Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Triple Diamond Energy Corp Announces Plans For Two Well Program In Garvin County Oklahoma

Triple Diamond Energy Corp (TDEC) has announced plans for a two-well controlled step out oil and natural gas program in south central Oklahoma.

ADDISON, TX -- The Texas-based oil and gas production and exploration company, Triple Diamond Energy Corporation, has announced they are planning a program for Garvin County located in south central Oklahoma.

The plans involve a two well, controlled step out oil and natural gas program. These wells will be drilled one or more spacing units away from existing production already in the targeted formations.

"Garvin County is the fifth largest producer of oil in the entire state of Oklahoma and other wells currently located in the area are showing promise. Several wells located adjacent to the area we will be working in are producing one million or more barrels of oil," said Chris Jent, Officer of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. (http://www.triplediamondenergy.com/)

The Golden Trend region of south central Oklahoma is on the Anadarko Basin's Southeastern embayment between the Arbuckle Mountains and the Nemaha-Pauls Valley. The oil produced in McClain and Garvin Counties comes from one of three main formations made from Deese sandstones, Hunton limestone, and Viola limestone as well as several pools located in the Simpson group. These formations shifted and created stratigraphic traps where the oil now sits.

Triple Diamond Energy Corp. has just completed the first two wells of its four well Sportsman Lake Program located in Seminole County, Oklahoma. Drilling for this program commenced in August and TDEC expects to complete them at the end of October.

Triple Diamond Energy Corp Completes Drilling And Begins Logging Of Two Wells In Oklahoma Project

Triple Diamond Energy Corp. (TDEC) announces the drilling of two wells in Seminole County, Oklahoma is complete and logging is set to start.

ADDISON, TX -- Triple Diamond Energy Corp. (TDEC) reported the drilling of two wells in Seminole County, Oklahoma is complete. Oil production will commence once the completing and equipping process has concluded.

The Texas oil and gas exploration company started the drilling process for the Seminole County portion of the project in August on the previously undrilled geologic structure of the Sportsman Lake Field. The pair of wells will pull oil from the Proven Undeveloped Producible Reserves located in the high formation.

With drilling complete, an e-log will use electrical measurements to map out the structure and locate the tops of the geological formations. This will allow TDEC to determine the best possible hydrocarbon bearing zones to target. Triple Diamond Energy Corp. can then install the production casing and perforate the zone.

"Once the completion and equipping processes are complete, the two wells can begin extracting oil. From there, it will be processed and refined into various fuel and petroleum products," says Chris Jent, Chief Marketing Officer of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. (http://www.triplediamondenergy.com/)

Reports have shown the area to contain a minimum of 100 000 barrel of attic oil. Oklahoma is presently in fifth place in crude oil production in the country producing 8.8 percent of the natural gas and 3.3 percent of the crude produced in the US.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Superior Quality Jet Fuel Needed for Aviation

At the refinery crude oil is turned into jet fuel and aviation gasoline. Only superior-quality fuels can be used for aviation. Jet fuels and aviation gasoline used in commercial aviation must meet or exceed stringent requirements for worldwide fuel handling and products standards set by industry and government groups, including The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), The Coordinating Research Council and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense.

The superior-quality jet fuels and aviation gasoline supplied to general aviation must also meet stringent worldwide fuel handling and products standards set by Fixed Based Operators and Distributors. They also are in compliance with industry and government groups, including The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), The Coordinating Research Council and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.

The quality control starts at the refinery. The chemical formulation for aviation gasoline continues to be relatively unchanged for the past 50 years. It must satisfy these basic requirements: 1) Vaporization must occur easily at low temperatures but yet not so easy that it will cause vapor lock; 2) It must have a high energy content per unit weight (BTU), and permit high compression engine operation without detonation; 3) It must be relatively free of gum-forming compounds; 4) It must have a low sulfur content to reduce corrosive action; 5) It must be stored and delivered free of contaminants.

