Posts Tagged ‘flowback’

Vortex Tools comments on EPA administrator Al Armendariz’s analogy on the need to “crucify” the oil & gas industry, and the war of words from both sides in April 2012.


If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the oil & gas industry don’t get along. It’s one of those power-struggle relationships that shifts depending on whichever political party is in power — the EPA usually grows under a Democrat-controlled government, the oil & gas industry under a Republican-controlled government — but generally speaking, the two try to not say anything too overt against the other side.

Lately, however, that hasn’t been the case.

Ring the bell.

On April 5th, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) declared,  “We must cut the EPA’s legs off.”

While I think the EPA, like many regulatory government agencies, has unfortunate biases and agendas, there’s still a need for them; so in my grace, I will state that they should indeed still have legs (how nice of me).

Rep. Fincher, however, clarified his comment farther: “I hate to say that because it sounds rotten, but they are choking this country to death with legislating through the bureaucracy in Washington. I mean, we have fought dust legislation; we have fought water. You name it — it is something every day from the Environmental Protection Agency, and every group I talk to has the same message: ‘Please stop them.’ “

Then, on April 18th, the EPA issued air pollution rules for fracking wells. The rules state that oil & gas companies can flare (or burn off) the gas for now, but by 2015, that option will be gone. Instead, the oil & gas industry will be required to collect the gas. As a result, this will require pipelines and other equipment that, for many companies, is considered a hassle now.

Considering the environmental impact and energy value of the gas (plus the financial/energy value of the liquids in rich gas), this regulation against flaring is long overdue, but then again, Vortex Tools has been opposed to flaring gas rich with natural gas liquids (NGLs) for a long time, especially since these NGLs are valuable and Vortex makes them easy to recover.

Despite what many perceive to be a healthy step for energy efficiency, many in the oil & gas industry believe that the EPA will not stop regulating until fracking is banned. (This is, of course, exactly what environmentalists want.) This latest regulation isn’t the first step to that marker, and it’s unlikely to be the last.

And here we are today — April 26th, 2012 — where news broke on a video clip from 2010. In the video, top EPA official, Region Six Administrator Al Armendariz used the example of crucifixion to explain the EPA’s enforcement methods on the oil & gas industry:

The highlights:

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere; they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not compliant with the law — find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there. And companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up. And that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, (and) you go aggressively after them.”

I’ll give Armendariz credit: He at least knew then that his analogy was “crude” and “not appropriate” (which laid the groundwork for his apology yesterday… two years after the fact). Past that, however, he should probably know that examples on ruthlessly torturing and murdering people to establish your power might not go over well.  Plus, apparently that Jesus fella changed how Christians, a large part of the population, will respond to casual crucifixion examples (even if they are historically accurate).

Since the fracking debate is especially heated this year, it’s no surprise that both sides are digging up questionable content from the past. Also in the obvious box, the Armenadiz video prompted the following obvious responses:

  1. The EPA defended its enforcement strategy;
  2. The White House issued a statement that Armendariz’ remarks do not reflect President Obama’s view; and
  3. Some Republicans are angry and again believe that the EPA needs to be shut down.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) announced he is launching an investigation into the EPA’s tactics. He believes the EPA intends to incite fear in the public with unfounded intimidation methods. He also believes the EPA forcefully and unfairly shuts down companies. “My point is, you can’t get the oil and gas without hydraulic fracturing, but the public doesn’t know that,” he said. “So if they can kill hydraulic fracturing they have successfully killed oil and gasoline production in America.”

Well, April’s not over yet. Maybe we’ll have a few more heated comments between the EPA and the oil & gas industry before the month is out.

EDIT: 4/30: Armendariz out: https://spirofloblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/epa-official-who-called-to-crucify-the-oil-and-gas-industry-resigns/

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Yeah, I said it in the title, but I’ll say it again: The updated Vortex Tools site is live!

Vortex Tools has redone its site to give oil and gas engineers easier access to Technical Reports (White Papers, case studies, and installation instructions) and Media (promotional materials and published articles).

In addition to featuring key surface and downhole applications, the Vortex site now features an updated list of the available Vortex tools, including:

The surface flowback (SX-FB) tool:  A large, East Texas independent (in conjunction with a leading flowback and well testing company) placed a Vortex SX-FB tool between the high-pressure separator and heater-treater and was able to reduce the production lost to the pit by one day, generating an additional $500,000 in previously “lost” production and significantly reduced their emissions impact.

