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Posts Tagged ‘Oil well’

Vortex Tools shares a graphic of the oil rig developments rising up since 2011, then rapidly declining in early 2015.

Over the last six months, I’ve shared a few posts on the impact of low oil prices (see here, here, and here).  However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s the steep drop in active rigs in a graph. Yet thanks to modern efficiency, you’ll notice oil production continues to climb:

active rigs v oil production

If a picture is worth a thousand words how much is an animation worth? Head over to Bloomberg to watch an animation of the US-wide oil rig count falling by over 45% from 1,595 rigs in October 2014 to 866 rigs in March 2015.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing 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), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

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 coal, biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

 

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Vortex Tools covers Colorado becoming the first state to control methane emissions at oil and gas sites, as well as noting its solution to help keep oil and gas companies in compliance with more stringent air quality standards. 

The Colorado Air Quality Commission just passed the strictest oil and gas air regulation issues in the nation, as they are the first to directly address and regulate emissions of methane gas (which is linked to climate change). For some, this is an overdue environmental necessity. For others, it’s one more attempt to shut down oil and gas production under the guise of purely health and environmental motivations.

Gov Hickenlooper (colorado.gov)

Gov Hickenlooper (colorado.gov)

After four days of hearings, on February 23rd, the state Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) passed the motion by a vote of 8-1. They did so with support from Governor John Hickenlooper, environmental groups, and three large oil and gas operators — Anadarko, EnCana, and Noble Energy — along with Colorado’s largest natural gas gathering/processing company, DCP Midstream.

However, several smaller oil and gas companies, along with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and the Colorado Petroleum Association (CPA), opposed the far-reaching aspects of the regulations. COGA spokesman Doug Flanders noted, “Unfortunately, we were not successful in ensuring that the rule accommodates the differences in basins and operators. Nevertheless, we are committed to working with our operators, our communities and the state to successfully and effectively implement these rules.”

According to the Denver Business Journal, “State officials have pegged compliance costs at about $42.5 million a year, or less than $500 per ton of pollution eliminated. Executives at some of the Colorado’s biggest oil and gas companies have said the state’s estimate is in line with their estimates and a cost they consider acceptable.”

Funny thing about estimates that occur before regulations go into effect: they often fall woefully short once the laws of supply and demand kick in. If you must fix something to avoid fines (and yes, avoid damaging the environment), no one is surprised when the cost of fixing that requirement goes way up.

In addition:

The new operations standards are expected to remove from the air about 93,500 tons per day of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cook into ozone on hot, sunny days, state officials have said.

They’re also expected to cut methane leaks by about 65,000 tons per year, with the methane — a strong greenhouse gas — captured and redirected into pipelines bound for markets.

Methane: harmful even when not coming from the backside of a cow

Methane: harmful even when not coming from the backside of a cow

So how are these rules different?

1. The regulations affect all of Colorado

This is something oil and gas proponents don’t like because different areas can have different issues, so a blanket approach not only takes the power away from the individual counties to make their own decisions, but can potentially apply standards that don’t make sense to that area. Like an omnibus or a comprehensive reform bill, some things get over-regulated, where other things aren’t regulated enough. In addition, these sweeping decisions can also be viewed as a state power grab over what should be an ongoing area-by-area conversation. For example, attempts to ban fracking in Colorado went after a statewide approach, got shot down, and returned as county-by-county initiatives (with some successes, some failures).

However, understand this: Similar to how a ban on fracking essentially shuts down oil and gas production, over-regulating methane emissions in producing oil and gas wells can do the same thing. For activists opposed to oil and gas, this is simply a greater victory, but the Average Joe voter may not be aware of all the damaging effects of this sweeping move, especially to the local economy and jobs.

2. The regulations require routine checks for leaks

This makes sense. If equipment is malfunctioning or something needs to be repaired (because it’s not doing what it’s designed to do), it should be fixed. Regulators can check up to once a month and any issue needs to be resolved in 15 days or the company faces ongoing fines.

I’ve been to enough oil and gas conferences to where I’ve heard repeatedly that oil and gas companies state they’re not opposed to regulation, just bad regulation. A lot of the larger companies — like the four above — are stepping out ahead of regulations to embrace these changes. Many of them now realize that the concerns of the Average Joe towards oil and gas are important (even if those concerns are shaped by misinformation supplied by activists opposed to this energy industry). This should be an obvious understanding, but it’s only recently, with some fracking bans succeeding, that valuing these concerns has increased.

