Surplus Heat: Free Fuel for Efficiency Improvement in the Oil & Gas Industry

Vescovo, R. (Turboden S.r.l.) | Campana, F. (Turboden S.r.l.)


Abstract Recovering surplus heat in oil & gas industry and converting it into mechanical or electric energy is not only a way to increase efficiency and obtain a "greener" image, but it is a fruitful business opportunity. This paper investigates cost effective ways to recover surplus heat from different processes at up-stream and mid-stream sectors and convert it into useful energy. One of the most performing technology is the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) one, a thermodynamic cycle that uses a high molecular mass fluid as working fluid. Experiences in applying ORC technology to recover heat from gas turbines off gases in gas compressor stations are presented and an assessment of the potential savings in world transmission systems is reported. An innovative example of combined cycle gas turbine plus ORC technology as bottom cycle working in a combined heat and power mode (CHP) is under construction: a description of the technical solutions adopted is presented. Potential applications of ORC technology in the oil & gas field under development are described from technical and economical standpoints: heat recovery from associated gas petroleum treatment, hot streams in oil refineries and geothermal water in exhausted oil fields. Benefits and barriers related to ORC technology implementation in oil & gas business are presented also outlining technology developments ongoing. Heat recovery with ORC technology is a business opportunity to achieve mid-term strategic targets: obtaining more sustainable processes, reducing fuel dependency thanks to energy efficiency, improving the "green" image of fossil fuels, exploiting energy stream currently wasted in the atmosphere and further improving economic returns.

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