To reduce flaring of produced hydrocarbon during well testing operations in order to protect the environment, comply with safety regulations and conserve oil.

Methods, Procedures, Process

During well-testing operations the produced hydrocarbon is usually flared in the open flare pit. As per the existing company's HSE procedures, flaring during well testing is considered as a safe option. However, flaring activities needs to be minimized or eliminated as some wells are located in environmentally sensitive areas which are close to farms, Highways or camping area. Due to location constraints the flaring should be minimized to the possible extent. As the well is exploratory, the well was not connected yet to the production facility. The only means of oil transportation will be by using road tankers, for that the H2S concentration in oil needs to be reduced to a permissible limit.

The heavy oil well to be tested contains H2S concentration up to 22 %(220,000 ppm) in gas. A novel process was initiated to eliminate/minimize flaring during well testing operations. H2S scavenger technology was selected for field trial to convert the produced sour liquid to be suitable for transportation through vacuum tankers to the nearest production facility. Accordingly H2S scavenger chemical was arranged and well test surface layout was modified with additional chemical dosing points. After separating the gas from oil using surge tank and separator dosed H2S Scavenger into oil line. This exercise resulted in ensuring that the H2S concentration in treated oil is at a permissible limit and the oil is suitable to be transported using road tankers.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

Field trail was implemented in sour heavy oil well to evaluate the feasibility of using H2S scavenger chemical to mitigate/minimize high H2S concentration in the produced fluid. Two heavy oil wells (17-200 API) were tested with this process and H2S content in oil was reduced to almost 15 ppm. Achieved economical H2S scavenger treatment cost of $18/bbl for reducing H2S in oil from 600 ppm to 15 ppm. Oil flaring was eliminated and only small quantity of the produced sour gas (0.001mmscfd) was flared safely through flare stack. Approximately 5,500 bbls of crude oil were produced from an exploratory well and safely transported by road tankers to nearby production facility during two weeks of testing period. For the first time in Kuwait an exploratory sour heavy oil well was successfully tested without flaring oil.

Novel/Additional Information

The innovative solution of using H2S Scavenger during testing the sour well had eliminated flaring of crude oil which avoided environmental pollution and conserved the produced oil. This success proves that sour heavy oil wells can be tested safely without flaring oil and paves the way for implementing this novel concept in future applications.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.