BP plc, which is aiming to eliminate natural gas flaring in the Lower 48 by 2025 on its transition to becoming a zero-emissions producer, said it has taken a big step toward that goal with a state-of-the-art facility in the Permian Basin.

Permian flaring

The electrified Grand Slam facility near Orla, TX, is a central oil, gas and water handling plant designed to reduce emissions and enhance production, according to the London-based energy major.

Grand Slam is designed to reduce operational emissions in part by replacing natural gas-driven equipment, compressors and generators. The plant also is mostly automated, enabling near real-time status of operating conditions that may result in fewer operational upsets.

“We see a future where our Permian production is a highly commercial and low carbon energy resource that uses a combination of technologies — such as continuous methane monitoring, electrification, and block chain applications – to support and accelerate the energy transition,” said BP America Chairman Dave Lawler. “Embracing these technologies goes well beyond a fractional improvement, as we look to these resilient hydrocarbons to help fuel BP’s transition to a net-zero company.”

BP’s roadmap to net-zero carbon was unveiled last September. 

“What we are doing with our Permian assets is a clear example of our strategy in action,” said BPX Energy’s Kim Krieger, vice president (VP) of operations for BP’s Lower 48 business unit. 

“Electrification of the field has been a gamechanger. We are cutting emissions while significantly increasing the reliability of our field operations, enabling a 20% uplift in production. It’s exciting to see our emissions decrease and our incremental operating cash flow increase.”

BP acquired a big chunk of its Permian portfolio, along with a substantial number of other Lower 48 assets, in 2018 when it made a $10.5 billion deal with BHP. However, the team had to align existing production and legacy facilities with its future goals.

“Since acquiring the assets, BP’s flaring intensity has decreased dramatically,” BP noted. “As recently as 4Q2019, flaring in the Permian Basin was around 16%. Today, it’s less than 2% and dropping.”

Grand Slam is the largest infrastructure project to date for the U.S. onshore business. The London-based energy major estimated that more than 75% of the operated Permian wells will be electrified by the end of 2021, with more than 95% electrified by 2023.

BP is also working to improve its methane detection and monitoring programs. Using drone and aerial monitoring surveillance, including high-resolution and infra-red camera coverage, the company is piloting continuous methane monitoring technologies.

“Our journey is just beginning,” said BPX’s Faye Gerard, VP of Low Carbon and Sustainability. “We still have work to do, but we are constantly evaluating and piloting new technologies to help further reduce emissions, including flaring, and help advance BP’s ambition to be a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner.”