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Zero Emissions Tankless Production Facilities

Emissions Control Treater 

Tankless, zero-emission oil production facility

The Emission Control Treater (ECT) is a zero emission, tankless oil pad production system intended to be a replacement for nearly all existing well pad infrastructure.

The Current Challenges

Modern well pad design involves a myriad of components connected together to progressively separate the gases from the crude by multiple pressure reduction steps. Unfortunately, the resulting crude still contains some embedded gases, and the produced gas contains some embedded crude. As a result, the crude produces vapors that are sent to an open tip or closed flare. Meanwhile, the low-pressure gas streams require compression to meet the midstream gathering pressure.

The many well pad components result in a large emissions footprint. Heater treaters and compressors use process gas as fuel for on-pad combustion. All of these components must be connected together on the pad with significant piping, valves, knockouts, and instrumentation. This results in a very large number of interconnection points which leads to significant fugitive emissions.

This complicated system with many different parts is always in need of some type of maintenance or repair. When these repairs occur, inventory stored in the system must be evacuated and is often sent to flare or vented. The traditional system is also quite often slow to respond to external changes such as midstream evacuation upsets, and this can also lead to significant flaring and venting events.

Pioneer Energy’s Solution

The Emission Control Treater is a complete re-envisioning of the modern well pad. It employs a fundamentally different approach for wellhead fluid processing, crude stabilization and gas evacuation.

Instead of successive pressure drops, residence time and recompression, the ECT processes the wellhead fluid in a single stage. Volatile components are driven out of the crude while heavier molecules are retained. Onsite tank storage is not required. If tanks are used, no vapors evolve out of them, even on a hot day. The gas produced is already at a pressure above the midstream evacuation pressure, and so does not require sales gas compression.

The ECT is skid mounted for easy installation and can be easily redeployed as wells decline. As an integrated system with far fewer components, no combustion sources, and no required compression, the emissions footprint is substantially reduced (by 90% or more). The footprint of the pad dramatically shrinks, and maintenance costs are significantly reduced. Pad uptime also benefits greatly.

The ECT is truly a revolutionary approach for well pad processing.

ECT Features & Advantages


Reduces Pad Emissions by ~90% - Eliminates much of the existing infrastructure on the pad which today contributes to pad emissions, including combustion sources, compressors, storage tanks, ECDs and all of their associated interconnections, hand valves, pneumatic valves, pumps and sensors. As a result, the producer can realize a 90% or greater reduction in well pad emissions. Further, this can enable the pad to be designated as a minor source for permitting, greatly simplifying the permitting process.

Increases Crude Volume by ~10% - By sorting the produced hydrocarbons more effectively, the ECT allows the producer to integrate more light naphtha into the crude. This can increase produced crude volume by 5%-15% versus traditional processing methods. Oil production is maximized through active RVP management.

Eliminates Tanks - Produced crude has been stabilized and cooled by the ECT. Oil tanks are no longer required if a crude evacuation line is available. If crude is trucked off site, no off gassing will occur while the crude remains in the tanks, even on a hot day.

Eliminates Compression - The ECT operates above the midstream evacuation pressure. No low-pressure streams or tank vapors are generated, eliminating the need for VRUs. Assuming the wellhead pressure is kept above the gas midstream evacuation pressure, sales gas compression is also no longer required.

Eliminates Flaring - Flaring is usually the result of crude off-gassing and midstream evacuation constraints. The ECT solves these problems. The stabilized, cooled crude produced by the ECT generates no vapors that would need to be flared.

Shrinks Pad Footprint - Modern well pads are a maze of interconnected systems and components which necessitate a large footprint. The ECT eliminates most of these components in favor of a skid-mounted, integrated, simpler processing scheme with much smaller footprint. This decreases the ongoing surface disturbance, providing benefits in visual impact to the local community and reduced land use costs for the producer.

Increases Pad Uptime - By eliminating many of the components which typically require regular maintenance and repair (heater treaters, compressors, VRUs, ECDs, etc), the ECT can significantly increase pad uptime.

Reduces Leasehold Operating Expenses - Because of the reduced maintenance, reduced field operations intervention, reduced pad size, and elimination of most compression - leasehold operating expenses are greatly reduced.

Reduces Pad Installation and Commissioning Time - Skid mounted with straightforward connections and reduced need for trenching and interconnects, the ECT is designed to be easily and rapidly deployed and redeployed, minimizing installation and commissioning field personnel costs.

Improves Capital Utilization - As the well pad production declines, it is easy to free up the large capacity ECT and replace it with a lower capacity, less expensive, ECT. The large capacity ECT can then be redeployed at a newly completed pad, saving capital for new equipment.

Autonomous - Leveraging Pioneer's sophisticated control software, the ECT is designed for complete autonomy, minimizing the required attention of field operations personnel. The system will autonomously adapt to changing wellhead fluid compositions and flow rates.

Remote Monitoring, Remote Control and Reporting - Real time status and diagnostic information provided from the onboard SCADA system is made available via cellular or local area network connection. Customer or Pioneer technicians can log in remotely for control, diagnostics and troubleshooting, and status and alerts can be set to automatically push to relevant stakeholders via text message and email. Robust history collection enables real time and historical production reporting.

Safe - Built for full compliance with all relevant oilfield equipment standards, including all ASME code stamped vessels and Class 1 Div 2 compliance, the unit design has also been subjected to a rigorous HAZOP process. The unit is connected on each site with the customer's systems for permissives and emergency stop controls.

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