But why are these big four on the opposite side of a lot of the smaller companies? Part of it is innovation. I saw a presentation from XTO Energy where they were detailing changes to their standards to improve wildlife protection. They weren’t being forced; it seemed like an “everybody wins” business practice. However, these larger companies can also afford to take a slight hit in Colorado if it helps their PR elsewhere. Noble Energy I’m unsure on; they’re fairly committed to Colorado, but the last time strong oil and gas regulations showed up in Colorado, EnCana slashed their state budget to 10% of what it was the year before. If EnCana pulls back again, they still have a global business to work with, but Colorado takes a hit on the jobs they no longer provide, and the smaller oil and gas companies take a hit due to increased costs.

 3. The regulations specifically target methane

Prior legislation only regulated volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When referring to oil and gas emissions, VOCs typically mean harmful gases and vapors. Previously, no other state has regulated methane, as it’d be difficult to enforce throughout the oil and gas chain. Which brings us to the next point:

4. The regulations include the entire natural gas chain

This includes “the well site, storage tanks, gathering lines and compression stations as well as processing plants.”

I’m all for preventing methane issues — especially in leaking and abandoned wells that should have their environmentally negligent issues addressed — but there are ongoing production areas that will become an issue. I mentioned above that methane regulation would be difficult to enforce throughout the entire chain. It’s not tough to enforce because the EPA doesn’t have the means — they have infrared cameras on helicopters to fly over and fine with ease — it’s tough to enforce because so many parts of producing wells have problems that stem from moving gas, especially with the 95% compliance rate they’ve set.

Natural gas is hard to control. It’s not like you can just grab it in scoops and stick it a giant zip lock bag that’ll never leak, and once it’s loose, there is no amazing net to swat over this loose natural gas to reel it back in.

As with many issues in the oil and gas industry, solutions shift once the existing solution is regulated away.

Vortex Tools has a solution to vented methane emissions at the well site. As with VOCs, the Vortex tool spins the flow of oil, gas, water, and natural gas liquids. By doing so, much of what would be fugitive vapors are converted to liquids and not allowed to escape at the culprit atmospheric release points. This allows operators to remain in compliance with EPA air standards (customer data shows negligible vapors at the well site, even at 103-degree F ambient daytime temperatures) and recover more valuable oil, condensate, and natural gas liquids to boot.

Vortex vapor recovery tool

Vortex vapor recovery tool

For more info on this application, email me at colin (at) vortextools (dot) com.

Of course, the largest sources of methane emissions still belong to termites and volcanoes, but bugs, exploding lava, and giant smoke clouds don’t listen to regulations. Maybe we’ll work on a solution to them next.

For now, it will be interesting to see if other states follow the standards set here or if it’s simply a Colorado-only effect for all the good and bad these regulations can bring.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing 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), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

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, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Vortex Tools looks at the damage done to and from the oil and gas industry during the Colorado flood, as well as why this industry is often unfairly targeted during catastrophic events.

Last time I wrote about the Colorado flood and how it didn’t help the reserve levels in Lakes Mead and Powell (short version: it’d have to flood like that for nearly a year to make up the decades of drought).

Although the 24-hour news cycle went rampaging off to the latest event, there’s still massive amounts of cleanup to do in Boulder County. A woman I know has a fiancé in Lyons (an hour-and-a-half northwest of Denver). They don’t have power there and won’t restore it until the water is out and everything is dry. With limited access, workers (and residents) can’t even get in to start the process. It’ll likely be Christmas before it’s done.

Christmas. Three-and-a-half months after the initial flooding. Could you survive that long without going home or to work?

Now here’s what didn’t happen: No one logically grilled the builders of these homes and businesses for these structures getting overwhelmed by a raging body of water that unexpectedly shows up once every thousand years. No one logically went after road makers and bridge builders when they literally broke off from the force of the flood.

Why? Because most sane people get that you can’t build around rare, catastrophic events.

Sure, it’s an engineer’s dream to build a structure that would hold up to Godzilla or Mothra (clearly not both, that’d be nuts), but it’s not feasible or affordable on a widespread level.

Yet the oil and gas industry isn’t afforded that same understanding.

I get it. I work on the green side of oil and gas: reducing the environmental impact of flares and harmful CO2 vapors, recovering 10 times more natural gas liquids than conventional methods, etc., but being around the unreasonable brand of environmentalism long enough, I know their thinking. I hear the comments on how the U.S. should quit our oil addiction (coupled with an image of an evil, yet delightfully ripped Uncle Sam jamming a needle full of crude in his arm).