Other considerations in the processing of aviation gasoline are volatility and vaporization. Volatility has an important effect on carburetor icing and “vapor lock.” Vaporization of fuel in the carburetor venturi cannot take place without heat being extracted. If too much heat is taken out during the vaporization process there is danger of carburetor ice forming with float-type carburetors. Highly volatile fuel extracts more heat from its surroundings than does a less volatile fuel and tends to allow vapor (bubbles) to form in the fuel lines. Bubbles in the fuel delivery system cause an interruption or reduction in fuel flow (vapor lock) and complete or partial engine failure due to improper fuel-air mixture.

Octane ratings for aviation gasoline have been rated differently than automotive gasoline. Leaded aviation fuels use tetraethyl lead in small quantities, primarily to improve antiknock qualities, and is a necessary additive to aviation fuel to produce 100-octane or greater fuel.

Superior-quality products are the result of operational excellence. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation ensure maintaining quality control from the refinery to the airplanes producing and delivering their fuel products in a safe, secure, environmentally sound, reliable and efficient manner.

One Trillion Barrels of Oil

To date, the world has produced 1 trillion barrels of oil. It is expected that approximately 2 trillion barrels more will be produced over the next century or so. It will come from conventional proved reserves, unconventional resources and as-yet-undiscovered conventional oil. Some of the unconventional oil resources are the extra-heavy oil in Alberta and Venezuela, the bitumen in Alberta, and the shale oil in the United States.

As we progress, oil will continue to provide energy for the future. Oil and petroleum products have powered the world in the form of motor fuels for more than a century, and the demand is only growing. Between now and 2030, global energy consumption is projected to jump more than 50 percent, with oil and gas continuing to meet the largest part of that demand.

Oil is also a key ingredient in making thousands of products that make our lives easier. Here too oil will continue to make our life progress for the better. At the oil refineries chemical processing turns the crude oil into mixtures that produce products such as plastics found in our everyday objects, synthetic rubber used to make things more pliable and stretchy, synthetic fibers found our clothing to make them more comfortable, drugs to help us fight diseases, and detergents to make our cleaning process easier. A liquid obtained from refining crude oil called naphtha is one of the basic feedstocks.

Basically, there are three major categories for petroleum-based products:
fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel,non-fuel products such as solvents and lubricating oils, and feedstocks such as naphtha. Petroleum-based products, especially motor gasoline, distillate (diesel) fuel, and jet fuel, provide virtually all of the energy consumed in the transportation sector. Transportation remains the greatest single use of petroleum. The industrial sector is the second largest petroleum consumption, and the residential/commercial including the electric utility sectors account for the remaining petroleum consumption.

The value of oil is enormous. The world depends on it greatly. Without oil, the world would not move. The oil companies in the United States, like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation, keep their operations running smoothly, efficiently, and safely to provide the products that supply the ever-increasing demand. They seek out further discoveries and keep up with the future explorations worldwide. Cutting-edge technology advances enable them to progress in innovative and cost-conscious ways to bring new volumes of oil to the marketplace. Again, it is expected that approximately 2 trillion barrels more will be produced over the next century or so.

The Clean, Efficient and Economical Energy Source

Natural gas now provides 23 percent of all energy consumed in the world. Before the second half of the 20th century it was just dismissed as a useless byproduct of oil production. It is the only fossil fuel that is clean-burning, composed of various hydrocarbon gases, mostly methane. Actually, the main products of the combustion of natural gas are carbon dioxide and water vapor which are the same compounds we exhale when we breathe. Virtually, no ash or particulate matter are released. Natural gas is non-toxic, not poisonous or harmful to humans. It fuels electric power generators and heats homes and offices more efficiently than oil. It also can be used as a raw material in many consumer products, one being the increasingly popular plastics.

Because it is the cleanest-burning conventional fuel, it is environmentally friendly producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than the heavier hydrocarbon fuels, coal and oil. Since it is so efficient, natural gas has historically been one of the most economical energy sources.

