Vapor Recovery in Oil and Gas

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Vapor recovery is the process of collecting the vapors entrained in crude oil, well production wastewater, or other fuels stored in tanks so they do not escape into the atmosphere. A vapor recovery unit (VRU) is often used to compress and recover the vapors for return to the process or collection for sale. Vapor recovery can help oil and gas production companies earn additional revenue through the sale of the recovered vapors and simultaneously meet EPA clean air act requirements.
Currently between 7,000 and 9,000 VRU’s are installed in the oil and gas sector with an average of four tanks per recovery unit (EPA, October 2006). The number of VRUs is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade to meet EPA requirements as well as provide companies with an extra source of revenue.
The EPA is now enforcing clean air act requirements more strictly especially in highly populated areas. In fact, they are using helicopters equipped with infrared cameras to detect vapor release violations.

IS-20-VR pressure transmitter: Right for all conditions
VRUs present many challenges for oil and gas professionals since they require the accurate monitoring of extremely low pressures (usually measured in ounces per square inch) to operate at their highest efficiency.  Additionally, storage tanks typically cannot handle pressures above a few pounds per square inch (PSI) and may rupture or split if internal pressures get too high. This can result in loss of the storage tank, danger to human health and safety as well as costly fines for violating environmental regulations.

Two of the most important attributes for any transmitter used for vapor recovery system control are repeatability and stability. WIKA’s IS-20- VR transmitters are exceptionally stable compared to other low range pressure transmitters. They have helped customers accurately monitor very small pressure changes, even when temperatures change or when wind is a factor. The IS-20-VR features ranges down to 0-12 oz/in2,  < 0.25% accuracy and all stainless steel wetted parts that are NACE listed for resistance to sulfide stress cracking in sour gas applications.

For additional information, contact Paul Mendoza, Product Manager, 770-513-8200 x 5170.

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