Dresser-Rand targets small-scale LNG technology

Dresser-Rand Co. has obtained an exclusive global license from Expansion Energy to use Expansion’s proprietary technology for the small-scale production of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The license allows for production capacities of up to 100,000 gpd. 

"The agreement with Expansion Energy is consistent with our strategy to provide high-speed rotating equipment solutions to the energy infrastructure markets,” said Jesus Pacheco, a Dresser-Rand executive vice president. “The agreement is important because it gives us exclusive rights to serve a new and large market opportunity with our legacy products as well as our recently acquired engine line."

Dresser-Rand believes Expansion’s patented process is the first technology to provide a cost-effective, small-scale LNG production method with capacities as low as 1,500 gpd—far smaller than any other LNG production system commercially available today. The mobile, skid-mounted equipment configuration for this process technology opens up a wide variety of applications in markets that are underserved or not served at all.  

Upstream applications include the monetization of flared gas or associated gas to increase revenues for oil companies and reduce their environmental impact; the production of stranded gas fields that are not close to existing pipeline infrastructure; and onsite fuel supply for drilling rigs converted to run on LNG. 

Downstream applications include the production of vehicle-grade LNG, allowing LNG to compete effectively with diesel fuel on a cost-per-energy-content basis. The use of LNG fuel is increasing rapidly for long-haul trucks; delivery fleets; buses; ships, barges and ferries; railroad locomotives; and construction and mining equipment.

The patented process enables the distributed production of LNG with small-scale plants, as the technology can utilize natural gas from virtually any high- or low-pressure pipeline or distribution line, or from stranded wells. As such, the process eliminates the need for the costly trucking of LNG across long distances from large, centralized plants to LNG fueling depots, as is the practice today.

Instead, Expansion’s technology produces LNG right at the fueling station or at the wellhead. It can also be used to upgrade existing CNG stations to produce LNG and/or a colder, denser CNG product with a higher Btu density vs. standard CNG.

Under the agreement, Dresser-Rand will design, package and sell equipment embodying Expansion’s production technology, including Dresser-Rand reciprocating compressors and Guascor engine-generator sets, and associated control systems. According to Dresser-Rand, the technology is scalable to the tens of thousands of gpd, producing either LNG or cold compressed natural gas, and it will be designed in numerous skid-mounted, mobile trailer-mounted and/or stationary modular configurations to suit its clients' requirements.

Driven by rapidly expanding global shale gas development, Dresser-Rand predicts that the market for small-scale LNG production plants is in the thousands of units and growing. The US is the fastest-growing market, and the substantial price disparity between diesel fuel and low-priced natural gas has spurred oil field service operators, oil and gas companies, shipping and delivery companies, and downstream fuel distributors and marketers across the country to convert drilling rigs, transportation fleets and retail fueling stations along the US’ interstate highway system to LNG fuel.  

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