Oh yes, he will wear (patriotic) white after Labor Day

Oh yes, he will wear (patriotic) white after Labor Day

This is where I start asking for items—smart phones, glasses—that wouldn’t be possible without the plastic made from oil and gas. I offer to take a sledgehammer to the plastic parts of their Priuses and mountain bikes so that they can remain principled, but thus far, no one has taken me up on the offer or allowed me to pawn off their iPhone.

Still, there’s a valid question as to the damage done to and from the Colorado oil and gas market as a result of the flood.

These are actually some scary stats: Thus far, 43,000 gallons of oil have been reported to be in or near the South Platte River. As 20% of the fields in the Wattenberg Basin have yet to be examined, other problem areas will likely arise. Before the flood hit, oil and gas companies in the area raced to shut in nearly 1,900 oil and gas wells to prevent damage both to their production and the surrounding areas. Noble Energy is reported to take a hit of $7 to $17 million from lost production and flood damage, but the final tally is not yet in.

Officials from the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission think that, with the flood and road damage, it’ll take about 90 days to repair—so pretty much the same reparation timeline that everyone else is forced to work with.

This is the type of pain point no one wanted (save the types of people who never want to see a good catastrophe go to waste). Everything in the area got affected by the flood, and yes, everything includes oil and gas. So why are they specifically targeted?

Because no one likes a dirty industry making money.

The perception of the oil and gas is that it’s a rich industry. Sure, it makes billions, but the overall net profit margin is low because it also spends billions to capture those values. Of the 215 total industries, major integrated oil and gas comes in at #114 with 6.2% net profit margin. Drilling and exploration does better at a 9.9% (placing at #60), but overall, oil and gas is not the flush industry that should be hit up before all others with more taxes and fewer subsidies. If there is such a slot, it belongs to Closed-End Fund Equity with an 81% net profit margin.

Still, some are using the damage from the flood to move against the oil and gas industry: “Researchers from the University of Colorado studying how to limit the natural gas industry’s impact on the environment and communities are collecting soil samples along the river looking for evidence of benzene, a carcinogen, and benzene compounds, left behind by the spilled oil.”

If you’re going to play around in a fantasy land of no negative consequences in moving away from the energy resources generated by oil and gas, you might as well project how much time and money could’ve been saved from not flooding, but this is the reality we get to deal with.

Sigh. Looks like I’ve got some university Priuses and mountain bikes to smash.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing 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), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

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, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Vortex Tools explains why, with fuel costs and slim profit margins, the airline industry is one of the likeliest to not go green.

By Flickr user Axwel [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsI’ve mouthed off a lot about airlines lately (see here and here). Maybe it’s just that I’m experiencing their joys and troubles more often from traveling. For instance, the fact that a plane can leave the gate, then stall on the runway while luggage gets loaded on late, while still allowing the airline to check the box for an “on time” departure is indicative of the level of meaningless standards.

But here’s my bent today: I realized a while ago that the airline industry has no motivation to go green.

Many environmentalists don’t like oil and gas, but there are motivations to keep the industry cleaner. In the event of an oil spill, there are fines, cleanup costs, public relations pains, etc. In the event of too many CO2 emissions from the wellhead, the producer gets fined until they’re in compliance with air laws. Additionally, regulations keep changing—usually in a way that’s stricter on oil and gas pollution. Flaring gas is continuing to get scaled back and I doubt fracking will make it, in its current form, through another 10 years.

Vortex vapor recovery tool

Vortex vapor recovery tool

In working in the oil and gas sector—using Vortex Tools to vastly reduce CO2 emissions and to recover 10 times more valuable natural gas liquids to make a profit while burning a cleaner flare—I can tell you that all of these aspects equate to motivation to make a dirty industry cleaner.

But airlines don’t really have this kind of motivation.

Like any other industry, they can spin their efforts as green, but it’s about intent and application. Everything the airlines do is to get planes in the air with less cost. The biggest obstacle to this is the price of fuel. While they can’t control the cost of the commodity, they can control the weight they’re putting on the plane. You may be familiar with examples of airlines using lighter seats, thinner and lighter magazines, and not serving food on shorter flights.

(The exception to all these rules is if you pay a premium—for larger seats, for extra luggage, for food on the short ride.)

Then there are some uglier examples of controlling weight. While we’re seeing people get dinged for their bag being overweight, we’re also seeing examples of people getting dinged for they themselves being overweight. I get it logistically—I’m a small man and the airline experience gets me way too familiar with the odors and feel of the people around me—but you can see how this can get cruel quick. I’ve got some larger friends who understand that they need to buy a first class ticket if they want to fly comfortably, but what happens when you put these kinds of requirements on say, an obese kid?

