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Engineering a novel solution for gas to power drilling rigs

Client: Oil company

Location: Russia

Sectors: Oil and Gas

The Challenge

Develop a solution that enables gas generators to handle typical swing loads of a drilling rig and reduce costs by monetising APG

Drilling rig load profile’s are highly variable with large load steps in the consumption of electrical power, so it can be difficult to implement gas power for drilling projects.

Drilling rigs are usually powered by diesel generators since the engine technology is less sensitive to voltage spikes.

However, this means high costs for Operators as they consume significant amounts of diesel fuel, meaning the electricity obtained this way is expensive, and at the mercy of fluctuating and sometimes volatile diesel prices.

In October 2019, Aggreko won a tender to provide gas power for drilling rigs. The company was contracted by an oil producer specializing in the development, production, testing and introduction of new technologies and equipment to develop hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves and increase oil recovery.

Project fact file

Capacity 7 MW
1375 kVA Gas generators 7x
Substations 2 Transformer

The Solution

Engineering a super capacitor into a gas power centre to stabilise frequency and voltage providing reliable gas power

Previously, the gas-powered drilling model was not achievable due to the lack of a solution that could guarantee the stable operation of gas engines in the conditions of a sharply variable load. However, the use of Aggreko engineered gas engines, together with the installation of a super capacitor allowed us to solve this problem and demonstrate the economic benefit for the oil and gas sector.

As part of the project, Aggreko’s design team proposed a comprehensive solution for the construction of a gas power plant based on seven gas generators with a single capacity of 1375 kVA, two transformer substations and a gas treatment unit. The super capacitor stabilises the frequency and voltage in the network during sudden changes and fluctuations in the consumption of electric power.

The Impact

50% cost reduction to power drilling rigs and emissions reduction

Implementation of this project was a success for our customer, and a giant leap for Aggreko in developing a reliable solution for gas powered drilling.

This novel concept solves several problems: it monetises APG instead of burning it, and it achieved a 50% reduction in the cost of energy supply to drilling rigs. This is especially important against the background of changing economic conditions:
falling oil prices, reduced purchasing power and other factors.

In the future a centralised Aggreko gas power plant could provide electricity to drilling and oil production facilities, preparation and transportation facilities as well as social and domestic needs. This will enable Oil and Gas players to:

  • Place the gas power plant in close proximity to the gas source (usually an oil preparation facility) or in the center of electrical loads (depending on the customer’s priorities) 
  • The super capacitor allows us to remove all but essential redundancy by taking into account the reliability criteria and load modules, by consolidating the power
  • Increase the capacity of the power plant if additional consumers need to be connected