As of August this year, U.S. production of crude oil and lease condensate exceeded a whopping 8.6M barrels per day, a figure not seen in nearly three decades according to the EIA. More than half that sum came from the top three basins alone, with the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico doing 1.66M bbls/day, the Eagle Ford Shale in the Western Gulf Basin of southeastern Texas doing 1.57M bbls/day, and the still rapidly advancing Bakken Shale in the Williston Basin of (primarily) North Dakota doing about 1.13M bbls/day.
Improved drilling efficiency has been a driving force behind rising production outputs, with a single rig able to drill four wells these days in a fraction of the time, compared to just one well per rig only six years ago. Drillers are able to successfully tap more of the target formation(s) as well, using advancements like multiple hydraulic fracturing stages. Even in tight formations like the Eagle Ford, where EIA data indicates a sharp rise in initial production rates over the last five years, the combination of technological advancements now in play industry-wide are translating into significantly improved overall output on a per well basis over the lifetime of each well.
One of the drawbacks to all this production spiking however is the flaring of excess natural gas at the wellhead, due in large part to how much our national pipeline and CNG/LNG infrastructural capacities have lagged behind. This problem is exacerbated by the baseline logistics of development too, with isolated wells that are difficult to tie-in to existing infrastructure being a consistent problem. In the Eagle Ford Shale alone during the first seven months of this year, over 20B cubic feet of natural gas was wasted, burnt off straight into the atmosphere, a figure exceeding the total for all of 2012. Such staggering waste and pollution unfortunately has not led to massive public outcry for improved offtake infrastructure, instead crippling regulations have slowly been creeping their way into the industry cost structure, gradually passing the price point increases right back to the consumer.
One of the companies at the forefront of the drive to solve this dilemma is Well Power, Inc. (OTCQB: WPWR), which has secured exclusive licensing rights the state of Texas to a proprietary, patented Micro Refinery Unit (MRU) based solution, and the company has the right of first refusal to license this emergent technology in the other states as well. This MRU solution is an assembly of already proven commercial technologies, combined with a proprietary micro-reactor system, which can rapidly process hydrocarbon and perform the necessary catalytic reactions to efficiently produce “green fuels” like diluents, drop-in (no-sulphur) diesel and pipeline-quality synthetic crude (Engineered Fuels™). The system can even be used to generate clean electricity for use by equipment, directly at the well-site, turning otherwise wasted gas, including stranded, shut-in, flared and vented gas (which is increasingly under the crosshairs of regulators who want to jack up permit costs or bar operations on emissions grounds outrightly), into increased profit margins.
Moreover, the MRU is extremely flexible and modular in its design, as well as being easily transportable (skid-mounted), scalable and customizable, making it the perfect fit for remote well or wildcat operations. The MRU skid can be tailored to meet site-specific requirements as well, with features like a two or three phase inlet separator for easily parting production fluids, the ability to handle custom sweetening or dehydration needs, or even do cogeneration and HVAC using the excess heat and pressure. Yet the system can still handle high yield throughput, easily taking on raw natural gas flows up to 250 Mcf. The MRU technology also allows operators to jumpstart production without having to wait for tie-ins, and there are increasingly attractive logistical benefits to simply selling liquid hydrocarbons (instead of natural gas) as well.
Crude production in Texas for 2014 is on par with the whole of last year so far according to the latest RRC (Railroad Commission of Texas) data. With figures indicating Texas’ crude production this year is just 34M bbls shy of 2013 totals, not even counting November and December, and given that natural gas production is on-track to hit parity with last year, such a solution as the one being developed by WPWR for gas flaring is now in higher demand than ever before, and for an increasing variety of reasons. On the global scale, over 40% of the world’s natural gas reserves (over 3k trillion cubic feet) are classified as stranded, giving Well Power an exceptionally large, target-rich playing field longer-term, one which is roughly equivalent to the combined oil reserves of the whole of Saudi Arabia.
To get a closer look at Well Power, visit www.wellpowerinc.com
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