Removing impurities is a required step in upgrading the gas so it can be transported by pipeline for commercial use. Shale gas, sometimes referred to as an unconventional gas, is natural gas found in shale rock formations.

According to the International Energy Agency, there are an estimated 921 trillion cubic meters of shale resources around the globe, which is more than five times the proven amount of conventional natural gas reserves.

When complete, the land-based Separex system will remove carbon dioxide from 150 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas processed at the facility. Engineering will be complete this summer and the fabricated system will be delivered in the first quarter of 2011.

The UOP Separex membrane technology upgrades natural gas streams by removing carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and water vapor in a single process to meet the quality standards specified by pipeline transmission companies, as well as end-users of the natural gas.

Separex membrane systems can be installed on-shore or off-shore, require little to no utilities, and provide for very short start-up times and extreme turndown capabilities. Due to the low consumption of materials within the process, membrane technology is particularly desirable in remote locations where logistics make it difficult to transport supplies to site.