GE Oil & Gas meets the challenges of the oil industry

3 min read
GE Oil & Gas
GE Oil & Gas
Saligram Girish, GM, Downstream
Technology Solutions, GE Oil & Gas

The critical factors of efficiency, environment and cost are becoming ever greater drivers in the oil and gas industry.

They are a major challenge for GE Oil & Gas but ones which are being redressed as part of a robust and well planned response by the business.

“Oil prices have fallen in recent months and there is far more focus on efficiency and cost optimization – they are becoming more important to our customers. At the same time regulatory impacts across the world are becoming more rigorous,” explained Girish Saligram, general manager, Downstream Technology Solutions.

“For us it is really important to drive technology and central to that is our downstream technology business which was announced at the beginning of last year. This was created with the emphasis on a lot of different applications.

“What we have been doing is driving technology into products to meet requirements and backing it with aftermarket service. We have products that fit with that philosophy.”

Final assembly of a multistage pump.

A good example is the enhanced DDHF multistage centrifugal pump with double casing and barrel-type, back-to-back arrangement. It is based on GE’s proven hydraulic design, but specially re-engineered for CO2 pumping and enhanced oil recovery (EOR). It delivers 540 bar discharge pressure which GE says is the highest ever provided by a centrifugal pump.

Another is the DDHM high-pressure diffuser barrel multistage pumps. These units are designed for ultrareliability in the most demanding onshore and offshore water-injection applications.

They are also well suited for boiler feedwater, pipeline, amine, energy recovery and CO2 injection in direct connection with a gas turbine running at 10,000 rpm for water injection delivering service in EOR applications.

In both cases the products have been continuously developed by GE making full use of its wealth of experience built up over many years in the field. That translates into cost-effective solutions for the customer.

Drawing on its aviation experience, GE has also recently launched a high pressure ratio compressor (HPRC) which it says delivers minimized footprint, lower power consumption, increased reliability and reduced operating costs.

“The high pressure ratio compressor will have a major impact on our customers. It will help our customers across a number of important metrics: delivering a train footprint which is up to 50% smaller, 30% lighter and with 5% less installed power compared to traditional compression trains,” said Luca Maria Rossi, general manager, product management, turbomachinery solutions at GE Oil & Gas.

GE’s Downstream Technology Services business is aimed at more effectively serving the $10 bn refining, petrochemical, industrial and distributed gas segments. There is a key focus on process applications for ethylene, low-density polyethylene, ammonia and urea as well as refinery processing.

The LDPE reciprocating compressor.

The broader range of applications means there is less impact on the firm when one area suffers a downturn as happened recently with the dramatic fall in oil prices. In the last quarter of 2014, sales at GE's Oil and Gas unit fell six per cent while orders dropped 10% as customers pulled back.

“Cost is an important issue for them and we have to make sure we provide innovative solutions, reduce the cost of ownership and add value,” said Mr Saligram.

“For example, we have completed a project in India where we delivered three pumps designed for enhanced oil extraction using water injection. They wanted to get on line as quickly as possible and we reduced the lead time. In eight months the project was live. This is an example of collaboration with customers and having a very close partnership with them.”

Amidst the challenging environment in the oil and gas sector, GE is doing more to realize the value of the expertise in its ranks. It has just been awarded a long-term service contract with the Qatar Fertilizer Company QSCC (QAFCO) to help optimize the performance of the company’s plant in Mesaieed, Qatar. QAFCO is one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers.

It covers the standard maintenance and repairs of existing GE on-site power and compression equipment as well as training for QAFCO workers and site operators.

“A key priority for us is to optimize the long-term availability and efficiency of our Mesaieed plant’s existing fertilizer production facilities,” said chief executive officer Khalifa A Al Sowaidi.

“Not only is GE Oil & Gas the original equipment manufacturer for the gas and steam turbines, centrifugal compressors and associated equipment but it also has the proven local customer services capabilities we need to help us meet production targets.”

“This is about making sure we can go to customer sites, help maintain the equipment, supply spares and minimize downtime,” added Mr Saligram. “The combination of local requirements and services is something we addressing.”

The DTS business has also been awarded a contract from Sasol North America for the provision of the main compression trains required for its new Low Density Polyethylene Plant (LDPE) being developed in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

“This substantive agreement exemplifies how the DTS business is growing by meeting customer needs,” said Hasan Dandashly, vice president of DTS, GE Oil & Gas.

“Our business was established to provide the insight and reliability the downstream segments require. Sasol’s decision illustrates the trust and confidence customers are placing in GE’s experts and capability.”