Oilfield Flare Gas Electricity Systems (OFFGASES Project)

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The Oilfield Flare Gas Electricity Systems (OFFGASES) project was developed in response to a cooperative agreement offering by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under Preferred Upstream Management Projects (PUMP III). Project partners included the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) as lead agency working with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Oil Producers Electric Cooperative (COPE). The project was designed to demonstrate that the entire range of oilfield 'stranded gases' (gas production that can not be delivered to a commercial market because it is poor quality, or the quantity ... continued below

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Henderson, Rachel & Fickes, Robert December 31, 2007.

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Description

The Oilfield Flare Gas Electricity Systems (OFFGASES) project was developed in response to a cooperative agreement offering by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under Preferred Upstream Management Projects (PUMP III). Project partners included the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) as lead agency working with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Oil Producers Electric Cooperative (COPE). The project was designed to demonstrate that the entire range of oilfield 'stranded gases' (gas production that can not be delivered to a commercial market because it is poor quality, or the quantity is too small to be economically sold, or there are no pipeline facilities to transport it to market) can be cost-effectively harnessed to make electricity. The utilization of existing, proven distribution generation (DG) technologies to generate electricity was field-tested successfully at four marginal well sites, selected to cover a variety of potential scenarios: high Btu, medium Btu, ultra-low Btu gas, as well as a 'harsh', or high contaminant, gas. Two of the four sites for the OFFGASES project were idle wells that were shut in because of a lack of viable solutions for the stranded noncommercial gas that they produced. Converting stranded gas to useable electrical energy eliminates a waste stream that has potential negative environmental impacts to the oil production operation. The electricity produced will offset that which normally would be purchased from an electric utility, potentially lowering operating costs and extending the economic life of the oil wells. Of the piloted sites, the most promising technologies to handle the range were microturbines that have very low emissions. One recently developed product, the Flex-Microturbine, has the potential to handle the entire range of oilfield gases. It is deployed at an oilfield near Santa Barbara to run on waste gas that is only 4% the strength of natural gas. The cost of producing oil is to a large extent the cost of electric power used to extract and deliver the oil. Researchers have identified stranded and flared gas in California that could generate 400 megawatts of power, and believe that there is at least an additional 2,000 megawatts that have not been identified. Since California accounts for about 14.5% of the total domestic oil production, it is reasonable to assume that about 16,500 megawatts could be generated throughout the United States. This power could restore the cost-effectiveness of thousands of oil wells, increasing oil production by millions of barrels a year, while reducing emissions and greenhouse gas emissions by burning the gas in clean distributed generators rather than flaring or venting the stranded gases. Most turbines and engines are designed for standardized, high-quality gas. However, emerging technologies such as microturbines have increased the options for a broader range of fuels. By demonstrating practical means to consume the four gas streams, the project showed that any gases whose properties are between the extreme conditions also could be utilized. The economics of doing so depends on factors such as the value of additional oil recovered, the price of electricity produced, and the alternate costs to dispose of stranded gas.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT41768
  • DOI: 10.2172/936728 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936728
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc893571

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  • December 31, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 2:07 p.m.

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Henderson, Rachel & Fickes, Robert. Oilfield Flare Gas Electricity Systems (OFFGASES Project), report, December 31, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc893571/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.