​AMGAS Services wins Energy Excellence Award for sour fluids solution

The Daily Oil Bulletin’s first annual Energy Excellence Awards were held in Calgary on Thursday, May 2.

Awards were handed out in 12 categories under the banners of Operational and Project Excellence, Innovation and Research Excellence, and Exporting Excellence.

Over a two-week period we are profiling the champions in each of the 12 subcategories. Today’s instalment profiles the champion in the category Innovation & Research Excellence: Drilling Through Completions.

Click here to read about all of the champions and finalists.

AMGAS Services wins Energy Excellence Award for sour fluids solution

Highly toxic sour gas and fluids have been the bane of oil and gas production in parts of western Canada throughout the industry’s history.

The extremely poisonous, highly corrosive and explosive nature of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) makes it challenging to deal with. And with more wells being drilled in North America in H2S prone unconventional reservoirs, producing more sour gas and crude oil than ever, it has become an expensive one too.

Beyond the potential danger to workers in the oil and gas industry, H2S can have negative environmental impacts as a result of venting, which can lead to the creation of sulphur dioxide, as well as creating harmful corrosive effects on pipelines and other equipment.

It’s a problem AMGAS Services Inc., winner of the Drilling Through Completions category of the inaugural Energy Excellence Awards, has gone a long way toward solving with the development of AMGAS CLEAR. A process that allows for the safe and efficient removal of H2S from sour crude oil, condensate and water without introducing any chemicals into the liquids, CLEAR has created a number of associated environmental benefits for its users.

The process is ideal for high and variable H2S concentrations, according to the company, resulting in no converted sulphides remaining in the fluid. It is designed to prevent any chemical over-treatment or under-treatment, improving operational efficiency and minimizing costs. The technology provides producers the opportunity to safely deal with H2S on their own locations with trained personal, lowering risks and impact on the public.

“In short, AMGAS CLEAR technology can provide opportunity to our partners. This technology provides the opportunity to save on substantial costs associated with transportation and disposal of fluids in addition to costs of fresh water and large volume storage options,” said Steve Martinson, AMGAS team member – general manager.

Besides the economic benefits, CLEAR will save millions of litres of fresh water from being removed permanently from the water cycle. And by treating sour fluids onsite, “our partners have the opportunity to completely remove the risks associated with transportation of sour, pressurized fluids from our highways in and around the communities that they do business,” Martinson told the DOB.

The technology also offers opportunity in the oilsands, most of which contains H2S, presenting a challenge to producers for the equipment, the environment and the safety of workers, AMGAS notes. Production in the oilsands often requires treatment of sour water for reuse in place of freshwater.

With increases in unconventional shale and oilsands production, access to and use of fresh water has become more of an issue in recent years, particularly in areas where water disposal and fresh water restrictions have increased. AMGAS CLEAR’s chemical free sweetening process can be used on sour water for either disposal or reuse in well servicing and production applications.

Removing H2S from crude oil, the AMGAS CLEAR system also provides operators a greater degree of flexibility and increases economic opportunities, as improved oil quality allows market access to sweet crude oil pipelines and terminals. Other benefits include the elimination of plugging of pipelines, tanks and vessels that can occur with scavenger systems, mitigation of chemical waste and improved process efficiencies.

There have been challenges in navigating the current regulatory framework to cement CLEAR as an option for its industry partners in a variety of scenarios and applications, Martinson said. “AMGAS has been extremely fortunate to work with industry partners committed to introducing innovative technologies to their programs,” he said.

AMGAS worked closely with clients to implement the use of the technology to best address specific needs for fluid recycling. It also worked with the Alberta Energy Regulator to trial the technology for use in high H2S environments. The AER is supportive of technologies that will allow for the recycling and reuse of water resources and keen to lessen the industry’s social impacts by reducing truck traffic through rural communities.

“Although CLEAR has been commercially available in Canada and around the world for quite some time, we have recently worked closely with the AER to address challenges and gain additional verification and vetting through additional controlled field trials. The success of our field trials has proven to be extremely valuable as we strive to bring the benefits of our CLEAR technology to a wider array of industry partners,” Martinson said.

Its development was timely, helping the Calgary-based company, which was launched as a family business in 1989, to weather the downturn the industry is only now emerging from. AMGAS said it was particularly proud of the technology because it enabled the company to grow while creating cost savings for its clients through the recessionary period.

The environmental benefits of the CLEAR system have been substantial and have surpassed all original expectations and considerations, according to AMGAS. In a cost-conscious, competitive marketplace there have been substantial gains for its clients as they look to institute solutions that are safe and efficient, while providing cost savings, the company said.

Click here to read about all of the champions and finalists.

The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is an industry-led network that leverages the oil and gas industry's strengths in a large-scale industrial collaboration by aligning research and technology priorities, addressing gaps, and incenting innovation. With a collaborative and inclusive approach to the energy innovation ecosystem, CRIN creates efficiencies to accelerate and deliver transformative solutions both within Alberta and across Canada.

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