The International Energy Agency predicts that natural gas demand will grow by more than 67 percent through 2030. The range of applications include: industrial power, heating for both commercial buildings and residential homes, and transportation vehicles. Because of the relatively simple makeup of natural gas, there are fewer toxic and carcinogenic emissions from vehicles running on natural gas. Substantial reserves exist to meet the growing demand of natural gas. World natural gas reserves are estimated to exceed 6,000 trillion cubic feet, and significant natural gas volumes are yet to be discovered.

In its gaseous state, natural gas can be delivered to customers through pipeline systems. Natural gas is reliable in that the pipeline systems are not easily damaged or affected by changing weather conditions. Natural gas can also be turned into a liquid (LNG) so it can be shipped safely in specialized tankers to growing markets. Technology advances are developing gas-to-liquids stations as another alternative for commercializing gas resources. There also has been research done to create from natural gas, synthetic diesel fuel, lubricant base oils, and naphtha. GTL diesel is distinguished by its higher performance and lower environmental impacts as compared with traditional diesel fuels.

Numerous pipeline projects are necessary to link natural gas with growing markets. There are still portions of the nation that do not have pipelines reaching them yet. Energy companies like Triple Diamond Energy will continue to find, develop and deliver natural gas to meet rising energy demand.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Heating Oil is America’s Main Heating Fuel

Heating oil is a petroleum product used by many Americans to heat their homes. Generally, because the demand is higher, heating oil prices are higher during the winter months. Historically, the price of heating oil has fluctuated from year to year and month to month.

Making the demand high, 107 million households in the United States (approximately 8.1 million) depend on heating oil as their main heating fuel. Residential space heating is the primary use for heating oil which makes the demand highly seasonal. And the area of the country most reliant on heating oil is the northeast with most of the heating oil used during October through March. When the prices are likely to be lower, some customers try filling their storage tanks in the summer or early fall to beat rising winter prices. However, most homeowners do not have enough room in their storage tanks to store the full amount needed to meet winter demands. Because homeowners may have to refill their tanks as often as four or five times during the heating season, the possibility of rising or spiking prices is a concern.

Domestic refineries and imports from foreign countries are the basic sources of heating oil in the United States. Refineries produce heating oil as a part of the distillate fuel oil products, which includes heating oils, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Distillate products are shipped throughout the United States by pipelines, barges, tankers, trucks and rail cars. Most imports of distillate fuel oil currently come from Canada and Venezuela. Oil refineries limit the amount of heating oil they make to meet the demands of the winter heating season. Some winter heating oil produced by the refineries in the summer and fall months is stored for winter use. During the coldest winter months, the inventories that are built in the summer and fall are used to help meet the high demand. Refiners can increase heating oil production in the winter to a modest degree, but they quickly reach a point where, to produce more heating oil, they would also have to produce more of other petroleum products which could not be sold in sufficient quantities during the winter months. However, if consumer demand is high for a seasonal product, such as gasoline, refiners may delay producing heating oil for the winter, which may lower inventories at the start of the heating season. This may cause prices to fluctuate. Such was the case in the summer of 2002, when more gasoline was produced to supply the high gasoline demand. As a result, the 2002-2003 heating oil season started with low

Heating oil may be delivered to a central distribution area, such as New York Harbor, where it is then redistributed by barge to other consuming areas, such as New England. Once heating oil is in the consuming area, it is redistributed by truck to smaller storage tanks closer to a retail dealer’s customers, or it may be transported directly to the residential customers. Oil companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation make certain all distribution areas are sufficiently supplied with enough heating oil to handle the consumer demand.

The World's Most Liquid Forum for Crude Oil Trading

Crude oil began futures trading on the NYMEX in 1983 and presently is the world's most actively traded commodity. As well as being the world's largest-volume futures contract trading on a physical commodity, NYMEX Division light, sweet crude oil futures contract is the world's most liquid forum for crude oil trading. Used as a principal international pricing benchmark, the light, sweet crude oil futures contract has excellent liquidity and price transparency. Light, sweet crude oils are preferred by refiners because of their low sulfur content and relatively high yields of high-value products including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel.

