Thermal recovery technologies such as Cyclic Steam Stimulation, Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage and Steam Flood are extremely energy intensive, requiring the combustion of fossil fuels to produce the steam and resulting in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Newer technologies such as Solvent Extraction may also require the injected medium to be heated to maximise oil recovery from the reservoir.
Thermal projects often generate the heat and power required in separate facilities, with the electricity often being supplied from remote central generation facilities. In many cases it may be possible to integrate a cogeneration plant into the process. Using a single, suitably sized on-site Cogeneration facility, a locally available fuel can reliably provide both the power and heat required for the project, achieving overall energy efficiency to levels in excess of 75%, while helping to reduce the global CO2 footprint of the Oil & Gas industry and reducing reliance on imported electrical power. The design of Cogeneration plant can also help ensure maximum availability and uptime of production facilities.
In most cases the heat produced by a Cogeneration plant is a by-product of electricity production, but it is also possible to utilise waste heat from some processes to produce useful energy. Waste gases from processes are also potential fuels for a Cogeneration plant, helping to reduce or eliminate gas flaring, and improve environmental performance across the whole oil production chain.
There are numerous different ways to configure a Cogeneration plant depending on the type of fuel available and the ratio between power and heat required by the project. This paper will examine some of the different Cogeneration plant configurations and fuel options using Gas or Steam Turbines, or a combination of both, that could be applied to a thermal recovery project to maximise energy efficiency and plant availability.