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Oil boom creates economic push for gas flaring
Dallas News ^ | January 30, 2013 | Jim Landers

Posted on 01/30/2013 1:26:37 PM PST by thackney

Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter said Wednesday the state’s rapidly increasing oil production was posing “a very difficult economic question” for drillers faced with curbing oil production or flaring natural gas produced along with the oil.

Natural gas is selling at only a fraction of the fuel content price of oil. And oil wells are being completed before natural gas pipeline connections can catch up. As a result, the Texas Railroad Commission issued 1,963 flaring permits last year, more than six times as many as it did in 2010.

...

Texas oil production has increased rapidly in the last two years because of the success of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling...

Drillers are normally permitted to flare the gas associated with oil well drilling until 10 days after the well is completed. The permits issued by the commission can extend that period for up to 180 days.

Porter noted less than half a percent of the natural gas produced in Texas is flared.

(Excerpt) Read more at bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: eagleford; energy; naturalgas; oil

1 posted on 01/30/2013 1:26:47 PM PST by thackney
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To: thackney

Can someone explain “flaring” and the significance?


2 posted on 01/30/2013 1:36:13 PM PST by Kolath
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To: Kolath

Not an expert, but when you drill for oil you also get natural gas and water. You separate them at the well pad, or close to it. Water you might treat, but gas you have to get rid of either by re-injecting in another well (expensive) or “flaring” it. Flaring is burning, just like a BBQ or lighter, only it’s typically a stack.


3 posted on 01/30/2013 1:44:32 PM PST by RGF
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To: Kolath

Too much gas is produced along with the oil production just to vent it through the tanks as is normally done, so they burn “flare” it so they can produce the oil from the well.


4 posted on 01/30/2013 1:47:03 PM PST by IMR 4350
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To: Kolath

Flaring is the burning of Natural Gas at the oil well site.

It is not used to run an engine, heat a vessel or do any work.

It is just burned from a flare stack. It is just a vent that has be ignited.

If the gathering lines and other infrastructure was in place, they would move the gas to market.

But the individual gas production (at the oil well) is not cost economic to hold back the oil production to recover a little bit of gas.

To shut down the gas flow, you either have to shut down the oil well, or release the gas either in a flare or send it down a pipeline.


5 posted on 01/30/2013 1:48:29 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Kolath

“...Can someone explain “flaring” and the significance?...”

After the well is finalized, high pressure gas brings the oil up with it. They run a battery of tests on the well to determine flow rates, chemical make-up, and other important technical data pertinent to the particular well. This high pressure oil/gas mixture is run thru a separator to break the oil free of the gas. The gas is then burned (flared) rather than just hazardously released unburned to the air during this testing. Once testing is completed, the well is piped up to deliver the mixed product to a permanent separation/treating facility and usually no more test flaring is done at the well site. I believe it is these test flares that they are talking about. They’re temporary and I’m not sure what the hullabaloo is all about. They keep the testing to a minimum. Yes, the gas does not bring the price that oil does, but it is still a valuable product and they don’t want to flare any more of it than they have to. The separation facilities have permanent flares that are used to flare off waste by-products from the separation process and/or to flare gas from the plant should there be a plant upset for any reason, much like a refinery. I don’t think they’re talking about those flares.


6 posted on 01/30/2013 1:49:13 PM PST by lgjhn23 (It's easy to be liberal when you're dumber than a box of rocks.)
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To: thackney

The only time we flare is if it’s H2s otherwise we just flow to the frack tanks and let it vent to the atmosphere. This is only done until we get the flowlines and meters in.


7 posted on 01/30/2013 2:02:47 PM PST by Dusty Road
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To: Dusty Road; thackney; lgjhn23; Kolath

Why is it that the flared natural gas is not used to run engines on the drilling site.


8 posted on 01/30/2013 2:17:00 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

What engines? Once it’s drilled the rig moves off, now we do use some casinghead gas to run Ajax motors for the pumpjacks if no electricity is available.


9 posted on 01/30/2013 2:29:09 PM PST by Dusty Road
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To: ckilmer

The use of most of the mechanical equipment is before the well can produce anything. It’s still being drilled to get to the oil & gas. By the time, we have a useable product that could be used to run equipment, the drilling is usually pretty much completed. Could this equipment be powered via of natural gas? Yep! And a lot of times we do use it, such as powering compressors, generators, etc. but the gas been separated and treated and when available. Actually, raw untreated gas is pretty nasty. It will have water, oil, solids and all kinds of crap in it, but yeah, once treated, we will use it whenever we can since we own it anyway.


