Using renewables to power unconventional gas wells in Wa’ad Al-Shamal

Source: press release, 19 September 2019

A reliable and less expensive way to power a remote well – using renewable energy at unconventional well sites such as this one in Wa’ad Al-Shamal provides multiple benefits
A reliable and less expensive way to power a remote well – using renewable energy at unconventional well sites such as this one in Wa’ad Al-Shamal provides multiple benefits (photo: Saudi Aramco)

A new collaboration between the Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems Renewables Department (PRSD) and Unconventional Resources (UR) is not only saving costs while creating value but is also reducing the company’s environmental footprint in both energy supply and demand.

The organisations are collaborating by using green energy applications and technology in both ongoing and upcoming UR projects. Designed to ensure in-company projects reach maximum efficiency, the effort is focused on using smart solutions and demand-side management, as well as distributed generation and renewable resources to meet its goals.

To do this, PRSD is deploying renewable energy technology across applications – both off-the grid and on-the-grid connected solutions – and in its facilities, including office buildings, industrial facilities, oil and gas production wells, bulk plants, and others.

Over the years, technological improvements and decreasing costs in the energy storage field have made the use of solar photovoltaics (PV) and off-the-grid solar photovoltaic-energy storage systems preferable to more traditional forms of energy at industrial sites.

In line with this development, PRSD is using off-grid renewable energy systems as a less expensive power supply option. Used on a case-by-case basis, the solutions are most often designed for remote area facilities.

And to best identify, promote, and enable deployment of renewable energy deployment throughout Saudi Aramco, PRSD has updated the GIs and Engineering Standards to encourage their use.

Meanwhile, UR is consistently looking to operate and maintain its facilities in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. By teaming up with PRSD to power remote gas wells and main line isolation valve stations with solar off-grid systems, it achieves this while also optimising electrical loads and the use of modern technology solutions.

UR and PRSD collaboratively are establishing a long-term business relationship to promote the use of solar off-grid systems, which prove to be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than the use of transferring power by overhead transmissions lines.

A good example of this is with the ground-breaking development of the company’s first green powered autonomous gas well. The recent commissioning of the off-grid solar PV and battery powered gas well in Wa’ad Al-Shamal will be a catalyst for future development of off-grid systems companywide.

The system, which was commissioned on July 24, has a 5-year battery life cycle, was completed safely and ahead of schedule, with the transformation of the well’s power system the first of 11 to be applied in the area.

And its capacity is notable, as it supports a large electrical load created by use of blower motors, methanol injection pumps, HVAC, and other systems — all supported by solar PV and battery systems.

The team from PRSD and UR is currently working with solar vendors to develop standardised solar/PV models of 3, 5, 7, and 10 kilowatts so these models will be available for use in the majority of solar applications across Saudi Aramco. The models will also be easily relocatable to other sites, as required.

Overall, solar off-grid systems are an attractive and reliable power generation solution that fits the needs in Wa’ad Al-Shamal well. The cost avoidance and life cycle cost savings by implementing such renewable energy solutions are significant and will add value to Saudi Aramco and its projects in the future.

Furthermore, the deployment of renewable resources in the area will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save fuel for export, and support long-term prosperity in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and Saudi Aramco’s goals.