By Travis Hutchinson, VP Operations
You have to spend money to make money, that’s the old line.
But the truth is, in gas operations even a small investment in facility engineering can save operators dramatically when it comes to much larger capital investments.
Case in point: Halker recently worked with a client, an operator, that was experiencing less than optimal results from its new central processing facility and gathering system. It was part of a phased installation that was designed to ramp up to full production over the course of a year, but it wasn’t operating as expected or predicted and was already starting to max out just a few months into production. There was some concern that the entire system would have to be scrapped and replaced with a larger system capable of handling the eventual full loads.
So Halker was called in and we did a full breakdown of the engineering behind the system, measuring and understanding what was really going on. Turns out, the system was actually behaving as it should but several of the inputs were operating out of the predicted ranges, so the pressure entering the system was higher than what the sales statement said it should be. The set points weren’t being hit in terms of set pressures and temperatures, so it was throwing off the entire system.
The solution? All the client had to do was go back and upsize the tank vapor piping and add slots for additional compressing at the central processing facility for those tank vaporizers. They were able to make those corrections and bring the rest of the facility online safely. As of now, the facility is up to full production and everything is functioning as it should.
Cost for engineered adjustments: $1M-$2M
Savings versus replacing the entire system: More than $100 million
So, it might seem like a lot to spend to troubleshoot an existing system when problems occur, but proper engineering can save exponentially more down the road by negating larger adjustments.