Risk management and trading opportunities can be obtained through options on the futures contract. Additional risk management is offered with calendar spread options. Crack spread options make available the pricing differential of heating oil futures, crude oil futures, gasoline futures and crude oil futures, plus average price options. The contract trades in units of 1,000 barrels. The delivery point is Cushing, Oklahoma, which is also accessible to the international spot markets via pipelines. Serving the diverse needs of the physical market, the contract provides for delivery of several grades of domestic and internationally traded foreign crudes. A penultimate, financially settled crude oil (WS) contract is available for trading on the CME Globex® platform. The contract is listed for 72 months.

Designed for investment portfolios, the NYMEX miNY™ crude oil futures contract, is the equivalent of 500 barrels of crude, 50% of the size of a standard futures contract. The contract is available for trading on the CME Globex® electronic trading platform and clears through the New York Mercantile Exchange clearinghouse.

The New York Mercantile Exchange also lists for trading electronically a financially settled futures contract for Dubai crude oil; a futures contract on the differential between the light, sweet crude oil futures contract and Canadian Bow River crude at Hardisty, Alberta; and futures contracts on the differentials of the light, sweet crude oil futures contract and four domestic grades of crude oil: Light Louisiana Sweet, West Texas Intermediate-Midland, West Texas Sour, and Mars Blend.

The Brent blend futures contract is based on a light, sweet North Sea crude oil that serves as a benchmark grade and widely trades as a differential to the NYMEX Division's bellwether light, sweet crude oil futures contract. Most of the crude oil is refined in Northwest Europe, but significant volumes move to the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts. Complementing the Brent crude oil futures contract are an options contract, calendar spread options contracts, and an options contract on the Brent/West Texas Intermediate crude oil spread.

Oil Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation involved in the extracting, refining, and distribution of crude oil and its valuable by-products here in the United States are driven by the demand and investments made on the commodity.

Fuel Oil Trucks Get Design Improvements

When fuel oil distributors talk about their truck needs, the most frequently mentioned among these needs are durability and maneuverability. Practical design enhancements can make fuel oil trucks better tools to provide greater productivity for the oil industry.

Fuel oil distributors engaged in the task of selecting new delivery truck enhancements typically have a list of ‘must-have’ features and a list of ‘like-to-have’ features. Ideally, the truck that finally gets purchased has all of the ‘must-have’ features and at least a couple of the ‘like-to-haves.’

Truck manufacturers have both of the lists and have been working to provide these and additional features after learning from the fuel oil distributors what actually is expected in performance. Bob Bees, marketing product manager for Volvo Trucks North America in Greensboro, N.C. said that while Volvo might not be an obvious or common choice for fuel oil delivery, “it’s got a great wheel cut” – a primary consideration for operators who require maneuverability in negotiating driveways and other tight spots in the course of making deliveries. 

Home heating oil tankers typically have a capacity of approximately 2,000 – 3,000 gallons. These are typically single-axle vehicles. The front axle often ranges from 14,000 to 16,000 pounds, with a rear axle typically ranging from 23,000 to 26,000 pounds. “They might go all the way up to a 30,000-pound rear axle,” Bees said. “We can do this making a very, very good home fuel oil truck, but it’s on the high end of the cost spectrum.”

Other original equipment manufacturers (OEM) that make trucks that can be designed for fuel oil delivery to the priority of maneuverability have listened to the fuel oil distributors’ needs. Freightliner, for example, said its Business Class M2 106 features up to a 55-degree wheel cut, achieved through a combination of a setback front axle and a swept-back bumper. They also offer to complement the wheel-cut, a 2,500-square-inch windshield, low-profile dash and an aerodynamic sloped hood – features that combine for visibility, which are crucial in the negotiating of tight spots. Wide door openings, low step-in heights and interior and exterior grab handles on the M2 are designed to help reduce fatigue, and offer easy entry and exit for drivers who make numerous fuel oil deliveries daily. 