10 posted on 01/30/2013 2:43:57 PM PST by lgjhn23 (It's easy to be liberal when you're dumber than a box of rocks.)
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To: thackney

Here on the Bakken the flare stacks of familiar locations lets me know where I am when it’s dark and I need to make a turn or find the location I ‘m going to.

As flat as it is here you can see the flare stacks for a great distance.

Down by the misery river (the Missouri river) you can see the flare stacks across the river but you would have to drive 40 miles to get to them


11 posted on 01/30/2013 3:03:05 PM PST by South Dakota (shut up and build a bakken pipe line)
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To: thackney
Texas oil production has increased rapidly in the last two years...

And it would have increased at an exponentially greater rate during those years if not for the burdensome regulations imposed by the Obama regime. He hates America's domestic energy companies and places roadblocks at every turn to enrich his muzzie brethren in the Mideast.

12 posted on 01/30/2013 4:00:40 PM PST by re_nortex (DP...that's what I like about Texas.)
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To: ckilmer
Why is it that the flared natural gas is not used to run engines on the drilling site.

You don't get the gas until the drilling is completed.

13 posted on 01/31/2013 3:15:52 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Kolath
You get natural gas dissolved in the oil.

When it gets to the surface, that gas is separated form the oil so the oil can be transported by truck, at least initially until a pipeline is built.

You have to do something with the gas, which must be processed before you liquefy it to remove the water and heavier fractions which could create problems.

Until a pipeline is run to the well site, flaring (burning off the gas at the well site) permits producing the oil at the best rate.

Shutting the well in can damage the formation and result in lower production rates over the long haul, so that is to be avoided if possible. It also means the investment is just sitting there, and not paying for itself.

14 posted on 01/31/2013 3:42:55 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: South Dakota

Lighting the prairie, one flare stack at a time...(8^D)


15 posted on 01/31/2013 3:45:31 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: thackney

You don’t get the gas until the drilling is completed.
..........
but can’t they use that gas to power nearby engines that are drilling as well as all the vehicular traffic in the neighborhood? That would really cut initial costs.


16 posted on 01/31/2013 11:49:07 AM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer
but can’t they use that gas to power nearby engines that are drilling as well as all the vehicular traffic in the neighborhood? That would really cut initial costs.

Two items, it is often miles, so building pipelines for that temporary power is less cost effective than building pipelines for a permanent gas supply to the main pipelines.

Keep in mind, you are not going to be sure about how much gas is produced until after you drill.

Secondly, wellhead gas is not really clean enough for use. It can and has been used, as some location, but there is a gas processing plant between the wells and the consumers in natural gas systems.

17 posted on 01/31/2013 11:56:56 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

You would think some entrepeneur would have come up with a gaggle of mylar blimps to collect for processing this gas wasted in flaring. A taveling processing plant would be a good notion, too.


18 posted on 01/31/2013 12:02:32 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: thackney

You would think some entrepeneur would have come up with a gaggle of mylar blimps to collect for processing this gas wasted in flaring. A taveling processing plant would be a good notion, too.


19 posted on 01/31/2013 12:02:50 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: MHGinTN

A thousand cubic feet of natural gas at atmospheric pressure at the wellhead is going to be worth about $2.

If it was economic to make money off the volume and location, I can assure everyone, it would already be done by the oil/gas companies.

It is a low enough volume at selected sites, that it is going to cost them money, when they are forced to shut down the flares. By waiting as long as possible, they are just helping the cash flow from the oil help prepay that cost.


20 posted on 01/31/2013 12:34:48 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Two items,

it is often miles, so building pipelines for that temporary power is less cost effective than building pipelines for a permanent gas supply to the main pipelines.

but there is a gas processing plant between the wells and the consumers in natural gas systems.
...........
sound like someone needs to invent a cheap portable gas processing and LNG plant. So you would just roll that portable plant into site, process the gas and then liquify it and put it on a truck.


21 posted on 01/31/2013 1:19:40 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

It ain’t that easy.

Gas Processing has rather significant requirements and is designed for the gas stream. Lots of CO2, or high H2S, or Nitrogen, or water, or different ratios of ethane, butane, propane, etc.

This isn’t a filter. It takes significant horspower and heat generation to complete. You are not going to fit it on a couple trailers. And you darn sure are not going to get to purity required to make LNG.


22 posted on 01/31/2013 1:25:23 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Smokin' Joe

“Lighting the prairie...”

No kiddin’. Maybe someone should persuade the annual ‘Burning Man Festival’ to meet in the Bakken next year.

Talk about your clash of cultures—lol!


23 posted on 01/31/2013 1:41:05 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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