Benchmark Study: Cost Reduction And Reliability Improvements For Reciprocating Compressors In Shale Gas Applications
Shale gas applications subject a reciprocating compressor’s valves and pressure packing to liquids and debris that may significantly reduce the efficiency and reliability of these components. This also effect overall compressor package natural gas emissions. In some fields, valve and packing life is reported to be much less than 12 months. Financial losses associated with component failures are measured in terms of parts, labor, and travel for the equipment owner and in terms of lost production for the operator. Increased compressor package emissions associated with component failures can be measured in terms of increased compressor blow downs, increased pressure packing vent gas volumes, and increased engine exhaust emissions due to valve inefficiencies. In today’s business environment companies must work smarter, not harder to maintain profitability and meet environmental regulations. This paper summarizes an extensive study of ten wellhead compressors in the Eagle Ford Shale region of DeWitt County, TX, where high BTU gas is common in gas lift applications. Significant savings in operating cost was achieved by making use of new valve and packing technologies. A detailed cost analysis of valve repair and packing replacement was conducted prior to the study and then the condition of the new valve and packing was monitored for the duration of the study. Packing leakage measurements and valve inspections were made periodically during the study to record the condition and performance of the new technologies. The study is ongoing but no valve or packing failures have occurred during the first 18 month period and the compressor operator reports significant reduction in compressor related shutdowns. Based on these results of improved compressor reliability and reduced operational and maintenance costs, the operating company is planning to utilize the new technologies in additional field units. This presentation details the field testing conducted from 2014 to mid-2015 re
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