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The silhouettes of pumpjacks are seen above oil wells

Powering the fields that power North America

Client: BC Operating

Location: Texas, USA

Sectors: Oil and Gas

The challenge

Find a cheap alternative fuel source – quickly

BC Operations in West Texas had limited access to electrical infrastructure, which meant that 16 of its wells were under-performing or shutting down altogether due to a lack of power. A utility upgrade was still six months away but they needed quick, cost-effective power in the interim.

The temporary power source could not include diesel, LPG, LNG or CNG, as these were too expensive and the only other choice was field gas. Unfortunately, the field gas contained dangerous amounts of hydrogen sulphide and a permanent solution for cleaning the gas was also too expensive. So the question was: What could we come up with in the face of all these challenges?

Project fact file

Monthly energy payback 10:1
Under performing wells bought back to 100 per cent capacity 16
Original H2S levels 200 ppm
H2S levels after reduction 0 ppm

The Solution

SulfaBate Towers and gas liquid separators to turn toxic gas into an asset

Our technical specialists assessed the site and realised there could be a cost-effective way of cleaning the toxic gas, turning into a useable fuel in the process. They used a SulfaBate tower to clean the gas and multiple gas-liquid separators to reduce the liquid. This fuel source was then fed into the generators with a temporary flare to purge test gas and the dry desoured gas – then entered 2 x 1 MW natural gas generators that provided additional electricity supply.

The additional power allowed eight wells to switch from rod pump to electrical submersible pumps (ESP) to bring material to the surface. This, in turn, meant field crew could immediately begin drilling new wells.

The impact

Sixteen underperforming wells brought back to 100 per cent capacity

The sulphide levels were reduced from 200 ppm of H2S to 0 ppm and the extra fuel injection into the grid meant submersible pumps could come online to the get wells back to 100 per cent field productivity. The whole set up and installation took less than
a week. This exceeded the customer’s original expectation and delivered a 10:1 monthly energy payback – a significant cost saving in anyone’s book.