TriGen Integrated Energy Solutions
Maersk TriGen is an integrated clean energy development proposition with the potential to change the way we think about the Oil and Gas industry.
The technology makes it possible to profitably combine oil and gas operations, clean power generation and carbon sequestration. It can also monetize low quality gas streams. Maersk Oil, together with its partner CES, is developing commercial projects that will deliver CO2, power, water, steam and nitrogen value streams from a single integrated solution.
How TriGen Works
The Maersk TriGen pressurized Oxy-combustion units draw on technology originally developed in the space industry and generates electricity, clean water and “reservoir ready” carbon dioxide (for use in enhanced oil recovery or immediate sequestration underground) by burning natural gas together with pure oxygen under high pressure.
When gas and oxygen are combusted in a high pressure and high temperature Maersk TriGen unit the produced CO2 is fully captured and injected into underground reservoirs where hydrocarbons have been safely stored without leakage for millions of years. The only other products are pure water and zero emission electricity.
TriGen Products & Value Chains
Up to 50% more oil
By injecting CO2 into oil reservoirs the gas mixes with the oil enabling it to be produced and brought to the surface more easily. There are three types of oil production methods: primary, secondary and tertiary recovery. Primary depletion production may recover only 10-15% of the original oil in place. Secondary production, when water is injected increases average recovery to 35-40% of the original oil in place. CO2 based EOR, which is called tertiary recovery, can add another 15% to this recovery, but requires a supply of low cost CO2 for commerciality. The ability to produce low cost CO2 as a by-product of power generation creates an exciting business opportunity for companies with access to candidate EOR fields.
Electricity generation up to
Utility planners at national
and local levels are
faced with conflicting
demand is predicted
to increase, yet carbon
emissions must be
reduced and air quality
Maersk Oil’s TriGen generates a significant amount of electricity from a compact plant thanks to its efficient oxycombustion process.
Maersk TriGen´s value
chains offer a solution
that reconciles these
two aspects. The system
can be combined with a
dispatchability that allows
compensating for power
supply fluctuations and
high peak demands.
TriGen systems are readily scalable by multiple units to help meet the growing global demand for clean electricity.
Up to 500,000 gallons per
day of clean water
The TriGen combustion process generates pure water. A Maersk Oil TriGen unit can produce up to 500,000 gallons of water each day. This is of obvious value where desalination or exploitation of hard to replenish underground resources are critical issues. Maersk Oil TriGen produced water is pure and of boiler quality, ready for use in industry as well as for utilities.
Enhanced Oil Production using CO2
It was the TriGen technology’s potential to enable enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using captured carbon dioxide which first caught the attention of Maersk Oil. At that time Maersk Oil was seeking low cost sources of CO2 to enhance recovery from its own fields.
There are three types of oil production methods: primary, secondary and tertiary recovery.
Primary depletion production may recover only 10-15% of the original oil in place. Secondary production, when water is injected increases average recovery to 35-40% of the original oil in place.
based EOR, which is called tertiary recovery, can add another 15% to this recovery, but requires a supply of low cost CO2
By injecting CO2
into oil reservoirs the gas mixes with the oil enabling these valuable resources to be produced and brought to the surface more easily. The difference could be as high as 15% additional oil recovery.
The ability to produce low cost CO2
as a by-product of power generation creates an exciting and lucrative business opportunity for companies with access to EOR candidate fields.
CO2 contaminated Gas Fields
TriGen offers a unique development concept for CO2 contaminated gas fields as it can accept raw gas with ca. 70% CO2 and still generate its three valuable products.
The TriGen process also offers complete carbon capture.
Gas freed up and replaced by Maersk TriGen CO2 could also be exported to growing global gas markets by pipeline or cooled and shipped as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The integrated Maersk Oil TriGen development solution offers exciting potential for resource and upstream license holders in several areas of the world.
In the Middle East, the company is investigating how Maersk Oil TriGen’s low cost CO2 can benefit EOR projects. Gulf countries in particular have increasingly been taking the lead on investing and implementing clean energy developments, while many of their oil reservoirs are suited to CO2 / N2 based EOR.
Here, gas would be burned to produce clean power and water for households. Nitrogen, a by-product from the production of pure oxygen, and CO2 would be supplied to oil fields – nitrogen to maintain the pressure in depleting reservoirs, and CO2, as the enhanced oil recovery agent coaxing out oil which could not otherwise be recovered.
South East Asia
In South East Asia, the value chain starts at a different point. There are numerous world class gas fields that lie undeveloped because they are naturally contaminated with CO2. Such stranded gas fields could now potentially be produced economically and with full carbon capture because the Maersk Oil TriGen technology can burn gas contaminated with CO2 without costly pre- or post treatment for CO2 removal.
Maersk Oil TriGen also offers an efficiency advantage over conventional gas power generation processes with carbon capture – especially on power plants fed by CO2 contaminated gas fields that would require both pre- and post combustion CO2 separation.
Conventional gas turbine-based power plants suffer from flame-out when the level of non-combustable gas (often CO2) reaches approximately 40%, necessitating the addition of pre-combustion gas treatment processes. Maersk Oil TriGen thus allows countries to use their clan gas for export, and their contaminated gas for domestic power to meet the power needs of the region’s rapidly expanding economies.
Maersk Oil’s TriGen could unlock enormous value to countries with stranded or contaminated gas reserves.
North America & Europe
A combination of mature onshore oil fields and a popular demand for clean energy solutions creates an ideal mix of conditions for a successful Maersk Oil TriGen deployment in Europe and North America. CO2 EOR has been deployed extensively and successfully onshore across both continents for more than three decades.
