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LO-CAT® process as a claus tailgas cleanup unit

In 1997, Western Gas Resources selected the LO-CAT® process to treat the amine acid gas generated in their Pinnacle Gas Processing plant located in Tennessee Colony, TX. When the facility’s processing demand exceeded the LO-CAT capacity (2 LTPD of sulfur), Western Gas installed another LO-CAT unit having a capacity of 7 LTPD. In the summer of 2000, Western Gas once again forecasted that future processing requirements would dramatically exceed the sulfur removal capacities of both LO-CAT units combined. Western Gas met this challenge by installing an acid gas enrichment unit, a 40 LTPD, 2 stage Claus unit and a hydrolysis unit. The effluent gas from the hydrolysis unit was then directed to the 7 LTPD LO-CAT unit.

In this scheme, sour natural gas is initially processed in an MDEA amine unit which produces an acid gas stream having 4 to 5% H2S. The acid gas is then furthered processed in an acid gas enrichment unit, which is simply an additional MDEA unit. The rich acid gas from this unit contains 20 to 30% H2S, while the lean acid gas stream contains 5 to 1,000 ppm H2S. The rich stream is directed to the Claus unit and the lean stream is directed to an incinerator.

The Claus unit converts approximately 95% of the H2S in the rich acid gas stream to elemental sulfur while converting a small portion of the H2S to COS, SO2 and CS2. The effluent gas from the Claus unit is then processed in the hydrolysis unit, which converts the COS, CS2, and SO2 to H2S.

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