Utilising flare gas to generate power in the oil-and-gas sector

4 December 2019
Dynamic expansion of the oil-and-gas industry continues to fuel the demand for new technologies that tackle the impact of flare gas emissions globally. While the production of oil has grown by roughly 30% over the past two decades, the climate impact of flare gas, typically considered a waste by-product by the oil-and-gas industry, continues to be a cause for concern. Globally, 140 million cubic meters of natural gas are flared annually, emitting more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the environment.
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According to Cummins, a lack of infrastructure to capture and sell the flare gas released when drilling for oil is a major environmental problem. Billions of dollars in wasted natural gas could be used to generate reliable, affordable electricity, and yield billions more per year in increased global economic output.

“Governments, development institutions and oil companies around the world are being pressured to look at the amount of money spent in gas flaring, and the damage it is causing to the environment,” Linda Nezerwe, Technical Specialist at Cummins, and expert in emissions control for both diesel and gas generator sets, says.

The company recently launched the HSK78G natural gas generator series, designed to provide reliable power regardless of the natural gas source or the climate, and capable of generating power from very aggressive fuels otherwise considered waste products. “The quantity of unburned fuel that needs to be flared is usually known, but the question is what to do with it,” Nezerwe adds.

The World Bank, which has launched an initiative called Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, has stated that, if this quantity of gas were used for power generation, it could provide about 750 billion kWh of electricity, or more than the African continent’s current annual electricity consumption. While associated gas cannot always be used to produce power, it can often be utilised in a number of other productive ways, or conserved.

“A critical development for the oil-and-gas industry is the advancing technology in natural gas generators to utilise fuel sources that would otherwise be considered water products,” Nezerwe highlights. “This leads to robust power solutions even with very aggressive fuels with minimal derating.

The result is that routine flaring can be reduced and transformed into a more environment-friendly option, while also helping communities by supplying electricity. These advancements in power generation applications allow operators to utilise environmentally harmful raw flare gas for diverse purposes instead of simply burning it, with clear benefits to the environment.

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About Cummins

Cummins Inc., a global technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that designs, manufactures, distributes and services a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as well as related technologies, including transmissions, battery systems, fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions, and power generation systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 62,600 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations, and over 7,600 dealer locations. In 2018, the company earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $23.8 billion. See how Cummins is powering a world that’s Always On by accessing news releases and more information at https://www.cummins.com/always-on. Follow Cummins on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cummins and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/cumminsinc.  

 

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