Stranded Gas to Computing Power
Updated: May 26
Location: North Dakota, USA
Customer: Crusoe Energy Systems
Lowering emissions and saving money by creating electricity with associated gas
Over the past decade, improved technology has allowed U.S. drillers to unlock vast amounts of oil reserves that were once considered exhausted or economically unrecoverable. With this surge in oil production has come unprecedented levels of associated natural gas, which is often treated as a waste byproduct and either deliberately burned off at the wellhead or vented into the atmosphere.
It is estimated that such practices account for trillions of cubic feet of natural gas being flared and vented annually at oil production sites around the globe. That represents a staggering, irreversible loss of a valuable energy resource while also contributing to climate change and air pollution by releasing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as other harmful pollutants.
Despite substantial efforts by regulators and industry to conserve associated gas from oil production, flaring is used extensively when technical, regulatory, or economic barriers, such as a lack of access to developed gas markets and gas infrastructure, prevent it from being used. As a result, soaring gas output continues to inundate markets globally.
Mesa’s technology enables unrefined associated gas to be used to produce electricity for use local to the site at which it is generated or, potentially, for export back onto the electric grid. The conversion of waste gas into electricity using natural gas generators is highly effective at balancing resource conservation and environmental performance for an alternative to flaring that delivers emissions reductions upwards of 95 percent.
A proven and proactive partnership
The amount of energy available at a well site in the form of associated gas often far exceeds a site’s present or forecasted electrical demand requirements. In such cases, a lack of access to pipeline or electric utility infrastructure can compound the issue and further impede efforts to mitigate natural gas waste.
Enter Crusoe Energy Systems, a technology enabled oilfield services company that provides a unique solution to the practice of flaring. Crusoe’s Digital Flare Mitigation (DFM) system brings energy-intensive computing to the well site, providing the supplemental electrical load capacity necessary for the total conversion of waste gas into electricity and delivering real cost savings in cloud computing and a solution to limited midstream capacity.
As of November 2019, Mesa had deployed 28 generators, with a total capacity of over 11,300 kVA, to DFM sites across North Dakota’s Williston Basin. These generators operate continuously – adjusting power output in real time in response to variations in the composition, pressure and volume of natural gas available on site – to provide Crusoe’s data centers with an uninterrupted, high-quality supply of electricity. As of March 2020, Mesa’s generators on DFM sites had an average historical runtime of 99.7 percent and were consuming an average of 1.4 MMcf of unrefined associated gas every day that would have otherwise been vented or flared.
No end in sight
By focusing on a common goal and aligning our vision and values, Mesa and Crusoe are delivering previously untapped value to customers by reducing emissions, increasing resource conservation, and alleviating midstream bottlenecks, all while delivering cost savings and maximizing operational efficiency. The partnership has proven so successful that both parties have agreed to set a target to deploy an additional 50 MW of power generation and DFM technology over the next two years. Together, Mesa Natural Gas Solutions and Crusoe Energy Systems are helping to shape the future of the oil and gas industry and setting a standard for innovation and cooperation along the way.