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  • Pioneer Energy

The Multifaceted Benefits of Field Gas Conditioning for Ongoing Field Operations

Over the last several years, oil and gas exploration and production companies (E&Ps) have focused on measuring emissions levels from their well sites and facilities because, as the saying goes, “You cannot manage what you do not measure.” More recently, that focus has shifted from monitoring to emissions prevention. The challenge of reducing emissions from oil and gas production facilities is complex, involving multiple objectives and often competing priorities.


E&P companies must juggle priorities to eliminate hard-to-reduce emissions sources, achieve emissions reduction targets, and maintain compliance with new regulations, while facing constant operational challenges. Success depends on meeting these objectives while also satisfying the needs of the investment community and other key stakeholders.  


Given the complexity of the overall task, it is our experience that companies are struggling to prioritize issues and make decisions on which technologies they should adopt to achieve the greatest benefits. Producers acknowledge investment in advanced technologies is the way forward, but which ones will move the needle the most? How do you get the most bang for the buck?


Increasingly, producers are targeting field gas conditioning as a significant and viable piece of the overall solution. 


This article highlights the compelling and multifaceted value of field gas conditioning in general, with emphasis on how it can help improve emissions and operations efficiency from ongoing field production facilities.


 

The Performance (or lack thereof) of Production Equipment


To fully appreciate the value of high-quality “conditioned” field gas, we must first understand the operational challenges faced when using raw or unconditioned gas. On a typical production site, various sources of combustion are present, including gas lift compressors, vapor recovery units (VRUs), flares, flare pilots, heater treater burners, and generators. The reliability of each of these components plays a critical role in both overall operational efficiency and site emissions levels. As it turns out, equipment performance and emissions footprint are both directly impacted by the quality of the gas (fuel) they receive.


Gas Lift Compressors and VRUs: It is generally accepted that the engine efficiency of gas lift compressors and VRUs is significantly influenced by the quality of the gas supply. Low-quality gas, such as raw field gas, directly leads to equipment reliability issues. With compressors, it leads to more downtime, especially in the winter months, as well as significant emissions. An inoperable VRU directly increases flaring and venting, further increasing the emissions footprint and wasting valuable hydrocarbon resources.


Flares and Heater Treaters: The performance of flares and heater treaters are coming under increased regulatory scrutiny. The proper operation of these devices can play a huge role in decreasing emissions at the well site. While there is an argument to be had that all flares should be eliminated, for now, they are a cost-effective and integral solution to reducing overall emissions in the oilfield. But for these solutions to play their part, they must work!  


In many cases, methane plume events can be directly attributed to unlit flares, burners, and combustors. These components rely on gas pilots much like your home furnace to initiate and control combustion. However, these pilots can falter under various conditions such as water or crude oil slugs in the gas line, particulate contamination, or pressure fluctuations.


Whether it be gas lift compressors, VRUs, or flares, operational efficiency is largely driven by reliability. The reliability of these technologies, however, is often a function of the quality of the gas that powers them.


So why is low-quality unconditioned field gas so detrimental to reliability?  This is because it has entrained impurities, and heavier hydrocarbons that can lead to a number of issues with the fuel supply. Issues encountered can include:


  • Water slugs

  • Crude slugs

  • Particulate matter

  • Interruption of supply

  • Pressure fluctuations


Unsurprisingly, manufacturers are quick to point the finger at other technologies up and down the production stream for the failure of their equipment. Their technology is, for the most part, designed to run optimally under certain ideal conditions, which as a practical matter are rarely achieved in the harsh and challenging environment of the oilfield.


Successful operators understand this fact. Maximum efficiency is dependent on the entire facility working together as a unit, and to make that happen, the gas which fuels much of the wellsite must be of high and consistent quality. After all, you wouldn’t put dirty gas in your new Maserati and expect optimal performance.


 

Solving the Equipment Reliability Issue with Innovative Field Gas Conditioning Technology:


 


Introducing: Pegasus Mini™


Pioneer Energy’s Pegasus Mini field gas conditioning units offer a comprehensive solution to address the reliability issues highlighted above. They are designed to receive a slipstream from the gas lift compressor, upon which they perform a series of critical functions:


  • Remove heavy hydrocarbons resulting in lean fuel gas.

  • Eliminate free water.

  • Filter particulates to prevent them from entering the fuel.

  • Stabilize both the fuel gas heating value and pressure.


 

Benefits of the Pegasus Mini

The benefits of employing the Pegasus Mini solution at the wellsite or facility include:


Enhanced Equipment Performance: By delivering conditioned gas to critical components such as engines for gas lift compressors and VRUs, and pilots for heater treaters and flares, the Pegasus Mini ensures optimal performance of all equipment, reduces downtime, and enhances operational efficiency.


Emissions Reduction: By mitigating the risk of large-scale plume events and optimizing combustion processes, the Pegasus Mini contributes to significant emissions reduction, promoting environmental sustainability and regulatory compliance.


Cost Savings: Recovering the heavier hydrocarbons entrained in the raw gas, known as Natural Gas Liquids or NGLs, adds an additional revenue stream, offsetting the cost of gas conditioning. This coupled with increased uptime and reduced maintenance expenses delivers tangible cost savings long-term.


Regulatory Relief: Reducing pad emissions, particularly volatile organic compounds (VOCs), NOx, and methane emissions, is required to adhere to new emissions regulations in many basins, which are only expected to become more stringent.


Improved Safety and Reliability: By stabilizing gas quality and ensuring consistent combustion, the Pegasus Mini enhances operational safety and reliability, minimizing the risk of equipment failure and associated hazards.


Fuel Consistency: The Pegasus Mini is uniquely designed to deliver clean fuel at a consistent pressure and quality, enabling more complete combustion and reducing or even eliminating upset events that can lead to facility downtime, lost production, and other negative operational issues.


Diesel Displacement: By burning lean, conditioned field gas, producers can reduce or eliminate their diesel supply chain dependency while saving money and running cleaner.


 

Conclusion

The Pegasus Mini offers you a game-changing solution for optimizing field gas conditioning in oil and gas production operations. By addressing the key challenge of field gas quality, the Pegasus Mini simultaneously enhances operational efficiency and improves environmental performance.


Contact us today to learn why the Pegasus Mini field gas conditioning solution is The One Solution for Every Gas Condition.


 

About Pioneer Energy

Pioneer Energy is the leading provider of field equipment for processing natural gas at oil and gas production well sites and facilities. We are Pioneering Technology for Decarbonizing Oil & Gas Production with innovative solutions that are reliable, rugged and easy-to-use. These solutions reduce emissions and convert inefficiencies into profits.


Based in Colorado, our technologies are operating successfully in multiple oil and gas regions. Pioneer Energy’s engineering, field service, and remote operations teams provide best-in-class support for our domestic and international customers, and we offer custom engineering design and fabrication services in our state-of-the-art facility.

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