Power: reliable, clean, and simple.

Understanding Field Power Emissions Profiles and Options

The electrification of the oilfield is a significant trend driven by leading oil and gas producers seeking to make their operations cleaner, more reliable and more sustainable. As noted in our previous article What Are Your Options for Oil and Gas Power Generation?, demand for electric power in the Permian Basin is forecast to outstrip the capacity of utilities.

The problem is real. The Journal of Petroleum Technology reported that Permian producers will need to quadruple their electric supply from the 4.2 GW available in 2022 to 19 GW by 2036. S&P Global estimates the region must add approximately 1,500 MW of capacity every year for the next several years to meet growing demand. S&P Global further estimated that this massive grid expansion, if it were possible, would result in a surge in industrial power usage in the Permian, mostly in the upstream sector, from 66% to over 90%.

Operators in the Permian aren’t waiting around for utilities and are taking steps to replace reciprocating engine generators, and other equipment with cleaner, more reliable electrically powered equipment. Some large producers have gone so far as to build their own electrical substations tied directly to the grid, while others are exploring off-grid options that provide increased reliability and even greater emissions reduction. Access to power is a critical factor for success. 

Emissions Overview

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broadly classifies emissions into three categories based on their source and association with a company’s operations:

Scope 1 Emissions: These are direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that arise from sources a company owns or controls. An instance would be emissions resulting from burning diesel fuel for power generation.

Scope 2 Emissions: Indirect GHG emissions that are a consequence of the energy a company procures and uses. If a company is sourcing electric power from the grid, the emissions linked to the generation of that power by the utility company are classified as Scope 2 emissions.

Scope 3 Emissions: GHG emissions in this category aren’t directly produced by the company nor result from assets they control. Instead, they originate from operations up and down the company’s value chain that it has an indirect responsibility for. Emissions from fuel trucks transporting fuel to generators, for instance, fall under this category.

Of these, companies typically have the most influence over reducing Scope 1 emissions. The graphic below illustrates how emissions sources are classified into Scope 1, 2 and 3 categories by EPA.

Source: WRI/WBCSD Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard (PDF)

Comparison of Emission Profiles for Field Power Options

We discuss how emissions from commonly available field power options are classified by the emissions source, as defined by EPA and their relative impact on emissions.

Utility Power (The Grid):

  • Scope 1: Not applicable, as the operator is merely a consumer and doesn’t produce direct emissions and all the emissions for grid power are the emissions profile of the specific utility the power is sourced from.
  • Scope 2: Typically, higher than gas turbines (see below) but lower than most reciprocating engines. The comparison, however, must be made on a regional basis as different utilities have different compositions of power generation sources, including coal, natural gas, wind, solar, hydropower, and others.
  • Scope 3: Not applicable to an operator since the grid is the power source.

Reciprocating Engine Generators (Diesel Powered):

  • Scope 1: High due to the direct combustion of diesel fuel.
  • Scope 2: Not applicable to an operator since most of the power generated is consumed directly and not purchased.
  • Scope 3: High, mainly from diesel fuel delivery and associated logistics.

Reciprocating Engine Generators (Natural Gas Powered):

  • Scope 1: Medium, given the combustion of natural gas produces fewer emissions than diesel.
  • Scope 2: Not applicable to an operator since most of the power generated is consumed directly and not purchased.
  • Scope 3: Medium to low, considering the transportation and supply chain emissions of natural gas and/or potential for fuel gas line leaks if using gas produced on site.

Gas Turbine Generators:

  • Scope 1: Medium to low, given they use natural gas, however their combustion process is significantly cleaner than reciprocating engines.
  • Scope 2: Not applicable to an operator since, in most applications, the generator is on-site.
  • Scope 3: Medium to low, considering the supply chain emissions related to natural gas and the potential for fuel gas line leaks.

Flex Turbine:

  • Scope 1: Lowest emissions option and meets the most stringent state and federal requirements for air permitting.
  • Scope 2: Not applicable to an operator since, in most applications, the generator is on-site.
  • Scope 3: Medium to low, considering the supply chain emissions related to natural gas and the potential for fuel gas line leaks.

