Natural Gas Power Facts

man working on site with generator

Low natural gas prices have created an abundant opportunity for generating low cost power on site at oilfield and industrial facilities. Given the few complexities of operating gas-fired generation equipment, educating our customers is something we constantly strive for at Baseline.

In order to accomplish this, we have a created a set of several basic and easy-to-understand facts that we believe are helpful for our customers evaluating the use of natural gas to make electricity:

Natural gas fuel content:

The components of natural gas fuel are key to understanding prior to using a natural gas generator at your location, which is why our technical team always like, to see a fuel analysis up front. The ideal fuel is 950 BTU “dry” methane; however, this is not always realistic in many oilfield settings. Baseline’s rich burn power equipment is capable of burning “hot” or “rich” gas that we experience frequently, in some cases up to 2000+ BTU. Burning higher BTU fuel requires specialized ignition control systems on our units that allow for the detection of knock/detonation on the fly, especially during BTU swings in the gas (common during temperature changes).

Doing the proper gas quality evaluation up front will save time, effort and potentially downtime later once the system is installed.

Sizing the generator properly can save you money:

135 kW with H2S PackageWorking day in and day out on power generation applications has led Baseline’s team to see that many power projects are “oversized”, i.e. more installed power capacity than the customer may really need, which ultimately results in higher costs to the customer. Baseline has the tools, software and experience to properly size your generator application. We frequently educate our customers that the use of variable frequency drives can drastically reduce the amount of “inrush” current needed to start many electric motors. “Inrush” current is current needed for a very short period of time, usually two to 20 seconds, to get an electric motor sped up to its rated speed. Once the rated speed of the motor is achieved, the current demand falls off dramatically, usually only 20 or 30 percent of inrush current. Variable frequency drives can eliminate this inrush current almost entirely and result in a generator that is properly sized to run the electric motor. Here is the big benefit of this: A properly loaded generator will perform well by delivering exceptional run time (99% +) and ultimately results in a much lower cost per net kilowatt hour to the customer.