Oil & Gas Product News Logo

Under Pressure: Recovering Energy from Moving Fluids

A technique developed in the desalination industry is now providing energy saving potential in oil and gas

Under Pressure: Recovering Energy from Moving Fluids

Company info

1717 Doolittle Drive
San Leandro, CA
US, 94577

Website:
energyrecovery.com

Read more

Heat exchangers are ubiquitous in many processes that are present across the oil and gas industry and elsewhere. The concept of heat exchange – reusing heat generated in one process for use in some other area of a facility – is a familiar one that stretches right down to the heaters in our vehicles.

Capturing heat for reuse is a very common way of reusing energy found within a process, increasing efficiency and reducing overall costs. But, there are other forms of energy that are often wasted after use – such as the energy generated when fluids are pressurized.

A company with a long history of energy reuse in a field that uses plenty of pressurized fluids, the water desalination industry, has turned its technology into options for oil and gas companies to capture and reuse energy from similar fluid flows.

Energy from pressure capture

Much like heat, pressure is an energy source that can be drawn from in many parts of an operation, according to Energy Recovery CEO Tom Rooney.

“Industries find pressure at one point in their process, they typically use it once, and then they throw it away,” Rooney described. “We say that we should never throw any form of energy away, and pressure is one that can be reused.”

Energy Recovery has a long history in fluid flow and pressure capture, starting out around 20 years ago to serve a growing number of desalination plants around the globe.

In that industry, energy capture and reuse is a mission-critical part of the operation, allowing it to be sustainable long-term.

“In those plants, they take sea water and push it with a tremendous amount of pressure through a membrane to make it drinkable,” Rooney explained. “The pressure used can be recovered and reused – in fact, if the industry didn’t do that, they wouldn’t be financially viable.”

Today, the company’s products are present in 90 percent of the desalination plants operating worldwide, Rooney said, with efficiency levels running as high as 98 percent.

When the company considered options for expansion, the oil and gas industry was a natural contender.

“There are a lot of fluids in the world where this technique can help people reduce their energy use, improve their profitability and make their process more sustainable,” Rooney said. “The first and best place to move to is the oil and gas industry.”

Midstream operations were the first target market for Energy Recovery’s technology, named IsoBoost for the oil and gas sector. Specifically, the company aimed at sour gas processing operations.

Sour gas plants can benefit

In sour gas plants, amines are used to “sweeten” the gas through a process that involves highly pressurized fluids. Most of the time, these plants push the amine fluid into the process once, then release the pressure afterwards. That is a waste of energy that can be recaptured, Rooney said.

“We come in and suggest that they put one of our devices into the process, and just like a heat exchanger it grabs the pressure just before it would be thrown away and put it back into the loop,” he said.

Central to the IsoBoost system is a liquid phase turbocharger made up of a high-efficiency turbine powering a centrifugal pump, according to the company. The system creates a pressure drop in one liquid process flow while increasing pressure in a second flow.

The resultant pressure can be reused, cutting the amount of energy needed to run the process while also providing numerous other benefits, Rooney said.

“Our devices in that particular sector are upwards of 80 percent efficient, which means that in many plants around the world it cuts the total energy consumption by about 25 percent,” he noted. “That provides very rapid economic payback – often it is one to three years.”

Along with reduced energy, the system improves uptime and reduces plant maintenance significantly, Rooney said. In one south Texas gas processing plant, indications are that the total maintenance bill for the plant has dropped by 60 percent along with a reduced power bill.

“Maintenance done in these midstream plants is often around expensive and fragile high-pressure pumps, but when the producer plugs our devices in, they can de-energize some of those giant pumps because they become unnecessary,” he said. “If you keep a lot of energy within the plant, rather than ejecting it all the time, then you don’t need to bring in new energy. We’re recycling 70 to 80 percent of what’s in the plant, so you can de-energize pumps and your maintenance bill drops wildly.”

“In many plants around the world (IsoBoost) cuts the total energy consumption by about 25 percent,” - Tom Rooney

Easy to add to system

Adding the IsoBoost system into a plant is relatively easy, Rooney noted.

“Typically, it is installed during a regular plant maintenance shutdown,” he described. “They T-off the pipe where the pressure reducing valve is located and route the fluid into our device. If the shutdown is shorter, typically, they can install flanges to route to our system. It’s not a complete tear-down of the plant.”

Amine systems were the first step into the oil and gas industry, but Energy Recovery is also hearing from other operators with plenty of fluid flow. Pipeline operators may benefit from the system as well. Where pipelines run downhill for any distance, pressure reducing valves can be replaced and energy harvested for reuse, Rooney noted.

Other uses for IsoBoost in the oil and gas sector may include installation on hydrotreaters and in offshore applications involving produced water.

The technology has also been adapted to become part of the company’s new VorTeq product for hydraulic fracturing. That product is designed to reduce maintenance and repairs on fracturing operations by keeping grit and fracturing fluid out of high-pressure pumps, channeling abrasive fluids down the well rather than through the pumps. That, according to Energy Recovery, could reduce maintenance costs by up to 50 percent for fracturing service operators. 