The graph below compares the Flex Turbine’s emissions performance relative to other commonly available power options.

READ MORE: Best Practices for Oil & Gas Field Power Solutions

FlexEnergy Gas Turbine Options

Flex Turbine® GT333S Microturbine. The GT333S offers high reliability, low emissions and wide fuel tolerance in a scalable/modular design. With more than 20 years of engineering and manufacturing experience, coupled with over a decade of operating a lease fleet, the Flex Turbine is proven, dependable. It delivers 333 kW of continuous clean power.

The Flex Turbine is usually cleaner than most grid power options. The graphic below illustrates the various grid regions reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and how their NOx emissions vary.

Source: U.S. EPA eGRID Data Explorer

Using 2021 data from EPA eGRID, the most recent year for which data is available, the chart below illustrates how the Flex Turbine’s NOx emissions compare to the two grid regions serving most of the Permian Basin and the U.S. national average:

GT2000S (powered by Siemens) For larger projects, the GT2000S delivers up to 2.0 megawatts of clean electric power, capable of powering large projects with the operational simplicity of one unit.

 

READ MORE: Introducing the GT2000S 2.0 MW Gas Turbine

Benefits of Choosing FlexEnergy

Choosing FlexEnergy Solutions can give you a competitive advantage in uptime and cost control:

  1. Reliable (Maximize Production). The high reliability and few moving parts contribute to the highest uptime and reliability of the Flex Turbine microturbine and GT2000S, especially when compared to reciprocating engine generators, safeguarding continuous production and cash flow. The Flex Turbine requires only one eight-hour scheduled maintenance annually, typically completed in one shift.
  2. Eliminates Diesel. The Flex Turbine uses gas produced on site to generate power. This eliminates the emissions associated with the vehicles used to transport diesel the well site as well as provides a lower emissions power option than diesel- or gasoline-powered reciprocating engines.
  3. Low Operating Emissions. Flex Turbine represents the lowest emissions alternative, aligning with environmental objectives and regulations. Low exhaust emissions of ≤10ppm NOx and CO (corrected to 15% Oxygen on natural gas at ISO conditions). Meets most stringent state and federal requirements for air permitting.
  4. Reduce or Eliminate Flaring. The Flex Turbine reliably generates power using collected flare gas and vent gas, converting a waste stream into beneficial use, reducing overall wellsite emissions.
  5. Flexible, Scalable. The modular design of the Flex Turbine allows special and custom turbine configurations to be built, including microgrids. Individual main components can be modified or designed out of custom turbine configurations.
  6. Wide Fuel Tolerance. Runs on gas ranging from 350 Btu/scf to 2,500 Btu/scf (lower heating value), handles sour gas with H2S content up to 6,500 ppmv, safely uses Acid Gas containing up to 70% CO2 and can burn gas with up to 30% hydrogen content.
  7. Multiple Flex Turbines can be combined into a single FlexGrid microgrid that can scale up, or down, based on changing power needs.
  8. Remote Monitoring Capability. Flex Turbines come equipped with remote monitoring capabilities, enabling real-time performance tracking and predictive maintenance, ensuring maximum uptime and efficiency.
  9. Service Locations. FlexEnergy Solutions has service locations strategically positioned in key oil and gas regions, including North Dakota (Bakken), Texas (Permian Basin), Alberta (Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin), Pennsylvania (Appalachian Basin) and Southern California, for guaranteed swift and efficient support.
  10. Leasing Option. FlexEnergy provides a leasing option, offering cost-effective access to their reliable and efficient power solutions.

Summary

Off-grid power solutions provide a preferred option for upstream Oil & Gas operators seeking an ultra-reliable, low-emissions oilfield electrification solution.

Contact FlexEnergy Solutions to learn more about our reliable, clean and simple field power solutions at info@flexenergy.com or +1 (720) 573-7664.