Monetizing associated gas
FOURTH GENERATION GTL TECHNOLOGY SIMPLIFIES THE PROCESS
AND IS AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE TO FLARING
DMITRY POPOV, INFRA TECHNOLOGY, HOUSTON
PHOTOS BY INFRA TECHNOLOGY
IT IS BECOMING CHALLENGING and expensive to keep
the current pace of oil exploration while minimizing environmental impact. Scientists are looking for innovative ways
to produce fuel, and creating synthetic fuel out of associated
gas is a solution.
ASSOCIATED GAS MONETIZATION
About 5% of the world’s natural gas production goes up in
smoke every year. Associated petroleum gas is a by-product
of petroleum oil separation, which is commonly vented or
burned into the atmosphere instead of reaching customers
or being consumed on site. This is a $40 billion loss of a
non-renewable natural energy resource that could provide
for a quarter of the United States’ natural gas needs.
According to World Bank data for 2014, the United States
ranks fourth in the world in gas flaring, and with the rapid
growth of oil production in North Dakota, even more natural
gas is being flared.
It is becoming increasingly controversial to vent nearly
400 million tons of carbon monoxide and harmful pollutants
into the environment, but government regulations and flaring
penalties can backfire, resulting in cutbacks in US oil pro-
duction. Without a solution to APG, remote and deepwater
oil production are hampered because there are no close
markets for the natural gas, and separate transportation
equipment is cost-prohibitive.
Estimates reveal that 370 billion cubic feet of APG are
re-injected into the ground every year, but this is temporary
and can endanger future oil production in the area. The
current preferred solution is a liquefied natural gas, which
is costly and requires building a new, separate infrastructure
for storage and transportation.