The wireline retrievable (DX-WR) tool for increased gas storage recovery: With the DX-WR tool, underground gas storage companies are able to recover more of the gas stored in caverns, thereby profiting more in winter from the gas (usually) stored during the summer. Prior to the Vortex DX-WR tools, in the test region, 6% of the gas stored could never be recovered (the maximum recovery rate in this set of caverns was only 92%). After the DX-WRs were installed, in some cases, over 100% of the prior year injected gas was recovered.

For all this and more, please visit the new VortexTools.com

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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While this isn’t the most thrilling way to kick off a new blog (sorry, we were out of dynamite), people do get curious about what the SpiroFlo Holdings set of companies sell. With that in mind, here’s a brief rundown:

SpiroFlo, LLC (SpiroFlo) has a patented device for residential hot water savings and industrial water purification/filtration. In 2010, SpiroFlo was the recipient of the Innovative Funding for Energy Efficiency (IFEE) grant from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). This SpiroFlo device is often called “a tornado in a pipe.” With no moving parts, it is virtually maintenance free.

The SpiroFlo device releasing water to atmosphere

In industrial applications, the SpiroFlo device sets up a stable spiraling flow that scrapes biofilm (and other bacteria) from the boundary layer of the pipeline wall — an area that is consistently missed by chemical treatments alone. With that said, the SpiroFlo device can also work in conjunction with these chemical treatments (including Sterilex). The stable flow created by the SpiroFlo device helps keep chemicals suspended, thereby increasing their effectiveness throughout the pipe and reducing their required frequency, use and associated costs. Independent testing and adoption from a large, multi-national has proven that the SpiroFlo device alone drastically reduces biofilm concentration from “too many to count” down to less than 100 parts per million (a number that basically means: might as well be zero).

In residential applications, the SpiroFlo device delivers hot water an average of nearly 35% faster to hot water outlets (in 4 out of 5 households) while providing up to a 5% volume savings at every hot water outlet in the home. Installed at the outset of a hot water tank, one SpiroFlo device is a whole house system. Although the SpiroFlo device can work with tankless and recirculating water systems, it does not require any of the associated costly modifications. One SpiroFlo device saves a household thousands of gallons of water a year.

Vortex Tools, LLC (Vortex) has a patented series of surface and downhole tools to help extend the flowing life, efficiency and productivity of oil and gas wells. As of this date, nearly 1,500 tools have been sold into markets worldwide.

The surface vapor elimination (SX-VRU) tool

The Vortex surface (SX) tools set up a stable, spiraling flow that keeps liquids from dropping out, prevents freezing, reduces pressures and mitigates paraffin build-up. Key applications include increased natural gas liquid (NGL) recovery, replacing pigging/drip systems, paraffin mitigation, replacing vapor recovery units (VRUs) and reducing the time to get oil and gas to sales (instead of flare) on new well flowbacks. The effects of one Vortex tool have lasted over six miles.

The Vortex downhole (DX) tools enable wells to flow below the critical rate (often down to 75% of critical) as well as lowering the bottom hole pressures and reducing surfactant use by up to 50%. Key applications include wireline retrievable intervention on marginal and declining wells, keeping coal bed methane wells free-flowing, and clearing out liquids from horizontal and vertical installations. With no moving parts, all Vortex tools are virtually maintenance free.

Ecotechnology, Ltd. (Ecotech) specializes in the cost-effective, nonthermal drying of biosolids (and a myriad of granular materials) by adding a low-grade heat (150 degrees F). These Ecotech systems can also move  and sort materials — soda ash, potash, crumb rubber, copper fines, sugar beets, etc. — with minimal degradation and pipe wear.

Using the patented EcoVeyor, the Ecotech system has the ability to convey over long-distances and through significant (even vertical) changes in elevation, no moving parts for minimal maintenance, positive environmental effects through its closed-loop design, and boosted value from lower product attrition and lower line wear for longer pipe life.

All three of these companies are under the parent company, SpiroFlo Holdings, Inc. These products are the result of over a decade and millions of dollars in research, development and testing. Nine patents have been granted to these beneficial technologies and several more are in development. Testing partners include: Texas A&M University, Texas Tech, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC), the Stripper Well Consortium (SWC—Penn State), the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), and several multi-national companies.

Don’t know what some of the above terms mean? Don’t worry; we’ll be covering a number of them as the blog goes on. Or, you know, you can Google it.

Got comments or applications? Feel free to chat with us at blog (at) spiroflo (dot) com

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