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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ecuador to Use Gas By-Product of Oil Drilling to Make Electricity

QUITO – Petroproduccion, a unit of state-owned oil company Petroecuador, plans to use the gas by-product of crude drilling to generate electricity and produce derivatives, the Ecuadorian government said Thursday.

The project will be carried out at wells located in the Amazonian fields of Lago Agrio, Secoya, Shushufindi and Culebra and the goal is to generate 30 MW of electricity at a cost of $96 million, with the money to be spent on building gas pipelines and capture plants and on the electrical system.

The power that is generated will be fed into Petroproduccion’s electrical grid and avoid the consumption of around 48,000 gallons of diesel, which currently are used to generate electricity and keep the company’s oil wells in operation, the Web site of the presidential press office said.

Petroproduccion currently has an electricity deficit of 12.67 MW and projected demand through 2024 is 57 MW. A series of projects are therefore needed for the company to “operate reliably and maintain levels of crude production in the Amazon region,” the text added.

The project to generate electricity from gas by-product will be put into practice over a period of two years and, according to the presidential press office, will save the country close to $35 million per year.

The gas that is captured will also be industrialized to produce derivatives such as liquefied petroleum gas and gasoline.

The main goal “is to efficiently use the gas associated with oil (production) in the Amazon region, since burning it not only harms the environment but also wastes an energy source that can be used to generate electricity and reduce diesel consumption,” the text said.

In addition, the project “will reduce gas imports ... and the country will obtain carbon credits.” EFE

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