OTC 2014: Diary of a conference. Green completions in well testing

8th May 2014

Shane Knoll, North America Well Testing Manager, Expro

Incoming and existing emission standards aimed at protecting resources and lowering pollution are changing the way we recover and produce our natural resources. As of January 1st 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency will be enforcing stricter emission regulations as part of the Clean Air Act.

Using green completions technology, it is possible to help meet and exceed those standards during flow back and well test operations. Green completion techniques (also referred to as Reduced Emissions Completions) are methods that minimise the amount of natural gas and oil vapors released to the environment when a well is being flowed during the completion phase.

With the use of four-phase separators and enclosed blow down tanks, we can capture fugitive emissions currently being vented into the atmosphere such as methane – a primary component which has a detrimental impact on our environment, and contributes to global warming.

Four-phase technology, such as that deployed by Expro’s Well Testing teams, can be used during all stages of completions – frac support, flow back, drill out, well test and extend production flow. The technology can also handle higher volume rates encountered during flowback and drill-outs with longer retention time.

Going green not only helps operators and service companies to be environmentally-friendly but decreases hazards during operations. Over the past year, there have been increasing reports of on-site issues created by fugitive emissions, with the majority being open top fires during drill-out operations.  By using a green completion closed looped system we can significantly help to reduce the hazards currently seen during drill-out and flow back operations in areas such as Texas.

Despite our industry’s maturity and developed technology, it is important to commit to offer viable and novel solutions for the future to lessen environmental impact and increase safety.