Hino Motors Sales USA in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan offers a Hino Model 338 Class 7 straight truck with a 260 HP engine, optional in-cab controlled rear locking differentials and optional vertical exhaust. This truck also has an air suspension. The straight truck features an exceptional turning radius because of its 55-degree wheel cut and wide visibility for ease of movement during fuel oil deliveries, even to homes where access is cramped. The truck’s dashboard includes a ‘Driver Information Display’ capable of presenting a range of information, including trip fuel economy, service, and interval maintenance check ups.

Some other design features, integral parts of the specs requested by the oil truck distributors, that different dealers are now offering are: automatic five-speed transmission because many fuel oil distributors find that the automatic transmission helps save several minutes off each stop; new halogen projector low beam headlamps which offer three times longer life than sealed beam headlamps; a new hood assist device and 90-degree hood tilt opening providing easy access to the engine compartment for mechanical repairs; air or hydraulic brakes; and the option of a combination of diesel and electric modes of operation automatically switching between the two seamlessly.

Oil Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation are always looking into improvements in each of the systems of operation in their business to make it run as efficiently as possible.

The Oil Industry in Venezuela

Among the world’s top oil exporters (in the order of how much is currently being exported) are Saudi Arabia, Norway, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. Let’s look at Venezuela. Venezuela’s oil is exceptionally important to their country and, for that matter, to the rest of the world.
Because of its importance, Venezuela has their army regularly enlisted to protect the output by defending their installations, oil tankers and oil refineries. The oil industry in Venezuela has become a target for attacks. Protesters know when they really want to make a point and get their message heard, they target the oil industry.

Last April's coup which temporarily ousted president Hugo Chavez from power, was the result of a controversy over the state-owned oil firm that acted as the catalyst for the temporary termination. Chavez was left with no doubt about the source of his political and economic power. Chavez said about the attempts to disrupt the supply, “It's as if the doctor, who's supposed to be looking after your heart, suddenly tries to stop it.”

Accounting for about half of total government revenues, there is no question that oil is the lifeblood of Venezuela’s economy. With Venezuela producing about three million barrels a day of crude oil, which is about one third of the total gross domestic product. And about 75% of that is exported. Of the country's $3bn-4bn in annual foreign investment, almost all of it is channeled into the energy industry. Now, it is easy to understand why they protect their oil industry with armed guards.

With Venezuela being the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, it supplies about 13% of daily oil imports into the United States. The ability of Venezuela to continue pumping oil is a concern for the United States and for oil markets around the world. The removal of any such significant oil producer (whether it be Venezuela or another country) from the supply chain is certain to squeeze prices for oil even higher. The US, in particular, is left scrabbling around for alternative cargoes of not just crude oil, but also refined products such as petrol, jet fuel and diesel.

Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the supply from the Middle East in the case of a US-led war against Iraq, secure supply is especially important at present.

It was 1921 when black gold (oil) was first discovered in Venezuela. Production surged quickly, and by the start of the World War II, Venezuela had become second only to the US in total output. In 1960, it was a founding member of the OPEC oil cartel, which still controls prices by regulating the amount of oil pumped onto the markets by member countries.

In recent years, Venezuela's oil output has begun to decrease, largely because of difficulties at the state-owned firm. This year, Rodriguez has been brought in from his position as secretary-general of OPEC in order to try to turn around the troubled firm. Most experts say Rodriguez will struggle to introduce any real change while Hugo Chavez remains in power. Oil companies in the United States like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation are always keeping aware of the world’s exporting dealings within the ever-changing energy industry.

The Processing of Natural Gas

The natural gas used by consumers is much different from the natural gas that is brought up to the wellhead from underground. The processing of natural gas is in many respects less complicated than the processing and refining of crude oil, but it is equally as necessary before the end users receive it. The natural gas used by consumers is composed almost entirely of methane. Although still composed primarily of methane, the natural gas found at the wellhead is by no means as pure.

