Air emissions management
Download August 16, 2011

Air emissions compliance and optimization opportunities at Encana

Government agencies throughout the world are revising their emission reporting requirements with more stringent controls. Operating companies in the oil & gas sector face the challenge of implementing flexible systems to match these requirements.

For the specific case of benzene emissions reporting from glycol dehydration plants, Encana partnered with Process Ecology to implement an internet-based system that relies on process simulation models to calculate emissions, while also offering users guidance on ways to optimize operations. The Process Ecology "Benzene Advisor" system ( is used to manage benzene emissions at approximately 100 operating dehydration units owned by Encana in Western Canada. The results not only allow operators to report emission levels, but also identify areas to improve energy efficiency and other opportunities.

Operators provide facility data using the distributed, internet-based system which is then fed to process simulation models that track the fate of the various compounds throughout the facility and reports on emissions at the various process vents. Running these simulations allows the system to identify areas that can be optimized by identifying areas where, in this case, too much glycol is being used. This allows Process Ecology to identify ways to reduce their glycol circulation by a certain percentage along with the corresponding benzene emission reductions.

Process Ecology and Encana noted that an average of more than $680,000 per year in potential savings were identified along with a reduction of 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. These reductions only consider the fuel gas usage in the reboiler and would be higher if stripping gas and vented emissions were considered. Currently Process Ecology and Encana continue collaborating to capture these opportunities at the most promising locations.

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By Alberto Alva Argaez, Ph.D, MBA

Alberto brings over 25 years of experience in chemical engineering research and process optimization for sustainability. As Senior Project Manager and Managing Partner, Alberto has worked across multiple industries to assist operating companies become more efficient in their use of energy and water. Alberto started his career as production engineer with Bayer and then spent ten years in Academia as research scientist and lecturer. In 1999 he joined Hyprotech/Aspentech in Calgary as product manager for conceptual design software tools and thermodynamics. Alberto later worked for seven years with Natural Resources Canada performing R&D and supporting energy-intensive industrial sectors through process integration and optimization projects. With Process Ecology Alberto has specialized in modeling and optimization for emissions reduction in the oil & gas sector. Alberto is a Biochemical Engineer and holds an MBA from ITESM and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UMIST, UK.



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