March 5, 2007

Advanced natural gas dehydration process to be tested at Vaperma facility

A public-private partnership involving Vaperma, EnCana Corporation and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) will test a potential breakthrough in natural gas dehydration technology at a demonstration facility in Quebec. The technology, developed by Vaperma, has the potential to significantly reduce the emissions and energy consumption associated with traditional natural gas processing.

The three-year, $5-million project is being funded through EnCana's Environmental Innovation Fund (providing $2.5 million), with $1.6 million coming from SDTC (a portion of SDTC's $4.65 million funding to Vaperma for a natural gas and ethanol dehydration project) and the remaining $900,000 from Vaperma.

`Raw natural gas requires dehydration in order to avoid the formation of hydrates, reduce corrosion, and meet sales specifications before it can be sold for uses such as home and hot water heating and barbeque fuel. Traditionally, a glycol-based process has been used for natural gas dehydration.

Vaperma's new technology has potential to offer an environmentally-friendly, energy-saving alternative to glycol natural gas dehydration. Once proven, the technology is expected to significantly reduce air emissions in the dehydration process by replacing glycol with a new membrane-based technology called Siftek(TM). The newly patented technology uses a solvent and a temperature-resistant membrane to complete the dehydration process.

The Siftek(TM) technology will be tested at Vaperma's new research and technology centre in Quebec City. The facility will test various membrane configurations at different natural gas pressures and temperatures. The follow-up phase of the project will demonstrate Vaperma's membrane systems at pre-commercial scale using a wellhead natural gas feed owned by EnCana in Alberta.

"Membrane-based technology offers a promising alternative to conventional processes for natural gas dehydration," said Vaperma president and CEO Claude L├ętourneau. "Benefits are expected to compare favorably to conventional technologies due to reduced energy consumption, no chemicals being required in the process, and reduced emissions. Once demonstrated, Vaperma's Siftek(TM) technology could prove to be a significant innovation in the natural gas processing industry as a replacement for glycol dehydration and amine scrubbing processes."

More information on the Vaperma process and the advanced natural gas dehydration project is available from Suzanne Roy at Vaperma, 418/839-6989, ext 122, FAX 418/834-8225, E-mail, Web site

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