Coping with the Decline Curve: When and How to Downsize Your VRU

As production naturally declines from an oil and gas well, the amount of tank vapor reduces commensurately and has important implications for right sizing a Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU).


Right-Sizing Benefits

Whether your well is a new drill or further down the decline curve, it has a full potential to live up to. When operating at “full potential” a well site or facility is operating cost-efficiently, free of operational constraints and in compliance with applicable regulations, which is the objective of facilities optimization.


Right sizing a VRU to an individual well site or facility is a critical factor in realizing its full potential, and achieving these benefits:

  • Regulatory compliance

  • Minimizing VRU lease cost

  • Minimize fuel and power expense

  • Minimize maintenance and repair costs

  • Maximize reliability

  • Ensure system integrity and environmental performance

Factoring in the Decline Curve

Over time oil and gas wells experience natural production declines. As wells age, production drops and so does the volume of tank vapor a well site or production facility generates. A carefully designed production system intended to handle high production volumes early in a well’s life eventually becomes “over engineered” when production and tank vapor volumes naturally decline.


What was originally right sized is no longer right! In this scenario, a well site or facility is no longer operating at peak efficiency, often resulting in high costs that can threaten the economic life of the asset.


Restoring Operational Efficiency

Instead of plugging and abandoning the well, one strategy for aligning costs and facility throughput is to change the equipment. Swapping out a larger VRU for a smaller unit can help restore operational efficiencies and reduce lease operating expense in line with lower production volumes in the later years of a well’s life.


Of course, any change in one part of a production system has effects on other components. Before changing a VRU, we recommend conducting a Performance Audit, which is a good first step towards diagnosing inefficiencies and impediments to achieving full potential. A comprehensive Performance Audit will also provide you with a realistic and actionable roadmap for achieving full potential of your well site or facility at current and future production levels.


Flexibility for Making Right Sizing Simple

Once the technical review has been completed and the right size VRU has been identified, one potential headache is making the swap happen easily and efficiently. Most operators lease their VRUs, and lease agreements typically have burdensome paperwork requirements that must be met to avoid financial penalties that might otherwise offset the benefits of swapping out units!

Field personnel are already busy and adding yet another administrative task to their day slows them down, and in some cases, might even delay the move to a more efficient VRU.


The simple solution for managing and maintaining well site and facility efficiency is to build in flexibility from the start. Our Flexible Fleet™ solution is a blanket lease agreement that allows you to move any Platinum VRU in your fleet to where it is most needed. No transfer forms are required to move larger units to new drills and backfill them with smaller units from other sites.

Flexible Fleet™ gives you the ability to manage your operations efficiently and easily, and is just another way Platinum fulfills our promise to help you Harness the Full Potential of Your Well Site.


Contact us today at sales@platinumcontrol.com to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you harness the full potential of your well site.

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