Note: This is the last in a series on the energy industry in Weld County. Click on links for other installations: Part One (published May 30), Part Two (published June 12) and Part Three (published June 30).
The state of Colorado has implemented significant control measures to reduce oil and gas pollution and safety hazards, but industry experts say they have been working on this for years.
Companies around the world have developed and implemented new technologies for more than two decades, including horizontal drilling, drainage detection and maintenance, more efficient machinery and digital monitoring.
Colorado manufacturers, including Chevron and PDC Energy, have introduced these new technologies to reduce their impact on the local community.
“I think it’s really important to continue to reduce our footprint and speed up the resolution of possible problems,” said PDC’s senior asset engineer Brian Kochire. We need a complete line of sight in our operational influences. It is amazing to see how far we have come in the last ten years.
Interesting operational and mechanical improvements
Kochire was initially attracted to the industry because of the technology and worked to make the process clean and efficient. He works on the implementation of regulatory policy and plans to reduce the impact of the company.
The first significant change that Cocchiere saw in the industry was the horizontal drilling. He said the stations offered a number of straight exercises in a small area. The company can now drill up to 3 miles horizontally by developing 4 or 5 miles worth of minerals with one floor.
PDC has reduced oil and gas land use by 85% in some areas. Cocchiere said horizontal drilling and the number of wells will help the company rehabilitate some of the land, as well as the process for operators to restore stations after production.
Chevron Mustang’s comprehensive excavation plan, approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Protection Commission, includes development on 64,000 hectares of southeast Weld County. The ability to dig horizontally allows the company to combine resources and reduce surface impact and emissions.
Chevron Communications Adviser Paula Besley said the plan will help lead to long-term growth in seasonal crops, wildlife and other external forces.
He said the company includes “the latest technology” in these facilities.
Compressor engines and drilling equipment are usually powered by electricity. Baseley says using electricity will significantly reduce “ozone emissions, such as nitrous oxide.”
Chevron and PDC both use solar panels to support power plants and drilling stations.
In addition, both companies have improved the design of their facilities and relied on non-tank projects to transport hydrocarbon pipelines instead of trucks. This reduces emissions, traffic and risk of spills.
According to Besley, Colorado’s new Chevron facilities emit 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than older designs. The company can produce the same amount on 7.5 acres, as it once did on 400 acres.
Chevron also has more than 152 million miles of truck traffic, according to Besley.
PDC reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from 2019 to 2020 and methane emissions by 32% during the same period.
Another way PDC can reduce emissions is through improved regular monitoring. PDC examines the views, sounds and smells of the environment to predict and prevent leaks or other damage. The information available helps operators monitor levels of volatile organic compounds that can have serious health consequences at certain levels.
Infrared cameras and thermostats detect tank fluid levels and production. These can be used to drain and repair what is commonly known as LDAR.
One of the biggest changes the average resident may notice is relying on improved software and digital communication.
While many monitoring processes are still in place, companies have strengthened their remote capabilities.
PDC has 24/7 field monitoring that allows staff to check sites and information from anywhere. For example, some devices can be used to detect VOCs or noise levels in real time and actively manage the situation.
He said the company is testing the test program at one of its new sites using infrared cameras and artificial intelligence. The machines use gas flow detection, tank level monitoring, and safety algorithms. He said the program is designed to provide staff with an alternative way to respond to any situation on the spot.
Virtually all remote control solutions can be accessed through mobile apps.
Chevron operates a 24/7 control center to oversee projects throughout the state.
Other companies use Sonar, Air, Underwater and Virtual Reality systems in planning and monitoring. These are expensive and often reserved for major sites.
“These developments are focused on minimizing potential impact and protecting public health, safety, security, the environment and wildlife resources.” “I look forward to what we have done over the past decade, and what the next decade will bring.”
The Tribune spoke to Extra Oil and Gas, Oxygenid and Atomos Energy for this story. No one answered many of the interview questions.
The development of driving forward
As the industry moves forward, companies are setting goals to continue their growth.
PDC wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% and by 2025 methane emissions by 50%.
Bezley plans to invest $ 3 billion in Chevron by 2028 to “improve our energy transfer strategy.” This means lowering carbon emissions, investing more in renewables, and investing in low-carbon technology.
According to Basley, as a company, we are taking steps that drive growth that can be measured by our commitment. “This means reducing the carbon footprint of our jobs and assets, increasing the use of renewables and compensators that support our business, and investing in low-carbon technologies that enable business solutions. These measures will make energy and supply chains more sustainable, helping industries and our customers realize their own low carbon goals.
The state of Colorado has agreed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and turn it into a “clean” energy by 2040.
Industry experts have told the Tribune that this has not been possible before. In fact, oil and gas are expected to remain the world’s leading energy industry, even with low carbon. The World Energy Agency estimates that about 50% of the world’s energy comes from oil and natural gas.
The Atlantic Council said in its report that it was possible to achieve asylum reduction goals, but that the chances of success were more political than technology.
“Reasonable, reliable, and clean energy is essential for a more prosperous and sustainable world for all,” says Bezley. Oil and natural gas play an important role in any global energy transition by providing flexible, low-carbon solutions that meet growing energy needs.
Subsequent developmental concerns
Despite ongoing discussions about impact reduction and subsequent emissions reductions, some people remain concerned about the industry.
Residents of Erie and Grillley spoke to the Tribune about their experiences of living less than 2,000 feet from oil and gas development.
Geoff Winterburn and Lowell Lewis both said it was important for the industry, but knowing its importance does not stop traffic or pollution.
“Forbidden reduction measures and new equipment standards are definitely better than nothing,” said Andrew Forks-Goodsonson, Colorado’s deputy director of oil and gas impacts. Oil and Search and Production None of the state’s major sources of hazardous and harmful emissions change this.
Logic represents Colorado, which has been affected by oil and gas development, including residents in Erie.
Forks: Goodmundson says the industry is “naturally harmful” and technology will not change it.
In addition, certain rules may not apply to completed or licensed projects. This was seen when the Biden administration stopped issuing licenses on federal lands. It has affected not only those that have been awarded in the past but also projects that have been licensed.
Asked how the industry would respond to future concerns, Kochire and Bessley said the workers were also members of the community. These people invest in the places where they live and work, and like everyone else, they are affected by industry decisions.
Kochirere PDC focuses on “doing justice to communities” and encourages honest dialogue between stakeholders. Chevron, meanwhile, wants to energize, grow, and be a good neighbor.
“This is more than just constantly improving our work. “We believe that investing in basic human needs, education and training and local business development is important to strengthen communities and promote greater economic and social stability,” he said. We want to make a difference in our Colorado and Weld County communities through gifts, sponsorships, donations, partnerships, and volunteering.