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Maersk TriGen is an integrated clean energy development proposition with the potential to change the way we think about the Oil and Gas industry.
The technology makes it possible to profitably combine oil and gas operations, clean power generation and carbon sequestration. It can also monetize low quality gas streams. Maersk Oil, together with its partner CES, is developing commercial projects that will deliver CO2, power, water, steam and nitrogen value streams from a single integrated solution.
The Maersk TriGen pressurized Oxy-combustion units draw on technology originally developed in the space industry and generates electricity, clean water and “reservoir ready” carbon dioxide (for use in enhanced oil recovery or immediate sequestration underground) by burning natural gas together with pure oxygen under high pressure.
When gas and oxygen are combusted in a high pressure and high temperature Maersk TriGen unit the produced CO2 is fully captured and injected into underground reservoirs where hydrocarbons have been safely stored without leakage for millions of years. The only other products are pure water and zero emission electricity.
Utility planners at national and local levels are faced with conflicting requirements: power demand is predicted to increase, yet carbon emissions must be reduced and air quality improved.
Maersk Oil’s TriGen generates a significant amount of electricity from a compact plant thanks to its efficient oxycombustion process
Maersk TriGen´s value chains offer a solution that reconciles these two aspects. The system can be combined with a dispatchability that allows compensating for power supply fluctuations and high peak demands.
TriGen systems are readily scalable by multiple units to help meet the growing global demand for clean electricity.
The TriGen combustion process generates pure water. A Maersk Oil TriGen unit can produce up to 500,000 gallons of water each day. This is of obvious value where desalination or exploitation of hard to replenish underground resources are critical issues. Maersk Oil TriGen produced water is pure and of boiler quality, ready for use in industry as well as for utilities.
In the oil field, the use of low saline water for injection is very beneficial is some reservoirs. TriGen’s combination of Nitrogen, CO2 and Low Saline Water lend itself to creative injection schemes to further enhance oil recovery and make the most of scarce natural resources.
Maersk TriGen has the potential to provide low cost CO2 to enable EOR.
By injecting CO2 into oil reservoirs the gas mixes with the oil enabling it to be produced and brought to the surface more easily. There are three types of oil production methods: primary, secondary and tertiary recovery. Primary depletion production may recover only 10-15% of the original oil in place. Secondary production, when water is injected increases average recovery to 35-40% of the original oil in place. CO2 based EOR, which is called tertiary recovery, can add another 15% to this recovery, but requires a supply of low cost CO2 for commerciality. The ability to produce low cost CO2 as a by-product of power generation creates an exciting business opportunity for companies with access to candidate EOR fields.
It was the TriGen technology’s potential to enable enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using captured carbon dioxide which first caught the attention of Maersk Oil. At that time Maersk Oil was seeking low cost sources of CO2 to enhance recovery from its own fields.
There are three types of oil production methods: primary, secondary and tertiary recovery.
Primary depletion production may recover only 10-15% of the original oil in place. Secondary production, when water is injected increases average recovery to 35-40% of the original oil in place.
CO2 based EOR, which is called tertiary recovery, can add another 15% to this recovery, but requires a supply of low cost CO2 for commerciality.
By injecting CO2 into oil reservoirs the gas mixes with the oil enabling these valuable resources to be produced and brought to the surface more easily. The difference could be as high as 15% additional oil recovery.
The ability to produce low cost CO2 as a by-product of power generation creates an exciting and lucrative business opportunity for companies with access to EOR candidate fields.
A large proportion of natural gas has been deemed uneconomical to produce because the resource underground is contaminated with high levels of CO2.
The TriGen process also offers complete carbon capture.
TriGen offers a unique development concept for CO2 contaminated gas fields as it can accept raw gas with 70% CO2 and still generate its three valuable products.
Gas freed up and replaced by Maersk TriGen CO2 could also be exported to growing global gas markets by pipeline or cooled and shipped as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The integrated Maersk Oil TriGen development solution offers exciting potential for resource and upstream license holders in several areas of the world.
A combination of mature onshore oil fields and a popular demand for clean energy solutions creates an ideal mix of conditions for a successful Maersk Oil TriGen deployment in Europe and North America. CO2 EOR has been deployed extensively and successfully onshore across both continents for more than three decades.
Hundreds of thousands of barrels of incremental oil are being produced each year thanks to CO2 enhanced oil recovery projects.
A principal limiting factor in rolling out further CO2 EOR projects has been the economics of supplying CO2 in the quantities needed. Indeed, many previously successful North American CO2 EOR sites have been abandoned or curtailed for general economic reasons or a lack of affordable CO2.
The unconventional resource boom in North America has driven down gas prices significantly. The current price levels make it a profitable venture to use the low cost gas for power generation and enable EOR via the resulting low cost CO2.
In the Middle East, the company is investigating how Maersk Oil TriGen’s low cost CO2 can enable EOR projects. Gulf countries in particular have increasingly been taking the lead on investing and implementing clean energy developments, while many of their oil reservoirs are suited to CO2 / N2 based EOR.
