As pressures to maintain profitability in the oil and gas market increase, while the demand for sustainability likewise rises exponentially, taking advantage of carbon credits achieved by reduction in flare gas becomes increasingly attractive. In one notable case, engineering systems integrator Drakken was selected by CarbonAi for a project with a large oil and gas company to engineer an offshore wellhead monitoring project at the Gulf of Suez. The task was to collect, analyze and distribute information to earn carbon credits, and since the carbon credits would be generated from flare gas reduction, the company would have to quantify and verify the exact volume of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the gas conservation equipment per the quantification methodology. This entails the need for continuous flare gas conservation data, so Drakken had to record standardized volumetric flow rates for the conserved gas and store it to the cloud application.
Automation for this project was complex partly due to the highly remote location with no broadband internet access, so Drakken had to provide data over a cellular gateway. Tasked with providing a solution for data transfer from an energy meter, installed on a gas compressor, and flow meters to a remote cloud-based data management system, Drakken selected Emerson’s PACSystems RX3i CPL410 edge controller, PACEdge software, an RSTi-EP network adapter, communication card, digital input card for alarm signals, and QuickPanel+ HMI. The PACSystems RX3i CPL410 edge controller, which combines real-time deterministic control and an edge-enabled execution environment in a single platform, is able to collect data from all the disparate devices over various communications protocols and transfer data via a broadband cellular gateway using Azure MQTT to a cloud-based application.
Critically, the controller is able to provide geolocation and real-time data tagged with relevant asset information, including datasheets, install and maintenance records, and photographs. This creates a strong data trail, thereby increasing the chances of successful verification of the credits and avoiding costs for on-site visits, manual data recording, error correction and more. This enables the CarbonAi data management platform to quantify the credits in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions and store and report it in an auditable format.
In case of intermittent failure in communication, the PACSystems CPL410 edge controller stores the data and forwards it when a connection is available. Additionally, the high-fidelity reporting provided by the Emerson control system allows the company to respond immediately to problems or failures without unnecessary and costly maintenance visits that could also represent safety risks. Based on the success of this project, the oil and gas company has decided to replicate the solution across other wellheads. Additionally, CarbonAi offers similar greenhouse gas reduction services, incorporating Emerson’s technology, to other oil and gas companies.
Notably, Drakken reports that accurate carbon offset credit data collection, analysis and reporting significantly enhanced return on project investment for the company, and collection precision has helped achieve a net increase of 5 MMSCFD conserved gas and first-year greenhouse gas reductions of 120,214,288 kgCO2e.