September 2011, Vol. 238 No. 9


Variable Speed Drives For Gas Compressors

Tanya Molnar, Converteam, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Power conversion specialist Converteam has been commissioned by Chipeta Processing LLC to supply a complete variable speed drive system (VSDS) to control two natural gas compressor trains at the Chipeta Processing Plant in Utah. The system is expected to save an estimated $2 million per year in energy costs.

The conversion specialist was chosen because of its proven VSDS technology, which offers energy savings and enhanced process control. The VSDS is an arch flash rated, 36-pulse PWM MV7000 drive that is designed to operate two 32,000-hp 12-kV synchronous motors over a speed range of 900-1,800 rpm. Associated motor control centers (MCCs) and e-house buildings — along with control and protection systems — are also part of the scope of supply.

The VSDS and the driven compressors are key to the operations of the NGL separation plant and the natural gas transportation facilities at the Chipeta Processing site. The Chipeta Plant will have cryogenic and refrigeration processing capacity totaling 750 MMcf/d. The electric-driven compression and centralized zero-emission dehydration units carry the added benefit of minimizing emissions and increasing online performance.

According to Nick Cicero, vice president of North American business for Converteam, “Our environmentally friendly and highly reliable technology is designed to provide energy savings and the enhanced process control required to operate both the NGL plant and gas transportation facilities.” For information visit


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