Improving safety, cost and environmental impacts with one innovation

Award-winning hydrogen sulphide removal technology is a three-way winner

Any time you can address safety, costs and environmental impacts with one innovative solution, you’ve got a winner.

Safely removing hydrogen sulphide (H2S) from oil, natural gas, condensate and water requires trained experts and specialized processes. AMGAS Services Inc. has developed a specialized technology, AMGAS CLEAR, which safely and efficiently removes H2S using substantially fewer chemicals than traditional methods. The process is so unique and innovative it earned an Energy Excellence Award from June Warren Nichols (JWN, publishers of the Daily Oil Bulletin), at an awards ceremony in May 2019.

The AMGAS Services team in Calgary. Photo by Jason Dziver.

Matching the solution to the risk

Removing H2S typically involves treatment with chemicals, often amine or tryziene. Because sour gas and liquid streams can have highly variable concentrations of H2S, it’s been standard practice to “over treat” by injecting high volumes of chemicals directly into the gas or liquid stream. This ensures all the toxic H2S is removed but the method is inefficient, costly, and results in waste byproducts that must be trucked off site for safe disposal.

In contrast, the AMGAS CLEAR process liberates H2S from the liquid stream where it can be efficiently neutralized by titrating the treatment chemicals to the exact volume of H2S present. This improves operational efficiency while minimizing cost. Other benefits include the elimination of plugging in pipelines, tanks and vessels – which can occur with traditional processes – and mitigation of chemical waste byproducts.

“Although CLEAR has been commercially available in Canada for quite some time, we have been working closely with the Alberta Energy Regulator to address challenges and gain additional verification and vetting through controlled field trials,” says vice-president Steve Martinson. “The success of our field trials has proven to be extremely valuable as we strive to bring the benefits to a wider array of partners.”

The technology has broad application. For example:

Refiners and pipeline companies don’t always want sour oil, nor do they want additional chemistries associated with treating H2S in the fluid, as it shifts the removal of H2S from the producer to the refiner, with associated risks and costs. AMGAS CLEAR allows producers to remove H2S from sour oil at the production site.

Removing H2S from water needed for hydraulic fracturing operations reduces the potential to introduce H2S into previously non-sour zones or reservoirs.

With increases in unconventional shale gas and oil sands production, access to and use of fresh water is an issue. AMGAS CLEAR’s sweetening process can be used on sour water in well servicing and production applications.

Coil tubing drilling operations have a large water requirement. Being able to efficiently neutralize H2S in sour produced water means this water can be recycled instead of trucked away for safe disposal. In addition, Martinson says eliminating the need to source water for operations by removing H2S and recycling produced water been shown to save up to $12,000 to $15,000 per day for completion operations.

January McKee, president, AMGAS Services. Photo by Jason Dziver

“The resulting chemical footprint is far smaller, requiring less disposal and facilitating water recycling once H2S is removed,” says AMGAS president January McKee. “This treatment is about twice as efficient as traditional H2S treatment technologies.” McKee estimates that since 2015 at all sites where this technology has been deployed, CLEAR has saved about one billion litres of water from being removed permanently from the water cycle.

Congratulations to AMGAS Services Inc., not only for receiving an Energy Excellence Award but also for innovating and facilitating a triple-win technology.

In this article, Context speaks with:
  • January McKee President, AMGAS
  • SM
    Steve Martinson Vice-president, AMGAS