Over the last few years, Kinder Morgan has made a series of acquisitions that today make up Kinder Morgan Treating LP, the company’s treating division. Thanks to these acquisitions, Kinder Morgan Treating is now the largest provider of contract-operated natural gas treating and dew point services in the United States.
Kinder Morgan Treating plays a critical role in helping its clients meet pipeline specifications in terms of CO2, H2S, hydrocarbon dew point and water vapor. It is through these treating solutions that customers can keep their gas flowing. As part of Kinder Morgan – the largest midstream and the third-largest energy company in North America – Kinder Morgan Treating is also a key part of its parent company’s overall strategic plan.
“The pipeline business is Kinder Morgan’s major focus,” Vice President of Business Development Bill Stokes says. “But the company’s presence in the treating business helps us to move upstream and find ways to provide additional services to our producer customers.”
Ready to Roll
The company has a substantial inventory of skid-mounted natural gas treating plants for CO2 and H2S removal, and it provides in-house project management support so the plants can be rapidly installed. In addition to that work, Kinder Morgan Treating manufactures and leases mechanical refrigeration units (MRUs) and Joule-Thomson (JT) plants.
Kinder Morgan Treating offers two leasing options to clients. The full-service lease option provides equipment and operations to clients for a monthly fee. The equipment-only lease option provides just the equipment to customers for a monthly fee, and the customers operate and maintain the equipment themselves.
In terms of CO2 and H2S removal, Kinder Morgan Treating’s lease fleet has 225 modular amine plants that range from 3.5 GPM to 450 GPM. The modular design allows for reductions in the time and cost of installation. The company offers turnkey installation services that cover everything from cranes for loading and unloading, trucking and transportation, supervision and project management, piping and foundations to parts and pieces, welding crews, electrical crews and plant startup and handoff.
On the service side, a trained Kinder Morgan technician supervises the startup and adjustment of the equipment, as well as the training of equipment operators. Kinder Morgan Treating is available on a 24/7 basis thanks to its fleet of service trucks, service technicians, mechanics and parts inventory.
“We can provide full-service operations where we install the plant and provide the chemicals, repair and maintenance services and have an operator out at the site daily and available to customers around the clock,” according to Stokes. “Or, we can offer the equipment and the producer can operate it. The benefits that we can provide to producers include the fact that we have a large fleet of plants in our inventory that are ready to go, which cuts down on the lead time associated with building plants.”
Other equipment Kinder Morgan Treating provides to customers includes MRUs, and natural gas liquid (NGL) storage tanks and condensate stabilizers. The company’s MRUs are skid mounted and factory assembled at its facility in Tyler, Texas, and they come fully equipped with all necessary equipment, instrumentation, piping and electrical components.
The MRUs are used to remove liquid hydrocarbons from the producer’s gas stream by chilling it down to as low as -40F. In addition to helping the producer meet the pipeline hydrocarbon dew point specification, many producers are using MRUs at the wellhead to process rich gas and enhance revenue. As with its modular amine plants, Kinder Morgan Treating provides customers with installation and start-up assistance for MRU plants as needed.
As for its JT plants, Kinder Morgan Treating has an equipment fleet of 50 JT plants, mounted on a single skid and requiring no electricity or fuel. And with its NGL storage tank business, the company leases pressurized tanks to customers. The tanks range in size from 6,000 to 30,000 gallons.
Another important piece of the Kinder Morgan Treating portfolio is SouthTex Treaters, which Kinder Morgan Treating acquired in 2011. SouthTex Treaters started up in 1986, and is an 84-acre manufacturing facility located in Odessa, Texas. Everything built at SouthTex is newly manufactured, including amine plants, dehydration units, refrigeration plants, and condensate stabilizers.
SouthTex gives Kinder Morgan Treating an opportunity to supply gas treating plants to customers who are interested in owning their own facilities.
“We are seeing strong demand for large plants installed at centralized facilities to treat shale gas,” Vice President of Engineering Joe McLaughlin says. “We manufacture plants so we can replenish our own lease fleet. Given today’s current demands for plants, we will always be looking for ways that we can improve productivity.”
Having been assembled over the last few years, Kinder Morgan Treating has gone through a great deal of effort to integrate the cultures of the acquired pieces of the treating division into the Kinder Morgan family. The integration not only addresses business aspects, but Kinder Morgan is also keenly focused on operating its assets as safely as possible, to protect the public, employees and the environment.
Those efforts have been successful thus far, and as a result the future looks bright for Kinder Morgan Treating. Producers will continue to need equipment that helps them meet various pipeline specifications in terms of removing impurities and corrosive elements to keep their gas flowing.
“There will be continued demand for our CO2 and H2S removal equipment, as well as our MRUs and other equipment,” Stokes says. “We will continue to look to get into new equipment segments and build larger refrigeration plants at the SouthTex facility. We are also building natural gas and condensate stabilizers, and we may consider getting into building cryogenic plants. Overall, we think things look good for the next few years from a demand standpoint.” EMI