Raw natural gas comes from three types of wells: oil wells, gas wells, and condensate wells. Natural gas termed ‘associated gas’ is that which comes from oil wells. This gas can exist separate from oil in the formation (free gas), or dissolved in the crude oil (dissolved gas). Natural gas from gas and condensate wells, in which there is little or no crude oil, is termed ‘nonassociated gas’. Gas wells typically produce raw natural gas by itself. Condensate wells produce free natural gas along with a semi-liquid hydrocarbon condensate. Once separated from crude oil (if present), whatever the source of the natural gas, it commonly exists in mixtures with other hydrocarbons. The other hydrocarbons are principally ethane, propane, butane, and pentanes. Raw natural gas also contains water vapor, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide, helium, nitrogen, and other compounds.

Pipeline-quality dry natural gas is the result of processing consisting of separating all of the various hydrocarbons and fluids from the natural gas. Before the natural gas can be transported in the pipelines, it must be purified. The ethane, propane, butane, and pentanes must be removed from natural gas. The actual practice of processing natural gas to pipeline dry gas quality levels usually involves four main processes to remove the various impurities: oil and condensate removal, water removal, separation of natural gas liquids, and lastly, sulfur and carbon dioxide removal. In addition to these, heaters and scrubbers installed near wellheads remove sand and other large-particle impurities such as the formation of hydrates resembling ice like crystals.

The associated hydrocarbons that are removed, known as Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) can be very valuable by-products of natural gas processing. Ethane, propane, butane, iso-butane, and natural gasoline are among these.

The complete processing of natural gas takes place at a processing plant, usually located in a natural gas producing region. Some of the needed processing can be accomplished at or near the wellhead.
In addition to processing done at the wellhead and at centralized processing plants, some final processing is also sometimes accomplished at straddle extraction plants which are located on major pipeline systems.

The processing system ensures that the natural gas intended for consumer use is as clean and pure as possible. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation make sure that processing removes all impurities and separates out the associated hydrocarbons before the natural gas goes through the pipelines to reach the consumer.

The Transportation and Storage of Natural Gas

The transportation system for natural gas consists of a complex network of pipelines, designed to quickly and efficiently transport natural gas from its origin to areas of high natural gas demand. To do this efficiently and effectively requires an extensive and elaborate transportation system. In many instances, natural gas produced from a particular well will have to travel a great distance to reach its point of use. Transportation of natural gas is closely linked to its storage. If the natural gas being transported is not be required at that time, it can be put into storage facilities for when it is needed.

The gathering system, the interstate pipeline, and the distribution system essentially make up the three major types of pipelines along the transportation route. The gathering system consists of low pressure, low diameter pipelines that transport raw natural gas right from the wellhead to the processing plant. If the natural gas from a particular well has high sulfur and carbon dioxide contents (sour gas), a specialized sour gas gathering pipe must be installed. Because sour gas is extremely corrosive and dangerous, its transportation must be done carefully from the wellhead to a sweetening plant.

Pipelines are either interstate or intrastate. Interstate pipelines carry natural gas across state boundaries, and in some cases, clear across the country. Intrastate pipelines transport natural gas within a particular state. The technical and operational systems are essentially the same for both interstate or intrastate pipelines. Natural gas pipelines are subject to regulatory oversight, which in many ways determines the manner in which pipeline companies must operate.

The exploration, production, and transportation of natural gas takes time. Natural gas, like most other commodities, can be stored for an indefinite period of time. Because the natural gas that reaches its destination is not always needed right away, it can be injected into underground storage facilities. These storage facilities are usually located near market centers that do not have a ready supply of locally produced natural gas.

