North Dakota's oil producers are complying with new safety standards that went into effect on Wednesday to remove as many volatile gases from crude as possible, state officials told Reuters.
The new rules require the more than 1.2 million barrels of oil extracted each day from the state's Bakken shale formation be run through machines that remove ethane, propane and other volatile gases linked to recent crude-by-rail disasters in Quebec, Illinois and West Virginia.
Producers are now required to operate field equipment at oil wells at specific temperatures and pressures to remove those gases. Well sites are shut down if they are not compliant, according to the standards approved in December.
Late March field checks of equipment operated by all of the state's producers, ranging from the largest with Whiting Petroleum Corp to one of the smallest with Triangle Petroleum Corp, are compliant, the state's Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said.
There had been concern that the costs of compliance would prove onerous for smaller producers, many of whom, for instance, did not previously turn heating elements on at well site equipment to remove gases.
Running the heaters, especially in the summer months when North Dakota temperatures routinely break 100 Fahrenheit was seen as a waste of money by some. The new standards, though, require all well site equipment to be run continuously at 110 Fahrenheit. Despite the higher cost, the new rules proved easier to comply with than strict new anti-flaring measures precisely because wellsite equipment is already common across the state's more-than 12,000 oil wells.
Flaring reduction, by contrast, requires an expansion of the state's natural gas pipeline system and construction of more processing plants, a timely and costly exercise.Yes, there are some 100-degree days every summer, but to say that "temperatures routinely break 100 Fahrenheit" seems a bit hyperbole.
Tar Sands In Uinta
Reuters/Rigzone is reporting:
When you see the term "oil sands," there is a good chance that you will associate it with the Canadian province Alberta.
MCW Energy Group is trying to extend the geographical focus southward.
"Companies ... have ... failed over 5 decades attempting to develop this valuable resource," said MCW’s communications spokesman Paul Davey, referring to oil sand and oil shale resources in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. "All have ended in failure in terms of attempting to prove up a commercially viable extraction technology."
Last October MCW – founded by its CEO R.G. "Jerry" Bailey, a 50-year oil and gas industry veteran and former president of Exxon's Arabian Gulf operations – deployed its first oil sands extraction plant in Vernal, Utah, located in the Uinta Basin nearly 200 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
The plant applies the company's continuous-flow, closed-loop method of extracting oil from oil sands.
Billing the facility as "America's First Environmentally Friendly Oil Sands Extraction Project," MCW contends its process uses no water or heat and leaves behind only "99 percent clean" sand.
Moreover, the company asserts that its per-barrel processing costs are dramatically lower: $30 compared to an average of $75 in Alberta.
The efficiency of MCW’s extraction technology is extremely high with an energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) of 22:1 as compared to Alberta’s steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) efficiency average of 4:1, according to MCW.
MCW is delivering its maiden plant's relatively small production volumes to refineries near Salt Lake City, but the company is working to scale up the process with a 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) extraction plant and – it hopes – many others at oil sands and oil shale sites in the region and beyond.EROEI -- at wiki.
- Coal: 80
- Nuclear: 50 - 75
- Oil production: 20
- Wind: 18
- Solar: 2
- Ethanol: 1.3 (I recall some folks suggesting the EROEI for ethanol could be less than 1).