Summary of Solution and Results

Western Canadian Heavy Oil Producer Increases Production Rates, Reduces Maintenance Costs and Captures Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • 40+ wells now capturing and drying vent solution gas for onsite use or resale

  • Oil production rates have increased on most wells, some up to 10–15%

  • Modular compression packages delivering scalable wellhead horsepower

  • 8+ Copeland Scroll ™ modular packages running for one year maintenance free, including minus 40 deg C winter conditions

  • High pressure, dry gas is improving engine and oil tank burner operation

  • Excellent operator feedback - low noise, viewed as a production enhancement tool

  • Typical project payback time is approximately ∼4–6 months


Heavy oil solution gas recovery using continuous gas compression with gas drying and metering for on-site use or resale. Enhanced oil production through precisely controlled lowered casing pressure.


One of Canada's largest integrated energy companies, with significant heavy oil operations throughout Western Canada.


Producers in Western Canada are focused on capturing fugitive gas emissions. In particular, they are being proactive in capturing solution gas vented or flared from oil wells. For years producers have looked for cost effective, low maintenance technology to capture and process solution gas. Traditional compression packages have not been able to meet the increasing demands of this application.

To survive in this environment, the solution needed to handle ambient temperatures from minus 40 to plus 40 deg C, as well as continuous duty under changing gas production rates. Prior to Copeland Scroll compression, existing compression offering were often unreliable, high maintenance, and inflexible to changing gas flow rates.

Casing gas pressures down to 1 psig had to be delivered at pressures up to 190 psig for injection into producer flow lines or county gas infrastructure. Traditionally this would have involved a two stage reciprocating compressor. Packages that employ rotary vane and screw compressors are typically not suitable for pressure ratios of this magnitude.


The customer for this application chose Copeland Scroll compression technology, integrated into modular package designs using advanced process control technology. To date, significant results have been achieved related to capturing vent gas, improving well production and reducing site maintenance costs.

Utilizing Copeland Scroll and other process control technology from Emerson, a unique gas compression/drying package has been developed. The result is the industry's first modular, all electric scroll compression packages. The packages are meeting two key customer requirements-application flexibility and most importantly-very-low maintenance and high reliability. Oil production rates have increased on many wells due to an advanced casing pressure control scheme.

By introducing modular scroll compression, a new level of application flexibility is now available to this customer. The base package design is built for three scroll compressor modules, with the average being two. Once commissioned, many packages have had scroll modules quickly added or removed in 10HP increments to meet changing solution gas flow rates. Compression horsepower is scaled up/down within hours, reducing time and costs associated with traditional compression changes.

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