What is the first thing you think about when you hear the words, “stranded gas?” Is it a very sad image of a lonely gas can stuck on an island with no one or no cars around to utilize it? Although that may be one kind of stranded gas, it is not the kind we will be talking about today.
What is Stranded Gas?
Stranded gas is an abundant resource that is wasted because it cannot be used locally, cannot be transported to other markets, or does not meet pipeline standards. Usually, the local market is too small to utilize the gas or the reserve is in a remote location. Therefore, 40%-60% of the world’s natural gas reserves remain untapped or undeveloped. Some areas just have lack of pipeline to be able to transport the gas.
Another issue is that natural gas is more expensive to transport than oil is. This is another reason why 4,500 trillion cubic feet of gas is stranded and has little to no economic value. By the way, according to World LNG/GTL Review, that is more natural gas than the world has consumed to date! So how can we help solve this problem and how can we help bring more stranded gas to market?
How Do You Bring Stranded Gas to Market?
Companies have been finding ways to economically use or market stranded gas without flaring. One way to help bring more natural gas to market is there needs to be an easier and more economical way to transport it. Previously, companies would flare off the gas but regulations are cracking down on flaring forcing companies to find an alternative. The best way to transport natural gas to liquefy it known as liquid natural gas (LNG). Or by compressing gas to less than 1% of its volume called compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is stored or transferred at high pressures and LNG is stored or transferred by cooling to extremely low temperatures between -184F to -274F.
Another use of stranded gas is powering the well site equipment such as generators and compressors. This equipment would previously run on diesel but the abundant use of natural gas from the well and the higher price of diesel, it is more economical to run them on gas. However often times, the stranded gas will be “wet” or full of valuable hydrocarbons that can be sold separately. Sometimes before you transport or power well site equipment, the gas must be treated if it is wet or has impurities.
How do you treat gas before transport?
Depending on the utilization of the gas, the treatment will vary. The gas may need to be treated for H2S, water in the gas, removal of hydrocarbons, etc. To treat for wet gas, crews will put a Joule-Thomson skid which removes the valuable hydrocarbons and sell them separately to customers. Or they may put a Fuel-Gas Conditioning skid to also help remove valuable hydrocarbons along with cooling and dehydrating the gas. As for removing H2S, it is important to do so because is detrimental to equipment and it may have to be removed from the gas prior to powering compressors or generators. Equipment such as the Chemical Injection System can do just that.
With the abundance of stranded gas and the regulations getting tighter on flaring, it is no wonder that companies are looking for economic and alternative uses for utilization of this gas. I have been seeing “LNG” and ‘CNG” everywhere lately. When going to the Oil and Gas Awards the other week, this was a hot topic among the speakers. After coming back from the DUG Bakken & Niobrara Conference in Denver, the use of natural gas-powered compressors and generators was also a hot topic. Now I see why! Croft Production Systems helps with gas processing needs so learning about the growing concern about stranded gas and companies finding alternative ways to utilize it, definitely interests me. Feel free to contact us or click the links below to find out more about just how our units can help with these processes.