What Does Gathering System Mean?
A gathering system is a system of gathering lines, flowline networks, and processing facilities. Together the system works to move oil or natural gas from the wells to the main storage site/ facility, or processing plant.
There are two types of gathering systems, namely: the radial and the trunk line gathering systems. A radial gathering system employs a central header pipeline, while a trunk-line gathering system has several header pipes.
A gathering system is also known as a collecting system or gathering facility.
Trenchlesspedia Explains Gathering System
The gathering system consists of equipment to collect, distribute, regulate, and separate oil or natural gas and transport and control its flow from source to destination. The system includes pumps, heaters, separators, emulsion treaters, tanks, regulators, compressors, dehydrators, piping spools, and valves.
Gathering systems are carefully planned for placement and constructed, and include aspects such as flow fundamentals, back pressure, erosion velocities, and hydraulic systems.
Platting laws vary in every state and municipality and are put in place for the development of the gathering system. It ensures the uniform and safe development of land parcels based on existing zoning and land use laws. Before well drilling or installation of a gathering system, preliminary work has to be completed.
A survey team first gathers relevant paperwork such as deeds, tax, and property maps along with zoning laws and survey data. The team will also conduct 3D and aerial laser mapping and assist engineers to develop alignment sheets for the proposed construction. All precautions are taken to ensure a safe and efficient gathering system.
Gas is moved from the wellhead using gathering pipelines and moved to a processing plant. Crude oil and gas move through pipelines specially designed for them and are always separated for transportation, i.e. they are not sent in the same pipeline. This separation happens at the well site. If the natural gas is to be processed, it enters a processing facility in the gathering system which removes corroding impurities like water, carbon dioxide, or sulfur, and inert gasses.
The pipeline network including gathering lines, transmission lines, and distribution lines are regulated by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in the United States.
The processed natural gas next enters the transmission system made with high strength steel pipes with a diameter ranging from 20 to 42 inches. These lines help move large amounts of natural gas thousands of miles to local distribution companies. The pressure of the gas ranges from 200 pounds to 1500 pounds per square inch, depending on the area in which the pipeline is operating.
Every 50 to 60 miles along each pipeline, compressor stations are installed to boost the lost pressure due to friction during the movement of natural gas in the pipe. A central control room allows the equipment to be remotely operated because most of the compressor stations are fully automated.