni plant, the gas turbines are installed that utilize the gas produced from the plant which makes
them cheaper to use

The basic operation principle of steam turbine is the Rankine cycle. The steam turbine is further of three

 Open cycle gas turbine

 Closed cycle gas turbine
 Semi –closed cycle gas turbine.

Control valves are imperative elements in any system where fluid flow must be monitored and

There are four general types of valves.

 Electronic valves.

 Non-Return valves.

 Electromechanical valves.

 *Mechanical Valves
The movement of the ball or flap that controls flow is controlled electronically through circuits or digitally.
These types of valves have very precise control but can also be very expensive.

These valves allow flow in only one direction, and are common in various industries. When pressure in the
opposite direction is applied, the valve closes. That’s why these valves are called Non-Return valves
because flow in one direction only.

These valves have electro magnets controlling whether the valve is open or closed. These valves can only
be fully open or fully closed

These valves use mechanical energy in the process of opening and closing the actual valve. Larger valves
can be opened and closed using mechanical processes such as levers and pulleys, whereas smaller
mechanical valves can be opened or closed via a turning wheel or pulling a level by hand.

In order to maintain the proper working of the plant equipment, the purpose of the utilization of the
equipment is necessary which requires some basic concept and understanding of the process of plant. The
general process description of the process taking place in the DAKHNI plant is explained below

The input to the gas/condensate processing plant is a mixture of water (unwanted waste product), NGL
(Natural Gas Liquid) and gas (either sour or sweet). This mixture must be separated into nearly pure
individual components before being further processed. The raw feed from the wells enters the separators
where the well feed is separated into the three aforementioned components and sent off to their respective
processing units.

The sour gas (gas containing H2S, CO2 and other acidic gasses) is sent off to the gas sweetening unit where
using counter current gas absorption against a solution of MDEA (Methyl Di Ethanol Amine) which
dissolves all acidic gasses, sweet gas (gas free of acidic impurities) is produced. After the sweetening
process, the gas is sent for dehydration, where –like the sweetening unit- a counter current gas absorption
is carried out against TEG liquid (Tri Ethylene Glycol) which absorbs water, sweet dry is produced, The
sweet dry gas is then sent off to the DPR unit (Dew Point Reduction unit) and then to the LPG recovery
unit where after cooling the gas to liquid form lighter fraction i.e. sales gas is removed and sent via pipelines
to SNGPL (Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited) and the heavier fractions bottled as LPG. The H2S removed
from the gas is further sent to the Sulfur Recovery Unit where, using the Clauss process sulfur is recovered
H2S and shipped off to multiple industries.

The NGL from the separator is passed over to the NGL stabilization unit, where after passing through a
series of heat exchangers the NGL is fed into a stabilizer otherwise known as a NGL fractionators. Here
using a reboiler a thermal siphon is developed and most of the dissolved H2S is removed. H2S is further
removed from the NGL by sparging sales gas through it in a stock tank. The treated NGL is transported via
tankers to refineries.

The water removed from the separator contains traces of both hydrocarbons and acidic gases. These must
be removed prior to disposal as they both pose serious threats to the surrounding environment and wild life.
Using two knockout drums both these components are removed from the water and disposed of via flares.

The overall environment of the plant and with the helping nature of every member of the staff from the
plant manager to the unit operators, the field was a real learning opportunity for me. This internship
provided valuable industrial exposure.

Overall the internship was an amazing experience for me and indeed proved to be some of the best and
most academically memorable weeks of my life.