Our businesses around the world strive daily to improve energy efficiency and minimize our environmental footprint. By implementing improvement projects that produce oil and gas more efficiently with less impact on the environment we can reduce energy use, conserve resources, yield cost savings and extend asset life.
“We are confident that we can operate efficiently while also reducing our impact on the environment,” said Perry Berkenpas, vice president, Global Production Excellence.
Completed efficiency projects in 2013 alone are estimated to have reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 1,200,000 metric tons. Emission reductions resulting from some projects – for example, reduced methane venting during well completions – occur only once when the activity takes place, whereas others will continue to deliver energy efficiency and GHG reduction benefits for a number of years into the future.
We are an early adopter of reduced emissions completion technology that is reaping both environmental and business rewards in the U.S. San Juan Field. The technology allows our team to recover natural gas produced during initial well cleanup and flow testing rather than flaring or venting it. The recovery equipment cleans up and, if necessary, compresses the gas stream, enabling it to flow into the sales pipeline. In addition to the energy efficiency of these “green completions,” our San Juan operations were also able to achieve operational improvement through optimizing compression.
All our wells in the San Juan Basin now utilize green completions, and the company plans to extend the project to as many other regions as possible.
In Western Canada, our team working on gas production operations delivered improvements through a variety of projects and optimization activities, including the installation of technology that uses an advanced air-to-fuel ratio control system to convert rich-burn engines to operate on a lean-burn combustion basis.
In addition to economic and environmental benefits, we are realizing other intangible advantages.
“We work closely with our industry partners and provincial and federal regulators to share learnings and implement new practices to improve overall industry efficiency,” said Paul Slobodnik, team lead, Operations Energy Efficiency. “As a result, we are now working with other industry partners and the Government of Alberta to develop technologies to reduce GHG emissions.”
Waste-heat recovery has lowered fuel use by recovering energy in the form of heat from the exhaust of large, natural gas-powered engines. At the Berland Gas Plant, engineers determined that installation of a waste-heat exchanger would allow recovered heat to be utilized within the plant’s heat medium system, saving approximately 75,000 cubic feet of fuel gas per day, which equates to a GHG emissions reduction of 1,360 tonnes per year.
At the Elmworth Gas Plant, a waste-heat exchanger project on a much larger scale conducted on internal combustion engines totaling 15,000 horsepower saves 1.6 MMCFD of fuel gas and reduces GHG emissions by 30,000 tonnes per year.
Additional heat-recovery projects are currently being evaluated.
“Power makes up a significant portion of our operating costs, and we need to explore projects of this type in order to provide sustainability, operating-cost control and risk reduction,” said Sean Hiebert, operations engineer.
Other successful energy-efficiency projects and technologies include plant and compressor consolidation, combustion air control on incinerators and fired heaters, flare optimization, vent gas capture, facility solar conversions and instrument optimization.
In Australia we engaged climate-change consultants to help design and facilitate a workshop for Darwin LNG Plant personnel to identify GHG emissions reduction opportunities and test assumptions of the plant’s basis of design.
As locations find new ways to make operations more energy efficient, they are sharing their findings as part of their commitment to further reduce ConocoPhillips’ environmental footprint.
“Whether energy-efficiency project ideas come from production engineers, drilling groups, health, safety or environment experts or from operators who work in the field every day, these ideas are becoming actions, and the results are adding up,” Sabrina Watkins, head of sustainable development, said. “Our businesses are demonstrating care and respect for the environment while ensuring efficient and competitive operations.”