In addition, the cynical part of me is waiting to hear some secret audio from a worldwide airline executive complaining about how fat Americans are ruining profit margins. In the mean time, Samoa Air has already introduced a “pay what you weigh” model.

During the Cleantech Open, I met a company, Molon Labe, who made a sliding airline seat. The value of this is that you could load / unload the plane faster (slide over the middle seat on your side and go), get a faster turnaround (using energy in the air instead of wasting it on the ground), and, according to them, saving airlines $75,000 a day in fuel costs (not sure how many planes would need to install their seats to get that number, but it’s still significant).

As the Cleantech Open had a large sustainability component, Molon Labe’s argument was that this kind of efficiency could allow a plane to have more flights in a day, allowing airlines to remove planes from their fleet entirely. In theory, less planes = less energy use = less environmental impact, but from what I’ve seen of this industry, less energy use + greater flight turnaround = more flights in a day. More flights in a day = more environmental impact, and, if it makes sense and the profit margin is good enough, more planes in the fleet.

It’s a reality that rarely gets pushed back on companies touting green, but more efficiency does not always equal greater sustainability.

In the end, regardless of what I think of certain airline practices, I know it’s a tough industry. The profit margins are surprisingly slim and most airline companies go bankrupt at some point. As comedian Louis CK noted, it is amazing that we can sit in chairs and fly through the sky to the other side of the world (see 2:00 on — yes, the clip is in English):

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing 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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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.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADisused_Industrial_Building%2C_Off_Pasture_lane_-_geograph.org.uk_-_101328.jpg

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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Vortex Tools discusses how it’s possible to be a green technology in the oft-vilified oil and gas industry. From eliminating harmful vapors to recovering up to 10 times more natural gas liquids than conventional methods, Vortex Tools keep oil and gas wells running efficiently and safely.

It’s not hard to figure out that people are more inclined to go green when it has a financial benefit, since even the staunchest opponent of green issues likes more green in his wallet. Not surprisingly, this also applies to the oil and gas industry. Yeah, I know, every time I bring up the green side of oil and gas, I have to assure people I’m not writing fiction (or lying to cover for an ill-favored industry), but one of the ways Vortex Tools makes the oil and gas industry more energy efficient is to squeeze more profitability out of what’s already there.

Yes, seriously, on fire

A couple of alternative energy resources that regularly get burned along the way — yes, literally set on fire — are natural gas liquids (NGL) or condensates. This is because several states allow oil and gas companies to flare the natural gas (containing the NGLs) for a set period of time. For all the controversy about fracking, I’m surprised this practice is still allowed, considering the negative environmental impact of flaring and that the energy from this natural gas could be used to heat a half-million homes for a day. While I’ve yet to meet a monocle-wearing oil and gas executive who twiddles his mustache and laughs maniacally, sometimes it’s easy to see why the oil and gas industry are more easily pegged as villains. However, one of the reasons oil and gas companies often flare the gas is not because it isn’t profitable, it’s that with gas values (which have stayed relatively low despite the up-and-down values of oil) and the associated pipeline costs to take it to market, natural gas isn’t profitable enough.

With this in mind, Vortex Tools decided to market the benefits of its natural gas liquids recovery (SX-NGL) tool to oil and gas companies’ bottom line. (Sure, it’s easy to wag our “We are the 99%” fingers at corporations looking to make more money off environmental issues, but look at how an individual green responsibilities like recycling have tanked when homeowners have to help pay for the process instead of subsidies.) In enabling these oil and gas companies to make a greater profit, alternative energy resources are maximized, and harmful environmental practices are eliminated.

By spinning gases back into liquids, the Vortex tools knock out more natural gas liquids like butane, pentane and propane—valuable liquids that are sold for three times the value of the gas (at current rates). Additionally, oil and gas producers have to pay a large treatment cost to remove these “nuisance liquids” from the gas to purify it to a sellable quality, but since the valuable liquids are removed before the processing plant, the producer gets greater value, the plant gets a purer gas ready for sale and the consumer gets more alternative fuels. (Processing plants can also use these Vortex SX-NGL tools to purify their product.) One East Texas producer studied these Vortex NGL recovery tools for 15 months and found that, in one year, they had generated over $2 million worth of NGLs (as well as reducing their gas treatment costs) from a $200,000 investment (which includes the cost of the Vortex tools and associated tanks/installation). Again, this profit number is before calculating all the processing costs saved.

A brochure about this increased NGL recovery can be found here.

For more applications—including how Vortex downhole tools extend the decline curve of an oil and gas well, allowing it to free flow under its own production without major intervention—as well as technical papers and case studies, please visit 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 a 3.5% 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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