Statoil uses “Last Mile” solution to reduce gas flaring in the Bakken

Gas flare
Source: DollarPhotoClub

The Last Mile Fuelling is a novel solution developed by GE in cooperation with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels that allows E&P companies to capture and reuse natural gas that otherwise would be flared.

Taking previously uneconomic natural gas directly from a flare stack, oilfield production site, or from a remote pipeline, the solution allows the gas to be compressed and delivered the final distance, or the “Last Mile,” to make cleaner, cheaper fuelling economic in the most remote E&P areas while reducing environmental impact.

It therefore helps companies eliminate flaring and monetise previously wasted gas by putting it to work to fuel their own operations and in the local fuelling networks.

The Last Mile Fueling has been adopted as a pilot project by the oil giant Statoil in the company’s Bakken oilfield operations. The company anticipates it will increase its flare gas capture to between 3-5 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) by the end of 2014. This equates to total greenhouse gas emission reductions of 120,000-200,000 metric tons per year – the equivalent of removing 25,000-45,000 cars from the road. The natural gas that Statoil captures and which is not able to use in its own operations will be compressed and sold to ancillary markets.

“By using this captured natural gas in place of diesel in our drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, we are further reducing emissions and costs. This is both good for the bottom line and the climate,” says Statoil Bakken development and production vice president Lance Langford.

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 forced to flare off up to 30 per cent —or 300 million cubic feet per day — of the associated natural gas produced in the Bakken field alone.

Statoil is collaborating with authorities and industry through the North Dakota Flaring Task Force with the ambition to capture 90 per cent of flaring in the area within 2020. The company also joined the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) public-private partnership in 2002. GGFR has set an ambition to reduce flaring globally by 30 per cent within 2017. Statoil has an ambition of no flaring in its operations.

GE and Ferus NGF are also 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 fueling more than 100 drill rigs in North Dakota.

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