One of the most invaluable, naturally occurring commodities in today’s world is crude oil, a fossil fuel made from the remnants of ancient zooplankton and algae that were subjected to heat and massive pressures deep in the ground for millions of years.
Thanks to increasingly efficient technologies, it has been possible to harness crude oil from the earth by drilling, before taking it through refinement and distillation to create a myriad of products that range from the gasoline used to power automobiles to plastics used in manufacturing to petroleum-based consumer products
Applications of Air Compressor Systems in the Oil and Gas Industry
Industrial air compressors play a big role in the modern oil and gas industry, for both large and small operations. Everything from pneumatic drilling equipment to pipeline transportation utilize compressed air systems. Here are some of the most common applications:
- Petroleum refining – 95% of petroleum gas is processed through compression before transporting in a pipeline. Increasing the pressure of processed gas initiates a catalytic reaction used in the refining process.
- Petrochemical synthesis – Ammonia, methanol, urea, ethylene, ethylene glycol, and other petrochemicals require very specific air and gas pressurization in the manufacturing process.
- Gas re-injection in oil fields – A series of compressors (centrifugal and reciprocating air compressors) can be used for gas or re-injection for maintaining reservoir pressures and facilitating the recovery of crude oil
- Pipeline transportation – Reservoir pressures tend to decrease gradually over time, so compressors are needed to maintain or boost gas flow into the pipeline system. Both centrifugal and high-pressure reciprocating compressor systems can be used.
The Future of Air Compressor Systems in the Oil and Gas Industry
Despite massive development in alternative energy sources, the demand for oil and oil-based products continues to increase with the rising global population. To keep up with the demand, air and gas compressors have become invaluable for ensuring the appropriate pressure levels for these operations.
This means that the demand for industrial air compressors will continue to grow in in the oil and gas industry over the next few years. The next-generation of compressor systems will play a vital role in the steady growth of the market, with innovations focused on increased speed, lower energy requirements, and greater ability to withstand the harsh drilling environments to maintain a competitive edge.