In today’s oilfield, with low margins and very real concerns about the environment, producers are looking for new ways to maximize efficiency and profitability. But even as the current market dynamics demand cost-saving actions, many operations are letting a golden opportunity evaporate into thin air. How? By flaring gas that could be used for power generation.

Gas flares represent a critical challenge for the oil and gas industry. But with the rise of flare gas recovery systems, more operators are turning associated gas into reliable power. As you explore new ways to reduce the costs of your fracking operations, keep in mind these must-know facts on the gas flare challenge and flare gas recovery technology. 

The latest statistics on gas flares

Since 2011, the world’s most productive oilfield, Texas’ Permian Basin, has seen its production increase by more than 210 percent. But with this boom comes another challenge: contending with significantly higher levels of associated gases. Research shows that the Permian Basin alone flares enough gas each year to power every home in the state of Texas

In North Dakota’s Bakken Shale, which flares more gas than any other area in the nation, drillers produced 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day as of March 2019. Roughly 20 percent of it was flared. Industry analysts predict that the Bakken Shale will increase natural gas production by 10 percent in 2020–and continue to come up short against the state’s limits on gas flares. With those regulations expected to tighten, and be more rigorously enforced, in 2020, oil and gas operations in the Bakken Shale are quickly reaching an inflection point.

And that’s just in North America. Worldwide, approximately 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas is flared each year in the production of oil, releasing more than 350 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This represents an annual loss of more than $30 billion; that’s the equivalent of nearly one-quarter of the United States’ gas consumption. If that amount of natural gas were utilized in energy production, it would provide approximately 750 billion kWh–enough to power the entire continent of Africa for a year. 

Given the magnitude of the gas flare challenge, and the increased pressure from the current market dynamics, it’s no surprise that more fracking operations are exploring flare gas recovery solutions.

What you need to know about flare gas recovery and capture systems

As gas flares continue to cause challenges for both planet and profitability, a number of gas flare capture and recovery systems have entered the market. Here’s what you need to know about the solutions tackling the gas flare challenge.

How flare gas recovery technology has advanced

Traditional capture methods often demand expensive infrastructure renovations and the construction of new pipelines. Luckily, these have yielded to next-generation capture systems designed with the oilfield’s true needs in mind. These innovative flare gas recovery systems often feature mobile, modular units that can be retrofitted to existing infrastructure. This shortens the lead time and eliminates the need for cranes, construction equipment and personnel on-site.

The market’s most advanced systems aren’t just capturing associated gas, but transforming it into power generation-ready fuel. These solutions can already be seen generating environmental and bottom-line benefits for producers in key global oil and gas markets. (Read this case study on Petrobas’ flare gas recovery solution, which powers its oil pumping and processing, water injections and camps.)

How to overcome challenges in gas flare composition

Historically, one of the most challenging aspects of gas flare solutions was the technology required to make associated gas suitable for power generation. Associated gas often includes traces of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2). It can also include concentrations of heavy hydrocarbons. Whereas conventional technologies could not treat this gas flare composition to be power generation-ready, advanced technologies are enabling new levels of associated gas treatment and conditioning.

At SoEnergy, our flare gas recovery solutions include mobile gas treatment and conditioning systems. These systems convert associated gas into fuel that’s suitable for our extensive power generation fleet. 

How to get a gas flare recovery system without CapEx

Operators are under increased pressure to reduce costs and avoid CapEx. Yet regardless of the market situation, there is no operation without reliable power. This makes it more critical than ever to secure a solution that offers financial flexibility. 

SoEnergy is a pioneer in the Power as a Service model. Through the power of PaaS, our customers secure customized flare gas recovery systems without a dollar of capital expenditure. Our seasoned engineers build and commission our gas flare capture solutions. Then, we operate and maintain them to ensure operators achieve reliable power at the lowest cost per kWh. In addition to saving money by utilizing associated gas, our oil and gas clients also eliminate CapEx and the ongoing costs of maintaining their power generation solution. 

Contact SoEnergy today to discuss how our flare gas recovery systems can reduce your energy costs, lower your emissions and help your operations achieve reliable production. You run your business. We power it. And there’s no CapEx required.