A joint venture of General Electric and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, along with energy company Statoil, says it will expand a pilot project to capture flare gas and use it to power up to six of Statoil’s drill rigs and one frac fleet in North Dakota.
The expansion is the first step by Statoil to move into full commercial adoption of the GE and Ferus NGF joint venture’s Last Mile Fueling Solution, which the companies expected to reduce emissions and provide cost-savings for the company’s Bakken oilfield operations.
Statoil’s Last Mile pilot project has been in place for about eight months near Watford City, N.D. During this time, it has been capturing natural gas that would otherwise be flared, and has used it instead to assist power for its oil and gas operations. The company anticipates this new commercial expansion will increase its flare gas capture to between 3 million and up to 5 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) by the end of 2014, equating to GHG emissions reductions of between 120,000 and up to 200,000 metric tons per year.
North Dakota’s Bakken is one of the key regions where energy companies are focusing on unconventional oil and gas exploration and production. However, because these emerging oil fields often lack the pipeline infrastructure to store and transport the natural gas produced along with oil, operators are flaring off up to 30 percent — or 300 million cubic feet per day — of the associated natural gas produced in the Bakken field alone.
Last Mile is a joint venture solution between GE Ventures and Ferus NGF to provide a full-service natural gas fueling system for operators by combining GE’s CNG In A Box compressed natural gas-fueling technology and the operational and logistics expertise of Ferus NGF. It helps E&P companies eliminate flaring and monetize previously wasted gas by using it to fuel their own operations and in the local fueling networks. The companies say this approach is better for the environment and it creates a clean alternative fuel resource in an infrastructure-constrained region, helping companies meet new gas flaring standards while cutting fuel costs.
GE and Ferus NGF also are in discussions with the other major players in the Bakken region about using the Last Mile system for their operations, with the potential of eliminating another 10 million scfd of flared gas, enough to fuel more than 100 drill rigs in North Dakota.