25 Oct 2021

How Fuel Treatment Creates Value from Waste


Gas flaring - a huge waste and a significant cost

Gas flaring is a big global problem. It may have reduced from 150 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2019 to 142 bcm in 2020, but that’s still enough gas to power sub-Saharan Africa. And whilst operators in the USA are getting better at reducing flaring, the country remains one of the top seven gas flaring nations worldwide.

Not only is it a huge waste of potential energy, but gas flaring also releases a range of pollutants into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon. These methane emissions contribute significantly to global warming in the short to medium term, because methane is over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide on a 20-year basis.

So how is Aggreko helping oil producers reduce both their impact on the environment and wastage of potential power?

The Permian Basin in the southwestern United States contains hundreds of oil fields that have been drilled for over 100 years. However, as the easier-to-reach oil supplies have been depleted, and as environmental pressures have forced changes in the way it is extracted, it is now much more challenging for operators in the region to remain competitive.

We helped one customer who had three major issues with their production operations:

  • Gas flaring was charged at $1/Mscf
  • 4.5MW of power was needed to run the site, but there was no local utility available and the flare gas was unsuitable for fuel use. As a result, they needed to use compressed natural gas (CNG) to fuel their power generation package.
  • As it was a direct producer operation, the compressor station and pipeline limitations prevented the sale of flare gas and forced flaring for up to 70% of the time.

They came to Aggreko looking for a solution to these problems that would allow them to cut their flaring and fueling costs whilst still producing as much oil so that they could become more competitive in a market with ever-increasing demands.

A bespoke solution for a complex operation

There was no existing solution for this particular set of problems, but that is where our expert engineers come into their own. After a detailed analysis of the operations of the site, we determined that all three issues could be solved in one swoop by creating a pioneering system that allowed condensates to be dropped from the gas stream.

  • Firstly, this process would consume one-third of the 3MMscf/day flare gas produced, resulting in a reduction in flaring charges of $90,000 per month. 
  • Secondly, it generated 5MW of clean electricity - more than enough to power the entire operation, saving over $250,000 per month in CNG costs. 
  • And finally, it produced 5000 gallons of Y grade condensate every day, which could be stored at 200psi and then transported by truck to be sold. This created a new revenue stream of $75,000 per month which otherwise would have been completely wasted.

Uptime and reliability are key to any successful oil and gas operation so our unique system was designed and laid out to give n+1 redundancy as well as a CNG backup in case of a loss of flare gas. So whilst some CNG was still required, it cost only $45,000 per month instead of the $300,000 per month prior to our solution being installed.

Save money, save the world

Even after factoring in the cost of the equipment from Aggreko, the savings and additional revenue stream created, totaling $420,000 per month, there was a significant increase in profits for the operator. And as the condensate had to be removed to provide power for oil production they were able to retain ownership under their existing contract.

So as you can see, fuel treatment is not only proven to improve your green credentials but will give a fantastic return on investment with increased profits too. Get in touch with Aggreko today and let us show you just how much of a difference we can make to your operations.