TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS FOR SECURING MARKET FOR REMOTE GASES Deepshikha Dixit, Bachelor’s in Oil & Gas, University of Petroleum & Energy Studies Over the past few decades the oil and natural gas industry has transformed into one of the most technologically advanced industries. New innovations have reshaped the industry into technology leader. Natural gas is one of the most abundant energy resources on the planet, yet more than one-third of global natural gas reserves remain stranded and undeveloped.
Cross-country pipelines are used to transport 70% of gas internationally and remaining 30% by LNG. Different and modern technologies are developed in past few years but still many of the remote gas fields are not commercialized yet. For example, Middle East has largest oil reserves i. e. 33. 8% of the world (till the end of 1999) but when highest production of oil and gas are analysed all over the world, Russia and North America comes on the top most position, middle-east produces only 8% of oil. Whereas N. A. has only 5% and Russia 23. % oil reserves (till the end of 1999) (source: BP Statistic Review – Society for the study of gas market problem in METI Japan). The major problem observed here is “commercialization” of oil and gas market. To transport natural gas to major natural gas markets, pipeline and LNG are fully commercialized. Technologies like GTL, Gas to Wire – HVDC are also commercial but it requires technology development to improve efficiency. CNG and Gas to Solids- Hydrates is under R&D, not commercial yet no projects are sanctioned.
Distance to market and potential production volumes influences the technologies that might viably be used to exploit remote gas fields. Niche markets exist for CNG and smaller scale LNG and GTL projects for gas fields with modest reserves. CNG technologies introduction is seen as a third competitive alternative to move gas to the markets. CNG is good for smaller volumes and small distances over marine delivery routes. It has the potential to reduce gas volume by up to about 200 times as compared to liquefying the gas. It avoids need for expensive cryogenic facilities.
The setup cost for CNG plant is less than $50million. The estimated relative contributions of total cost for a CNG project are like for compressing and loading is 5%, for unloading it is 6% and for shipping it is 89%. Gas Hydrates for storing and transporting natural gas is another option for transporting and storing stranded gas to market. They are most commonly encountered in the industry as production problem in pipelines to be avoided as part of flow assurance. Storing natural gas in hydrate form to be technically feasible.
However, applications have not progressed beyond the laboratory stage because of complexities of the process. At present, the way to transport natural gas is by pipeline or LNG tanker. However, several organisations are designing a new class of transportation to transport oil and gas to nearby markets in a fairly uncomplicated way. Even though the concept of marine CNG transport has a long history, new technologies, high prices, recent geopolitical developments, the need for more flexible supply contracts and a global shift from dirty fossil fuels to cleaner natural gas, have brought it back into the spotlight.