Two more gas capture demo projects may be coming to the Bakken

By Patrick C. Miller | November 04, 2015

As one of its gas capture field demonstration projects is wrapping up, the Houston-based Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program is working toward bringing two new projects to the Bakken.

Carolyn Lafleur, engineer and research associate with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) EFD program, told The Bakken that the organization is involved in discussions with LPP Combustion LLC of Columbia, Maryland, and with GE Oil & Gas and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, partners in the Last Mile Fueling solution. She said EFD hoped to begin the projects before winter.

“We’re prepared to mobilize whenever they can work it out,” Lafleur said. “It’s a very nice synergy with the need to use flare gas, stranded gas, particularly in the Bakken where it’s such an issue.”

The EFD program began in 2005 to provide unbiased science and develop solutions that address issues associated with oil and gas development. Its members include sponsors, advisors and collaborators in the oil and gas industry, academia and environmental organizations.

Richard Roby, LPP CEO, confirmed that the company is involved in discussions with two producers, two original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and two oilfield services companies about conducting a demonstration of its gas capture technology as an EFD field demonstration project in the Bakken.

“Right now, the EFD people are working with this,” Roby said. “We’re hoping that we’re getting close. They are hoping to do it sooner rather than later—before winter.”

Last July, LPP signed an agreement with the EFD program to establish a field trial to demonstrate and evaluate LPP's gas capture and power generation system. Roby—along with representatives of GE and Ferus—presented at an Oct. 22 EFD workshop in Texas on electrification for oil and gas operations.

“As a result of my presentation, we had discussions with about half a dozen people who are potentially interested in doing some kind of a demonstration with LPP Combustion,” Roby noted.

Lafleur said LPP’s system fits in well with the trend toward using produced gas to generate electricity for use in the oilfield.

“What’s cool about LPP’s technology is that they take all the liquids and all of the other hydrocarbons that are present—in addition to methane—and adjust Btu content and vaporize it so that it’s very suitable for turbine combustion.”

GE is combining its expertise in natural gas fueling technologies with Ferus’ experience in maintenance and logistics services to provide what they call the Last Mile full-service fueling solution. Natural gas is taken directly from a flare stack, well site or a remote pipeline, compressed and delivered the final distance to provide cleaner, cheaper more economic fueling in remote locations. 

Currently, an EFD demonstration project at a Hess Corp. well site near Blue Buttes in McKenzie County will likely wrap up next week, according to Loy Sneary, CEO of Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE), which is using ElectraTherm’s waste heat-to-power technology to turn gas into electricity.

The project began in August and was extended another two weeks. Sneary said GCGE, a distributor of ElectraTherm systems, is in discussions with Hess about whether the equipment will remain in the Bakken.

Last week, a delegation from the Iraq Ministry of Oil and representatives with the U.S. Department of Energy toured the project. According to DOE, Iraq—a major producer of flared gas—is looking at ways to capture the gas and use it to help meet the country’s electricity needs.

Lafleur said the trend toward electrification makes the Bakken a good place to demonstrate technologies that move away from diesel-powered equipment, electrically driven mechanical systems and hydraulically or mechanically driven equipment.

“With electrification, there are other nice features that can be incorporated—greater safety, the ability to incorporate automation in terms of control and collect data for analytics and planning,” she explained.

Where the LPP project occurs depends on who the partner is and whether it has facilities and equipment in the Bakken or that can be moved there, Lafleur said.

“We’re certainly going to lobby for doing it in the Bakken,” she said. “That, for us, would be the most desirable place.”


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