The concept of (Urban Drilling) Electric Compressor Stations was conceived through the illegal marriage of drilling and cohabitating in densly populated neighborhoods. These electric compressor are found on both the pad sites where production has petered, and some are housed in Arlington (I’m told there are 7) in undisclosed, benign, Walmart looking structures. The reasoning behind using electric powered compressors is that they SHOULD BE void of combustion pollution (until they need maintenance or have upsets).
The interdependency problem with electric compressor stations is that they depend on ONcor electricity for power to keep the gas going through the pipelines.
Likewise, ONcor depends on natural gas to power these huge, gas-fired turbines so the power plants can make electricity and contribute to the grid.
The “upstream” supplier of the Natural Gas in Arlington is predominantly Chesapeake.
DFW Midstream is a known name in our area for our “midstream” activites of transporting (pipelines), compression, and storage phases.
Drilling companies and midstream suppliers ensure that……
- the production at the drill sites flow to
- the (unregulated) gathering lines to the bumper stations, to
- the URBAN, electric, compressor stations to
- the gas plants for purification & odorization, to the
- (regulated) transmissions lines to the end-user/gas fired power plants.
Any one of these networks can break down for maintenance, accidents, *weather, terrorism, or other disruptions. This can (and has already has) affected the end-user utility companies “upstream” availability of natural gas. Couple this interdependency flaw with population growth & untempered demand, and you have a Texas sized risk recipe for rolling black outs from the grid.
Texas and New England are about 40% dependant on natural gas at their power plants, so they have EVEN MORE interdependency risk than other states.
Natural Gas and Electricity generated from gas-fired power plants aren’t good kissing cousins.
The sun doesn’t always shine,
and the wind doesn’t always blow,
but when it comes to natural gas-
the pipelines don’t always flow.
Texas and New Mexico http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/08-16-11-report.pdf power outages February of 2011 during the extended freeze was a lesson learned about how not so great/reliable natural gas is.
When the price of natural goes back up …I read that some power plants will just switch back to burning coal-whatever is cheaper (this won’t help Chesapeake).
But wait it gets worse…ERCOT says demand cannot keep up with supply and that
“one of its statewide priorities will be to address growing power demands tied to booming oil and gas production in the Permian Basin of West Texas and Eagle Ford Shale in the south. The expected completion this year of increased transmission capacity to Dallas-Fort Worth from West Texas, where wind generation has mushroomed in recent years, should help ease some congestion.”