Vapor Recovery Units (VRUs) are often viewed as a nuisance and regulatory burden, but a review of a Bakken Range case study demonstrates how VRU’s can deliver an ROI any production manager would find attractive.
Ro-Flo compressors are installed in numerous VRU systems all across North Dakota on a roughly 200,000 sq. mile stretch of terrain known as the Bakken Range. It covers parts of North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. At the time it was discovered it was called the largest oil and gas find within the borders of the lower 48 states.
When producers began their work, they recognized the environmental concerns of the citizens. Many producers elected to install VRU’s to reduce emissive vapors in advance of regulatory pressure.
When many of the Bakken range producers installed numerous small VRU’s equipped with Ro-Flo compressors, they held the opinion that they were “doing the right thing” to respond to community concerns about emissions.
The systems and their Ro-Flo compressors proved to be highly reliable and effective even in the worst climatic conditions the Bakken’s had to offer. Cost control is a key to any production environment and notably so in the energy sector. Therefore the vapors recovered and returned to tanks or sold for energy were carefully tracked and analyzed.
The data demonstrated that these VRU’s were profitable and paid for themselves in less than one year! Some reports of six month payback have been heard. That payback has attracted the attention of cost conscious engineers and validates VRU’s as not only environmentally beneficial, but also a profitable benefit to a producer’s bottom line.