Despite advances in renewable power sources, crude oil remains one of the most valuable natural commodities today. A “fossil fuel” created by the natural compression of ancient algae and plankton remains over millions of years, crude oil is harnessed by drilling into the ground and then refined and distilled to create a wide array of consumer products. From the gasoline that powers our automobiles to the plastics used to create many consumer goods, oil is vital to the modern world.
Common Oil and Gas Industry Applications for Gas Compressors
Here are some ways that the oil and gas industries use gas compressors in the drilling, storage and refining processes.
Gas Compressor Systems in the Oil and Gas Industry
Gas compressor systems of all sizes and descriptions are used throughout the oil refining process. Some of the most common Ro-Flo sliding vane compressor applications include:
Gas Boot Compressor: A gas boot operates at the wellhead to separate the liquid (oil and water) and gas to allow proper processing. Ro-Flo’s are used to collect the vapor from the gas boot and sends it for further processing.
Wellhead Pressure Relief: Again at the wellhead, the Ro-Flo can be used to draw the gas off the well to reduce the power required by the well pumps. This can go as far as drawing a vacuum on the wellhead to increase the production rate of the well.
Oil Stabilization Column Compressor or Heater Treater Vapor Recovery: These are similar processes in that they are trying to remove the gas phase from the oil to allow for safe storage and processing. Ro-Flo’s collect the removed gas for further processing.
Storage Tank Vapor Recovery: After being extracted from the ground, crude oil is pumped into storage tanks. Much of the associated gas has already been removed from the product, but hydrocarbons will continue to be released from the product, especially when agitated or heated by the sun. Ro-Flo’s are used to collect these vapors from the storage tanks and move them downstream for further processing.
The demand for oil and petroleum products continues to rise, with no sign of slowing. Next-generation industrial gas compressors will continue to evolve to keep up with demand. Innovations in the areas of speed, energy requirements, and durability against harsh drilling conditions will help to ensure that the oil and gas continue to flow as needed for generations to come.
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