An oil or natural gas field is an area or region that contains multiple wells designed to extract crude oil and natural gas from below the ground. Typically, natural gas is produced alongside the crude oil production; however, a well that is mainly or all gas is considered a gas well. The life of an oil or gas well is divided into five phases:
- Phase 1: Planning
- Phase 2: Drilling
- Phase 3: Completion
- Phase 4: Production
- Phase 5: Abandonment
Corken’s reciprocating compressors are utilized in the completion and production phases of the well. On an oil well, vapor recovery and gas lifting are common applications for a reciprocating compressor. If an oil well is not connected to a pipeline, the extracted crude oil is temporarily stored at the well site in large tanks until transported to the refinery. During this time, the natural gas, a byproduct of the crude oil, will build vapor pressure within the storage tanks. A vapor recovery compressor will be used to remove the vapor that separates from the crude oil.
When the reservoir pressure of an oil well no longer provides sufficient pressure to keep a well in production, gas lifting is a common solution. In a gas lifting application, Corken’s reciprocating gas compressors are used to inject gas into the fluid (crude oil). The injection process aerates the fluid with gas bubbles and reduces the fluid density. With a reduced fluid density, the existing well pressure is able to force the aerated fluid out of the well.
As a gas well is depleted, the production rate decreases over time. The decreased production is known as the decline rate. To improve the production rate, a Corken reciprocating compressor is used to pull down the well and increase the pressure flowing to the gas gathering system. Other uses for Corken’s reciprocating gas compressors include liquid transfer and vapor recovery applications. After the raw natural gas is recovered from the well, it is sent to a natural gas processing plant where the natural gas liquids (NGLs such as propane, butane, ethane etc.) are separated and placed into temporary storage tanks. Corken’s reciprocating compressors are used to unload the NGL tanks and recover the vapor.