The objective of the Distributed Generation/Offgases project is to demonstrate the ability to convert flared or stranded gas of various heat content values and quality, which is a by-product of oil production, into distributed-generation electricity. This research will be demonstrated through four field installations: one using a high-British Thermal Unit (BTU) stranded gas with a value above 1,600 BTUs per standard cubic foot (SCF) of gas; one using a medium-BTU gas that does not meet the quality requirements for commercial pipelines in California; one using harshly contaminated fuel gas with high levels of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide; and one using ultralow-BTU gas (below 300 BTU/SCF).
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), Oklahoma City, OK
California Oil Producers Electric Cooperative (COPE), Long Beach, CA
Flex Energy, Mission Viejo, CA
In California stranded gas, defined as gas that cannot qualify for commercial pipelines, has become a major problem, as it is inhibiting, or causing the early abandonment and loss of, domestic oil production. Traditional solutions to the stranded gas problem have been to either flare the gas, which adds to air quality problems without receiving any beneficial use from the gas; using valuable electrical energy to reinject the associated gas that must be re-produced later; or shutting down the oil production, leading to early abandonment of the oil well and thereby leaving the valuable resource in the ground. The Distributed Generation/Offgases project is developing the technology and expertise needed to turn this waste by-product into electricity, using a fuel previously considered unusable and uneconomic to produce.
The project has demonstrated that distributed generation using waste or stranded gas from oilfields as a fuel is a viable and environmentally clean solution to disposal, reinjection, or abandonment of gas associated with oil production.
This project seeks to add 75,000 barrels per day of domestic oil production within the next 10 years by preventing the waste of valuable oil resources through premature plugging and abandonment, or shutdown, of marginal oil wells due to economic and regulatory constraints. Based on an analysis by COPE, 40-60 percent of today’s cost of oil production and delivery is the cost of electricity. The objective of this project is to increase oil production by utilizing flared and shut-in gas from California’s oilfields to generate valuable low-cost electricity, displacing high-cost grid power. A successful project will extend the productive life of marginal oil wells and thereby aid in reducing our Nation’s reliance on uncertain foreign oil sources. Additional benefits include reducing our foreign trade deficit, lowering unemployment, reducing greenhouse gases and NOx emissions, and generating additional revenues for local, State, and Federal governments.
Project highlights include the following:
The project has achieved the following milestones:
The project is completed. The final report is available below under "Additional Information"..
IOGCC received a grant from DOE subsequent to a proposal submitted in response to PUMP III solicitation number DE-PS26-02NT15378-1.
$1,304,860 (57 percent of total)
Other Government Organizations Involved: California Energy Commission PIER GROUP, South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Final Project Report [PDF-18.1MB] - April 28, 2008