The supply of natural gas has been traditionally regulated by the season. That is, partly because it is used for heat in both residential and commercial settings, the demand for natural gas is usually higher during the winter. Stored natural gas ensures that any excess supply delivered during the summer months is available to meet the increased demand of the winter months. Due to the demand for electricity to power air conditioners, recent trends toward natural gas fired electric generation has altered the demand for natural gas to increase during the summer months, however. Another vital role natural gas in storage serves is as insurance against any unforeseen accidents, natural disasters, or other occurrences that may affect the production or delivery of natural gas.

In the past, when natural gas was a regulated commodity, storage was part of the bundled product sold by the pipelines to distribution utilities. It is now available to anyone seeking storage for commercial purposes or operational requirements. Storage used to serve only as a buffer between transportation and distribution, to ensure adequate supplies of natural gas were in place for seasonal demand shifts, and unexpected demand surges. Now, in addition to serving those purposes, natural gas storage is also used by industry participants for commercial reasons; storing gas when prices are low, and withdrawing and selling it when prices are high, for instance. The purpose and use of storage has been closely linked to the regulatory environment of the time. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation consider all of the changes in both the nation’s available pipeline transportation systems and storage facilities when investing in the future of energy acquisitions.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Advances in the Oil and Natural Gas Exploration

The oil and natural gas industry has transformed into one of the most technologically advanced industries in the United States. Over the past thirty years, new innovations have reshaped the industry into a technology leader. Because of the technological innovation in the exploration and production, the industry has been able to keep up with the rising demand. The production of natural gas is constantly becoming more efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. Natural gas deposits are being found deeper in the ground in more remote and sometimes inhospitable areas. New technological advances have provided the equipment necessary to produce natural gas in challenging environments in order to keep up with the industry production pace.
Some highlights of technological development in exploration and production include: 22,000 fewer wells needed annually to develop the same amount of reserves as were developed in 1985; drilling wastes have decreased by as much as 148 million barrels due to increased well productivity and fewer wells which is useful for drilling in sensitive areas; the use of modular drilling rigs and slimhole drilling reducing the size of drilling rigs, in turn, reducing surface impact; less reliance on explosives needed, reducing the impact on the environment.

Some major recent technological innovations in exploration and production are included here. 3-D and 4-D Seismic Imaging is the technology advance using traditional seismic imaging techniques, combined with powerful computers and processors, to create a 3-D model of the subsurface layers. The 4-D seismology allows exploration teams to observe subsurface changes over time. Because of 3-D and 4-D seismic imaging, teams can now identify natural gas prospects more easily, place wells more effectively, reduce the number of dry holes drilled, reduce drilling costs, and cut exploration time. CO2-Sand Fracturing Techniques have been used since the 1970s to help increase the flow rate of natural gas and oil from underground formations. CO2-Sand fracturing involves using a mixture of sand propants and liquid CO2 to fracture formations, creating and enlarging cracks through which oil and natural gas may flow more freely. After the CO2 vaporizes, only sand is left in the formation, holding the newly enlarged cracks open. Coiled Tubing technologies replace the traditional rigid, jointed drill pipe with a long, flexible coiled pipe string. Measurement While Drilling (MWD) systems allow for the collection of data from the bottom of a well as it is being drilled. This improves drilling efficiency and accuracy in the drilling process, allows better formation evaluation as the drill bit encounters the underground formation, and reduces the chance of formation damage and blowouts. Slimhole Drilling is exactly as it sounds, drilling a slimmer hole in the ground to get to natural gas and oil deposits. This technological advance can significantly improve the efficiency of drilling operations, as well as decrease its environmental impact. Natural gas and oil deposits are being found at locations that are deeper and deeper underwater. Whereas Offshore Drilling Operations can be among the most risky and dangerous undertakings, new technology, including improved offshore drilling rigs, dynamic positioning devices and sophisticated navigation systems are allowing safe, efficient offshore drilling in waters more than 10,000 feet deep.

