NOVA’s Alberta Gas Transmission Division transports natural gas via pipeline throughout the province of Alberta, Canada, exporting it to eastern Canada, United States, and British Columbia. There is a continuing effort to operate the facilities and pipeline at the highest possible efficiency. One area being addressed to improve efficiency is compression of the gas. By improving compressor efficiency, fuel consumption and hence operating costs can be reduced. One method of improving compressor efficiency is by converting the compressor to an axial inlet configuration, a conversion that has been carried out more frequently in the past years. Concurrently, conventional hydrodynamic bearings have been replaced with magnetic bearings on many centrifugal compressors. This paper discusses the design and installation for converting a radial overhung unit to an axial inlet configuration, having both magnetic bearings and a thrust reducer. The thrust reducer is required to reduce axial compressor shaft loads, to a level that allows the practical installation of magnetic bearings within the space limitations of the compressor (Bear and Gibson, 1992).

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