A gas-processing plant, is designed to recover ethane, propane, butane, and other natural gas liquids from the gas stream. A condensate stabilizer also recovers some portion of these liquids. The colder the temperature of the gas leaving the overhead condenser in a reflux stabilizer, or the colder the feed stream in a cold-feed stabilizer, and the higher the pressure in the tower, the greater the recovery of these components as liquids. Indeed, any stabilization process that leads to recovery of more molecules in the final liquid product is removing those molecules from the gas stream. In this sense, a stabilizer may be considered as a simple form of a gas-processing plant.
It is difficult to determine the point at which a condensate stabilizer becomes a gas plant. Typically, if the liquid product is sold as a condensate, the device would be considered a condensate stabilizer. If the product is sold as a mixed natural gas liquid stream (NGL) or is fractionated into its various components, the same process would be considered a gas plant. The least volatile NGL stream has an RVP between 10 and 14 and has sufficient light hydrocarbons such that 25% of the total volume is
vaporized at 140°F.