The above technological advancements provide only a snapshot of the increasingly sophisticated technology being developed. New technologies and applications are being developed constantly, and serve to improve the economics of producing natural gas, allow for the production of deposits formerly considered too unconventional or uneconomic to develop, and ensure that the supply of natural gas keeps up with steadily increasing demand. Sufficient domestic natural gas resources exist to help companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation to fuel the U.S. for a significant period of time, and advancements in technology play a huge role in providing low-cost, environmentally sound methods of extracting these resources.

Processing Natural Gas to be Clean and Pure

Before natural gas goes into the pipelines, it needs to be removed of all impurities. Processing natural gas to pipeline dry gas quality involves four main removal processes: oil and condensate removal, water removal, separation of natural gas liquids, and lastly, sulfur and carbon dioxide removal. In addition to these, heaters and scrubbers are installed, usually at or near the wellhead. The scrubbers serve primarily to remove sand and other large-particle impurities. With natural gas that contains even low quantities of water, natural gas hydrates have a tendency to form when temperatures drop. To reduce the occurrence of hydrates (resembling ice like crystals), small natural gas-fired heating units are typically installed along the gathering pipe wherever it is likely that these hydrates may form.

First the natural gas needs to be separated from the oil in which it is dissolved. This separation of natural gas from oil is most often done using equipment installed at or near the wellhead. Although dry pipeline quality natural gas is virtually identical across different geographic areas, raw natural gas from different regions may have different compositions and separation requirements. Natural gas is dissolved in oil underground primarily due to the pressure that the formation is under. The most basic type of separator is known as a conventional separator. Simply, it consists of a closed tank where the force of gravity serves to separate the heavier liquids like oil, and the lighter gases, like natural gas. Sometimes specialized equipment is necessary to separate oil and natural gas. An example of this type of equipment is the Low-Temperature Separator (LTX). This is most often used for wells producing high pressure gas along with light crude oil or condensate. Using pressure differentials to cool the wet natural gas and separate the oil and condensate, wet gas enters the separator, being cooled slightly by a heat exchanger. The process allows the gas to expand lowering of the temperature in the separator. By varying the pressure of the gas in various sections of the separator, it is possible to vary the temperature, which causes the oil and some water to be condensed out of the wet gas stream. This basic pressure-temperature relationship can work in reverse as well, to extract gas from a liquid oil stream.

Next, it is necessary to remove most of the associated water from the wet gas stream. Most of the liquid, free water associated with extracted natural gas is removed by simple separation methods at or near the wellhead. The treatment for 'dehydrating' the natural gas involves one of two processes: either absorption, or adsorption.
Absorption occurs when the water vapor is taken out by a dehydrating agent. An example of absorption dehydration is known as Glycol Dehydration. In this process, a liquid desiccant dehydrator serves to absorb water vapor from the gas stream. Glycol, the principal agent in this process, has a chemical affinity for water.
The primary form of dehydrating natural gas using adsorption is solid-desiccant dehydration. It usually consists of two or more adsorption towers, which are filled with a solid desiccant. Solid-desiccant dehydrators are more effective than glycol dehydrators, and are usually installed as a type of straddle system along natural gas pipelines.

The third step in the process of removing the impurities is the separation of the natural gas liquids (NGLs). In most instances, natural gas liquids have a higher value as separate products, and it is thus economical to remove them from the gas stream. The removal of natural gas liquids usually takes place in a relatively centralized processing plant, and uses techniques similar to those used to dehydrate natural gas.

In addition to water, oil, and NGL removal, one of the most important parts of gas processing involves the removal of sulfur and carbon dioxide. Natural gas from some wells contains significant amounts of sulfur and carbon dioxide. Because of the rotten smell provided by its sulfur content, this natural gas is commonly called 'sour gas'. Sour gas is extremely harmful, even lethal, to breathe. Sour gas can also be extremely corrosive. The sulfur that exists in the natural gas stream is extracted and marketed on its own.

Gas processing ensures that the natural gas intended for use is as clean and pure as possible, making it the clean burning and environmentally sound energy choice. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation make sure that processing removes all impurities so only clean and pure natural gas goes in the pipeline network across the nation.