More from Drilling & Production

Cenovus delivers strong performance through Q1 of 2019

Cenovus Energy Inc. delivered strong operating and financial performance in the first quarter of 2019, generating more than $1 billion of adjusted funds flow, $731 million of free funds flow and cash from operating activities of $436 million. The company's excellent financial results were driven by strong operating performance, a significant narrowing of light-heavy oil price differentials in early 2019 and Cenovus's low-cost structure and continued commitment to capital discipline.

Single Phase Power Solutions introduces single phase pump solutions

Single Phase Power Solutions (SPPS), the world's only manufacturer of high horsepower single phase electric motors, introduces single phase pump solutions which do not require a phase converter or Variable Frequency Drive (VFD).  The company incorporates their Belle Single-Phase Motor which uses Written-Pole technology to deliver up to 100 hp to power standard suction end centrifugal pumps, rotary gear pumps, and turbine pumps in both horizontal and vertical configurations.  

Saturn provides operational update, reports more than 1,400 bbl/day production

Saturn Oil & Gas Inc. is pleased to announce finishing successfully the drilling, completion, equip and tie-in of its nine (9) wells in Q1 2019. Saturn has achieved an average production rate in March 2019 of over 1,100 bbl/d with all twenty-nine (29) wells producing by March 25th. The Q1 2019 peak production rate was over 1,400 bbl/day. The Company forecasts its Q2 2019 production volumes will average over 950 bbl/d. 

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Tourmaline adds reserves through 2018

Tourmaline Oil Corp. is pleased to report very strong total reserve growth, liquids reserve growth and a continued reserve value increase in the current depressed natural gas price environment.  The Company executed on the 2017-2018 plan to concentrate almost entirely on internal EP growth and has produced the best reserve metrics in the Company's 10 year history over the past two years.

Netzsch adds xLC stator adjustment to triple service life of pumps

Another component has been added to the product portfolio of the NEMO progressing cavity pump from NETZSCH: the xLC unit. This unit triples the service life of the pump, particularly when conveying difficult, abrasive media. When wear occurs in the rotor-stator system, the new xLC unit allows the performance of the pump to be re-established by adjusting the preload between the conveyor elements. 

Rockwell, Schlumberger start joint venture to create integrated automation solutions provider

Rockwell Automation, which is dedicated to industrial automation and information, and Schlumberger, a leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry,  have entered into an agreement to create a new joint venture, Sensia, the first fully integrated digital oilfield automation solutions provider.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

Deteriorating investor confidence in Canada causes cut in PSAC 2019 forecast

In its first update to the 2019 Canadian Drilling Activity Forecast, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) has revised the number of wells drilled (rig released) across Canada for 2019 to 5,600 wells. This represents a decrease of 1,000 wells, or 15 percent, from PSAC's original 2019 drilling Forecast released in November 2018 and reflects the deteriorating investor confidence in Canada.  

Interventek launches Revolution PowerPlus safety valve technology at Subsea Expo

Subsea oil and gas engineering firm Interventek will unveil the development of the industry's first subsea shear-and-seal safety valve powered by an integrated gas accumulator at next week's Subsea Expo show in Aberdeen, UK. This innovation builds on Interventek's existing, award-winning, Revolution valve technology by adding a gas accumulator within the valve, close to the cutting and sealing mechanism. It increases the power and speed of the valve's functionality and provides a failsafe mode triggered in the event of an emergency. 

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Subsea Integration Alliance receives EPCIC contracts offshore Australia

Subsea Integration Alliance has announced the award of integrated subsea engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contracts. These awards, by Esso Australia Pty Ltd, represent the first integrated subsea project for Subsea Integration Alliance in Australia combining OneSubsea and Subsea 7 expertise in subsea production systems (SPS) and subsea umbilical, riser and flowline (SURF) systems.

Suncor Energy provides fourth quarter 2018 operations update

Suncor has provided an operations update for the fourth quarter of 2018, highlighting total upstream production of 831,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), which is a quarterly production record and represents an increase of 12% from the third quarter of 2018.  This record-breaking quarter reflects the results of the significant investment developing Fort Hills, and Suncor's ongoing operational excellence focus across its assets, particularly at the Syncrude joint venture.

CPC-Cryolab announces 5000 Series cryogenic valves

CPC-Cryolab, a CIRCOR International brand, offers the 5000 Series Cryogenic Valves, ideal for use in ultra-cold cryogenic storage tanks, transportation trailers, and vacuum jacketed and non-jacketed piping systems. The 5000 Series valves feature bellow sealed and non-bellows sealed designs, redundant packaging seals, and all stainless-steel construction, trusted the most common, most reliable LHe valves used on ISO helium containers world-wide.

Pulse Oil Corp. announces second well drilling operations completed at Queenstown Light Oil Field

Pulse Oil Corp. announces that on December 27th, 2018, drilling of Pulse's second exploration well, PUL HZ QUEENSTN 12-9-19-21 W4 ("12-9"),  reached a total measured depth, as planned, of 2957m (TVD 1389m), including 1237m of lateral section within a highly porous Mannville-aged Lithic sandstone channel. The 12-9 well was Pulse's second well successfully targeting a new 3-D seismic interpretation intended to focus on the highest porosity / permeability lithic deposits within the Mannville channel trend in the Queenstown area of Southern Alberta.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more