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Custom Engineered Vapor Recovery Systems

Every well site and production facility have unique operating conditions and variables that impact optimizing efficiency, productivity, reliability and emissions profile. In most situations, an off-the-shelf Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) will help you achieve your emissions goals, but there are times when only a custom engineered solution will meet your needs. That is where our Custom Engineering solutions can help.

Factors Driving VRU Capacity Needs

In many oil and gas producing regions, VRUs are standard equipment for new well sites and other stationary emissions sources (i.e., production facilities). In the case of a single-well site or a production pad with a handful of wells, an off-the-shelf solution will likely handle the flash gas and tank vapor volumes adequately. However, in situations where a production pad may have upwards of 30, 40 or even 60 wells, a custom VRU may be the best option.


In general, more producing wells translates into more flash gas and vapors, requiring a larger VRU (or more than one). Determining the optimal number of oil wells on a production pad requires careful evaluation of geological, engineering, regulatory, economic, environmental, and technological factors to maximize oil recovery while ensuring sustainable development and minimizing risks.


Some factors include:

  1. Geology. The geological characteristics of the oil and gas reservoir, such as its size, depth, porosity, permeability, and pressure, play a significant role in determining well placement. Wells need to be strategically located to access the maximum amount of recoverable oil.  

  2. Reservoir engineering analysis. Reservoir engineers conduct detailed analysis to determine the optimal well spacing and placement to maximize oil recovery while minimizing interference between wells. This analysis considers factors such as reservoir heterogeneity, fluid flow dynamics, and well interference.  

  3. Well spacing regulations. Regulatory bodies often mandate spacing of oil wells to prevent over-exploitation of resources, minimize environmental impacts, and ensure efficient recovery. These regulations may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of reservoir.  

  4. Surface constraints. Physical limitations of the production pad, such as size, shape, and topography, can influence the number and arrangement of wells that can be accommodated. Other surface constraints may include infrastructure requirements, access roads, and environmental considerations. In the hilly Appalachian Basin, this is a significant factor driving multi-well pad designs.  

  5. Infrastructure availability. Adequate infrastructure is essential for transporting and processing the produced oil efficiently The availability of infrastructure such as pipelines, storage facilities, and processing units can impact the number of wells that can be placed on a production pad.  

  6. Economic factors. Economic considerations, including the cost of drilling and operating wells, expected oil prices, and projected returns on investment, play a crucial role in determining the number of wells to be installed on a production pad. Operators aim to maximize profitability while minimizing costs.  

  7. Environmental considerations. Environmental factors such as habitat protection, water resources, air quality, and potential impacts on local communities may influence the number and location of wells on a production pad. Operators must comply with environmental regulations and minimize their ecological footprint. 

When Off-The-Shelf VRUs Just Won’t Do

In addition to all the factors influencing the number of wells on a production pad, the timing of drilling and bringing wells online is a critical factor. The more wells there are, the greater the volume of vent gas and tank vapors that need to be handled.

In the early stages of development, an off-the-shelf VRU may work just fine, but once tens of wells are added to the facility, a custom VRU designed to the specific volumes expected to be generated from the pad may provide for more efficient operations.

Custom VRU Engineering Services from Platinum

When you need a custom engineered VRU, Platinum has a premier engineering team experienced at designing, developing and operating solutions for vapor and natural gas recovery as well as emissions control. With a wealth of expertise, we excel in conceptualizing, refining and implementing top-tier VRUs that set industry benchmarks for efficiency and performance.

Benefits of Custom Engineered VRUs

Building a custom engineered Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) instead of buying one off the shelf offers several potential benefits:

1.       Tailored Design: A custom-engineered VRU can be designed specifically to meet the unique requirements and specifications of your particular facility. This means it can be optimized for efficiency, performance, and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

2.       Optimized Performance: By designing the VRU from scratch, engineers can optimize its performance for specific gas composition and operating conditions encountered in the field. This can lead to improved vapor recovery efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and lower operating costs over the unit's lifespan.

3.       Cost Efficiency: While the upfront cost of building a custom VRU may be higher than purchasing a standard off-the-shelf unit, the long-term cost savings from improved efficiency, reduced maintenance, and optimized performance can often justify the investment.

4.       Integration with Existing Systems: Custom-engineered VRUs can be designed to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment and processes within a facility. This can minimize downtime during installation and ensure smooth operation without the need for extensive modifications or retrofitting.

5.       Flexibility and Scalability: A custom-designed VRU can be built with flexibility and scalability in mind, allowing for easier adaptation to future changes in operating conditions or expansion of the facility. This can provide long-term cost savings and operational flexibility.

6.       Innovative Solutions: Custom engineering allows for the incorporation of innovative technologies and design features that may not be available in off-the-shelf units. This can lead to improved reliability, safety, and environmental performance.

7.       Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Custom-engineered VRUs can be designed to meet specific regulatory requirements and environmental standards, especially related to emissions and avoiding expensive and time-consuming Title V operating permits. This can help ensure compliance, improve a facility’s capacity to scale efficiently, and minimize the risk of fines or penalties associated with non-compliance.

Platinum boasts a premier engineering team experienced at designing, developing and operating solutions for vapor and natural gas recovery as well as emissions control.

Thinking about custom engineered VRUs? Contact us today to learn more about our Custom Engineering services and how we can help you create a vapor recovery solution specifically for your needs.


Chance Lauer

VP Sales & Service 

Platinum Control

Phone: 800-994-0579

About Platinum Control

Our core competency in Facilities Optimization sets us apart. We work with operators in the Permian Basin of all sizes, from companies having only a handful of wells to supermajors. As a result, we leverage the experience gained with larger operators, build best practices into our products and services, and then disseminate that knowledge to our smaller customers.

A well site or facility with an optimized configuration will help you harness its full potential, maximizing its long-term economic value and environmental performance.


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