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GE, Statoil Collaborate to Reduce NatGas Flaring, Cut Well Site Emissions

General Electric Corp. (GE) and Statoil ASA have agreed to collaborate in a wide-ranging partnership to develop, among other things, ways to reduce natural gas flaring at the well site and cut methane emissions through compressed natural gas (CNG) applications.

The collaboration initially would build on projects already begun, including GE's CNG In A Box, which was created with Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 2012. The fueling solution captures, compresses and uses gas that otherwise would be flared at well sites, and GE last year stepped up financing to promote it (see Daily GPIFeb. 25, 2014). CNG already is used to fuel rigs, vehicles and other equipment (see Shale DailySept. 29, 2014).

"In order to respond to the growing energy demands of the world, continued investments in technology and innovation are critical to helping develop long-term, low-cost and more efficient energy solutions," said GE CEO Jeff Immelt. The collaboration "brings together two leading technology players and allows us to leverage our global network of engineers and technologists to make a profound impact on the development of energy solutions that reduce environmental impacts."

GE wants to be "a model for the rest of our industry, and to inspire thinking, creativity and innovation in addressing the challenges of more sustainable energy."

Statoil CEO Eldar Saetre said the challenges facing the industry are "too large for one entity to address alone. The private sector has a responsibility to leverage its skills and expertise to contribute to the development of new solutions. Collaboration is a key component to achieving important positive change..."

Besides CNG In A Box, the partners want to reduce water usage in fracturing operations through carbon dioxide (CO2) stimulation. The process uses liquefied CO2 stimulation to reduce water use -- and it is able to increase oil and gas production. Also on the drawing board are plans to increase fuel efficiency through gas compressor optimization and through turbine online water wash technology.

Beyond the initial plans, the duo want to pursue technologies that address "operational needs of the industry today to longer-term solutions that can support the industry as it matures to meet tomorrow's energy needs," GE noted.

Five projects are planned, but optimism is high that the execution could result in significant combined CO2 savings. For instance, GE pointed to Statoil's Last Mile Fueling solution in the Williston Basin in North Dakota (see Shale DailySept. 11, 2014). The gas flaring project "has the potential to reduce the equivalent of 120,000-200,000 tons per year of carbon emissions through reduced diesel fuel usage."

GE and Statoil also have launched a global open innovation challenge to innovators from beyond the oil and gas industry to develop potential solutions that could make energy production more sustainable. The first phase of the challenge "specifically aims to address the use of sand in unconventional operations," GE noted. Sand is used as a proppant in completions, and its use requires "thousands of truck trips to transport...onto the site when drilling new wells..." GE Oil & Gas and Statoil would help fund the commercial development of the "winning" solutions.

"While the actions directly involved with producing energy have an impact on more sustainable energy production, so too do indirect operations that surround production," said GE Oil & Gas CEO Lorenzo Simonelli.

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