Hundreds of thousands of barrels of incremental oil are being produced each year thanks to CO2 enhanced oil recovery projects.
A principal limiting factor in rolling out further CO2 EOR projects has been the economics of supplying CO2 in the quantities needed. Indeed, many previously successful North American CO2 EOR sites have been abandoned or curtailed for general economic reasons or a lack of affordable CO2
The unconventional resource boom in North America has driven down gas prices significantly. The current price levels make it a profitable venture to use the low cost gas for power generation and enable EOR via the resulting low cost CO2.
Frequently Asked Questions on EOR and TriGen
What is EOR?
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a process of injecting a substance or applying energy into an oil reservoir to extract what would otherwise be non-producible oil by changing the physical/chemical properties of the fluids and/or formation. It therefore works on a microscopic level, but is also influenced by macroscopic displacement efficiencies as seen in conventional recovery processes.
Why CO2 EOR over other methods?
EOR operations by CO2 injection is seen to offer the best fit and highest recovery potential for many of the worlds reservoirs. The advantages of CO2 are as follows:
a. Maximizing Recovery in many low permeability (tight) carbonate reservoirs where the effectiveness of water injection is limited as it is difficult to flood and sweep the tight pore spaces with water. The remaining oil after waterflooding tight reservoirs maystill be 70-80% of the original oil in place.
b. Meeting Clean Energy Targets: Governments worldwide are striving to become visible global leaders in promoting clean energy and the reduction of CO2 emissions, which can often be complementary to the growing demands for low cost CO2 for enhanced oil recovery in mature oil fields.
c. Increasing gas production and reserves: In many hydrocarbon-rich areas energy companies are currently injecting significant quantities of natural gas into oil fields to boost recovery. This is partly a legacy of the time when there was a surplus of gas. In some places with abundant, but stranded gas, local utilities are using imported gas. Often this gas ‘deficit’ can be solved by replacing natural gas injection with CO2 injection. CO2 injection offers superior recovery potential to lean gas injection and frees up natural gas for other uses.
d. Light Oil: Where oil deposits are light and low viscosity there is a particularly strong fit for CO2 injection (Heavy oil fields may be better suited to steam injection to maximize recovery).
e. Miscible Injection: CO2 offers miscible injection at many of the most common reservoir depths and pressures. Miscible simply means that the CO2 mixes or dissolves into the oil which increases the mobility of the oil to allow it to flow more easily to a production well.
When is the best time to conduct EOR?
Traditionally EOR operations have been applied only in the late stages of field operations because other recovery processes were easier and lower cost to implement. Many large legacy fields were also developed at a time when lower oil prices and the lack of commercially viable injectants made EOR seem like a distant possibility and so it was not included into the original field development planning. But at today’s oil prices, EOR is now seen as something to be evaluated for all oilfields.
If EOR can be incorporated into the development planning even for ‘green-fields’, it can allow for more optimal placement of wells and construction with appropriate materials to allow for higher recovery and a lower operating cost for the field over its production life. Early implementation of EOR also enables an oil field to stay at a high production plateau for longer vs. waiting for a long tail of relatively high unit cost production with aging facilities subject to HSE concerns.
How does Maersk TriGen enable CO2 EOR?
Today, at oil prices over USD 50/bbl, market prices for CO2 are able to reach a match with what oil producers are willing to pay – but this market ‘balance’ has previously only been achieved where there was a source of low cost naturally occurring CO2 relatively close to the target oil fields. Now Maersk TriGen is able to bring down the cost of industrial sourced CO2 (anthropogenic CO2) so that it is comparable to the cost from natural sources. Maersk TriGen does this by providing significant quantities of clean power and water for sale such that its produced CO2 does not require a high price to achieve a commercial project.
Maersk TriGen can be installed anywhere in the world essentially bringing low cost CO2 (and a source of clean energy) to an oil field that can benefit from CO2 injection. Maersk TriGen further enables CO2 EOR and prolongs the operating life of a field undergoing CO2 injection, as it can readily process the associated gas returning from the field that becomes contaminated with CO2 (Maersk TriGen can still operate on gas with up to 70% CO2 content).
Why is Maersk TriGen a clean technology?
Maersk TriGen generates zero carbon power at a lower cost than renewable energy sources. Capturing CO2 from conventional gas fired power plants as an ‘after-thought’ is very capital intensive as the CO2 in the smokestack is mixed with nitrogen, nitrous oxides and other harmful emissions. In Oxycombustion, CO2 capture is a much simpler process: Maersk TriGen produces just steam and pure CO2 which is immediately ready for transport and injection into an oilfield making the power generation emission free.
Maersk’s TriGen teams sit in a network of global offices.
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
Suite 15.4, 15th Floor, West Wing
Rohas Perkasa, No. 9 Jalan Perak
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Maersk Oil Middle East A/S
Level 4, Building B
Al Mamoura, 15th St.
P.O. Box 46400,
Abu Dhabi, UAE
tel: +971 2 659 firstname.lastname@example.org
Maersk Oil America Inc.
2500 City West Boulevard,
Suite 100, Houston, TX 77042
United States of America
tel: +1 713 346 email@example.com
Clean Energy Systems
CES has pioneered commercial oxyfuel combustion and their Kimberlina Power Plant in California is the world’s largest oxy-fuel combustion facility. CES has developed a game-changing technology that is revolutionising the power industry by simplifying power plant design and generating zero-emissions energy.