How to Diagnose an Energy Exchange Glycol Pump Disruption

Because dehydration systems are complex and must be closely monitored, glycol dehydration troubleshooting is an important and ongoing process in natural gas production. 

If the temperature, pressure, or flow rate change even slightly in your system, a chain reaction can affect the glycol pump and keep the system from functioning properly.  

In this video, Anthony shares tips to help with your glycol dehydration troubleshooting. 

Glycol Dehydration Troubleshooting

 If your pump isn’t stroking, here are seven key questions to help you identify the cause. 

1. What size is the pump?

The Kimray Energy Exchange Glycol Pump is a reliable, low-power solution that provides effective control of your Glycol Dehydration System. 

We have pumps that work within two different production parameters.  

  • A Small Cylinder (or SC pump) is good for 100-500 PSI
  • A Pressure Volume (or PV pump) is good for 300-2,000 PSI

Check the tag on the pump. If you have a small cylinder pump in high pressure application, it could quickly malfunction.

If you have a PV pump in a low pressure application, the pump will not stroke. If this is the case, you’ll need to order the correct pump for your pressure parameters.  

If you aren’t sure what size your pump is, contact your local Kimray representative. 

2. Has anything changed recently?

If you’ve taken on a new well, changed pipelines, or changed control settings on any equipment, your pump could be affected. These changes could influence temperature, pressure and flow rate.  

If something has changed, then you’ll need to ask follow-up questions to discover the cause of the change and adjust your operation accordingly. 

3. Does your dehydration system have a flash separator?

Flash separators are used to provide additional dehydration of natural gas. 

Flash separators create a place where back pressure can be applied to the pump, which can cause it to stall.  

If you have a flash separator set up, what is the pressure set point?  

This pressure will need to be added in as back pressure for the stall point. 

4. Is there much condensate present in the system?

Condensate can cause O-rings to swell and cause drag and not allow the pump to stroke. 

You can check for condensate by taking the pump offline and disassembling it. Watch our video for instructions on how to do that. If the o-rings are swelled, you can order a repair kit and outfit the pump with new o-rings. You may also need to consider adding a flash separator to your system to remove that excess condensate before it gets to the pump.  

5. How long has the pump been on the system and how long has it been in operation? 

There is testing oil in the pump that may cause parts to stick if it has sat too long. 

If a new pump has been on the shelf for over a year, the testing oil may be sticky and cause discharge dart to stick. This would cause the pump to stop.  

Wipe off all the darts and make sure they are free.   

If it’s a rebuilt pump, it should be shop tested. If a pump was rebuilt, but not tested, several problems may be present: pilot piston rod could bind, gland could be rotated off the communication hole, the needle valve stem could be broken inside the valve body, etc. 

Have it tested in a repair shop for leakage. 

6. Are the correct valves on the system open?

There are 8 valves that need to change positions for the system to work. If appropriate valves are not open, pump will not stroke correctly.

Check needle valves, wet inlet and outlet valves, dry suction and discharge valves  

7. Have you changed the filter within the past month?

Filters need to be changed at least monthly and possibly more depending on the condition of the glycol. If not, the filters could be plugged, stopping the pump. 

If you are experiencing damage to the pump itself, check out our post on glycol pump failure causes.

 To speak with an expert about your dehydration system, contact your local Kimray store or authorized distributor.