Here, gas would be burned to produce clean power and water for households. Nitrogen, a by-product from the production of pure oxygen, and CO2 would be supplied to oil fields – nitrogen to maintain the pressure in depleting reservoirs, and CO2, as the enhanced oil recovery agent coaxing out oil which could not otherwise be recovered.
In South East Asia, the value chain starts at a different point. There are numerous world class gas fields that lie undeveloped because they are naturally contaminated with CO2. Such stranded gas fields could now potentially be produced economically and with full carbon capture because the Maersk Oil TriGen technology can burn gas contaminated with CO2 without costly pre- or post treatment for CO2 removal.
Maersk Oil TriGen also offers an efficiency advantage over conventional gas power generation processes with carbon capture – especially on power plants fed by CO2 contaminated gas fields that would require both pre- and post combustion CO2 separation.
Conventional gas turbine-based power plants suffer from flame-out when the level of non-combustable gas (often CO2) reaches approximately 40%, necessitating the addition of pre-combustion gas treatment processes. Maersk Oil TriGen thus allows countries to use their clan gas for export, and their contaminated gas for domestic power to meet the power needs of the region’s rapidly expanding economies.
Maersk Oil’s TriGen could unlock enormous value to countries with stranded or contaminated gas reserves.
WHAT IS EOR?
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a process of injecting a substance or applying energy into an oil reservoir to extract what would otherwise be non-producible oil by changing the physical/chemical properties of the fluids and/or formation. It therefore works on a microscopic level, but is also influenced by macroscopic displacement efficiencies as seen in conventional recovery processes.
WHY CO2 EOR over other methods?
EOR operations by CO2 injection is seen to offer the best fit and highest recovery potential for many of the worlds reservoirs. The advantages of CO2 are as follows:
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CONDUCT EOR?
Traditionally EOR operations have been applied only in the late stages of field operations because other recovery processes were easier and lower cost to implement. Many large legacy fields were also developed at a time when lower oil prices and the lack of commercially viable injectants made EOR seem like a distant possibility and so it was not included into the original field development planning. But at today’s oil prices, EOR is now seen as something to be evaluated for all oilfields.
If EOR can be incorporated into the development planning even for ‘green-fields’, it can allow for more optimal placement of wells and construction with appropriate materials to allow for higher recovery and a lower operating cost for the field over its production life. Early implementation of EOR also enables an oil field to stay at a high production plateau for longer vs. waiting for a long tail of relatively high unit cost production with aging facilities subject to HSE concerns.
HOW DOES MAERSK TriGen ENABLE CO2 EOR?
Today, at oil prices over USD 50/bbl, market prices for CO2 are able to reach a match with what oil producers are willing to pay – but this market ‘balance’ has previously only been achieved where there was a source of low cost naturally occurring CO2 relatively close to the target oil fields. Now Maersk TriGen is able to bring down the cost of industrial sourced CO2 (anthropogenic CO2) so that it is comparable to the cost from natural sources. Maersk TriGen does this by providing significant quantities of clean power and water for sale such that its produced CO2 does not require a high price to achieve a commercial project.
Maersk TriGen can be installed anywhere in the world essentially bringing low cost CO2 (and a source of clean energy) to an oil field that can benefit from CO2 injection. Maersk TriGen further enables CO2 EOR and prolongs the operating life of a field undergoing CO2 injection, as it can readily process the associated gas returning from the field that becomes contaminated with CO2 (Maersk TriGen can still operate on gas with up to 70% CO2 content).
WHY IS TriGen A CLEAN TECHNOLOGY?
Maersk TriGen generates zero carbon power at a lower cost than renewable energy sources. Capturing CO2 from conventional gas fired power plants as an ‘after-thought’ is very capital intensive as the CO2 in the smokestack is mixed with nitrogen, nitrous oxides and other harmful emissions. In Oxycombustion, CO2 capture is a much simpler process: Maersk TriGen produces just steam and pure CO2 which is immediately ready for transport and injection into an oilfield making the power generation emission free.
Maersk’s TriGen teams sit in a network of global offices.
Mærsk Olie og Gas A/S
1263 Copenhagen K
Tel: +45 33 63 40 00
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
Suite 15.4, 15th Floor, West Wing
Rohas Perkasa, No. 9 Jalan Perak
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Maersk Oil Middle East A/S
Level 4, Building B
Al Mamoura, 15th St.
P.O. Box 46400,
Abu Dhabi, UAE
tel: +971 2 659 4076
Maersk Oil America Inc.
2500 City West Boulevard,
Suite 100, Houston, TX 77042
United States of America
TriGen Project Manager
Managing Director –
Maersk Oil Middle East
Senior Facility Engineer
Senior Project Engineer
Lars Egholm Hende
Stefan Scheef Kruse
Lead Reservoir Engineer
Clean Energy Systems
CES has pioneered commercial oxyfuel combustion and their Kimberlina Power Plant in California is the world’s largest oxy-fuel combustion facility. CES has developed a game-changing technology that is revolutionising the power industry by simplifying power plant design and generating zero-emissions energy.