The main reasons for optimizing new field compressor station designs and for upgrading existing stations are safety considerations, environmental impacts, and economics. With a well designed compressor station it is possible to improve safety and environmental conditions while saving capital and increasing income.
A well designed compressor station will be able to reduce the venting of heavy hydrocarbons from storage tanks, which can increase safety by reducing the possibility of forming explosive vapor clouds near venting tanks. An optimized design can improve safety by reducing the amount of hydrocarbon inventory located at the site. This can also save money by eliminating the need for a site to be covered by OSHA's Process Safety Management.
Improving the environmental conditions by reducing the venting of hydrocarbons from the station's storage tanks is another advantage of a well designed compressor station. The exhaust pollution can also be reduced by utilizing less compressor horsepower and reducing the trucking needs for station supplies and products such as methanol and condensate.
The economic advantages of an optimized compressor station include reduced operating costs and maximized product recovery. Reduction in operating costs are achieved through fuel savings from reduced horsepower requirements and reducing trucking costs. Maintenance activities are also typically less due to less horsepower, freeze ups, etc. Reducing the venting requirements means more gas is recovered as product, resulting in more income.
Evaluating and selecting the best configuration for a compressor station design is an important decision. Many schemes have been evaluated for different situations and compared so that the most cost effective configuration can easily be selected for new or existing station designs.