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Capture and Beneficial Use of Fugitive Production Tank Vapors

Paul B. Trost and Fred T. Varani
MV LLC, Goldon, CO

Production tanks typically can be a source of hydrocarbon vapors emitting into the atmosphere. In fact the Colorado Dept. of Health (Reg. 7) has recently adopted regulations limiting such emissions from production tanks. Depending on temperature, color of production tank, orientation to the sun, and gravity of the contain liquids, coupled with normal separator operations, the amount of vapors may vary from minimal to in excess of 4 mcfd. Typically these vapors have a very high BTU content. Capture and beneficial usage of these vapors (as opposed to flaring) is both economically and environmentally rewarding.

MV LLC has a patent pending tank vapor capture system that will insure no air/oxygen leakage into the production tank occurs when gauging and/or emptying the tank plus a constant reservoir-type storage system.

Beneficial uses include: 1) recompression of the gas for pipeline injection or re-injection into the well bore, 2) use of gas for oil water separator, or heater treater and/or as an energy source for Ajax-type engines (as opposed to propane purchase), or 3) on site produced water evaporation (thereby cutting water disposal costs). The system can operate without electrical service to the tank battery.

Payback for the system is site specific, however for a condensate production tank payback is projected at 2.5 years.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90092©2009 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section, July 9-11, 2008, Denver, Colorado