Tank Battery Production Sites
If you discovered your company was losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue each month due to a problem with a proven solution, chances are you would be expected to act immediately to address the issue–right? What if the same problem also exposed your company to fines and lawsuits, caused environmental damage, and created safety hazards – would you be expected to take action?
The problem is hydrocarbon vapors and the time to act is now. Like it or not, these vapors are generated in your tank batteries, they pose risks to revenue, public safety, and the environment…and they are 100 percent your responsibility. What you choose to do, or not do, about them will ultimately determine the success of your operation. Here are five liabilities you need to consider.
For many oil and gas companies, money has a tendency to slip away unnoticed due to lack of oversight, or even disregard, of an important revenue source: hydrocarbon vapors from tank batteries.
Until recently, the chosen method for releasing solution gas from tank batteries was to vent it directly into the atmosphere or burn it off through a flare stack. These release methods result in the loss of millions of dollars annually due to an important reality that is often overlooked: the BTU-rich solution gas can be captured, compressed, and reinjected into a sales pipeline or used as onsite fuel.
Many operators still choose to flare gas todaya decision that has the same dramatic effect as putting money directly into a flare stack and burning it.
How much money is your company losing?
Calculate how much revenue you are potentially losing by not capturing hydrocarbon vapors from your tank batteries. Enter the approximate number of barrels that cycle through your tank per day to calculate the value of the recovered vapors.
There are multiple state and federal regulations governing oil and gas production, including the Clean Air Act, the Climate Action Plan, and the EPA New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOO, to name just a few. Failure to actively comply with these and numerous other regulations can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in debilitating fines and civil suits.
A cautionary tale lies in the recent Southern California Gas Company PORTER RANCH methane leak. The energy company is already facing over 100 pending lawsuits, $2.25 million in state fines, and $665 million in total repair expenses and lost revenue due to the leak, which is estimated to have emitted over 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere over the course of 16 weeks.
Installing and maintaining the proper equipment to capture emissions can help companies avoid the devastating legal and financial aftermath that can result from a leak even a fraction of this size and scope.
Current science tells us that uncontrolled hydrocarbon emissions have a direct, negative impact on our atmosphere.
Without the proper containment equipment, oil production systems vent and flare away environment damaging VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and Greenhouse Gases, such as methane. According to the EPA, natural gas and petroleum systems account for the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S., with the majority (89 percent) of refinery emissions resulting directly from equipment leaks and storage tanks.
With the proper equipment in place, and properly operated, up to 95 percent of hydrocarbon vapors emitted from storage can be processed, yielding a tremendous environmental benefit.
Safety is truly a hidden liability of tank batteries due to the fact that hydrocarbon vapors are invisible to the naked eye and often undetected.
Uncombusted hydrocarbons such as methane and other VOCs can always present a risk of explosion at some sites if it escapes through vents or hatches. Hydrogen sulfide poses serious exposure risks to workers at many tank battery sites because it can escape through pipes and vent into the surrounding atmosphere while remaining invisible. Exposure to H2S can lead to severe health effects, not only for workers, but also for residential areas downwind of these production sites, where prolonged exposure to escaped fumes and gases can occur.
The primary, most effective way to protect workers and defend public health from these safety hazards is to ensure you have the proper equipment to capture these harmful vapors before they become an issue.
Selecting the wrong equipment, improperly installing equipment, and/or failing to properly operate and maintain the equipment can still leave your company exposed to each of the four previous liabilities.
It is important to always install the appropriate equipment required for a particular application. Because vapor recovery operations require specialized equipment, a detailed application analysis should be conducted to determine the equipment required for your site to operate at maximum efficiency. Selecting the right equipment will help you reduce emissions and generate more revenue from your operation.
Finally, it is critical to remember that even the best equipment can still result in inefficient gathering if your operations personnel do not understand or support the company’s commitment to the concept of vapor recovery. For this reason, it is important to invest in education, resources, and training to increase awareness of the significant liabilities hydrocarbon vapors present at tank battery production sites.
It matters who you partner with for your vapor recovery projects. S&R Compression has the engineering, fabrication, operational and service expertise to help you avoid these hidden liabilities, while adding to your sites revenue stream.