Venting About Gas Driven Pneumatics

Fuel gas driven pneumatic systems use mechanical energy stored in high pressure gas from a well or fuel gas source to push valves open and closed to control well flow. These systems are low cost and prolific but come with one significant downside – the environmental impact. Once ‘spent’, the gas, composed primarily of methane, is vented to the atmosphere.

Methane has a greenhouse gas intensity 25 times greater than CO2 and the practice of venting gas through pneumatic devices including pumps makes up about 35% of the oil and gas industry’s total methane venting in Canada – some 18,000,000 tonnes of CO2e annually.

The major environmental impact and relatively simple solution to eliminating fuel gas pneumatics – using instrument air instead – mean that fixing this problem represents low hanging fruit for the industry to improve performance. Relentless focus by Oil and Gas companies to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, coupled with new regulations in Alberta and British Columbia, are driving changes to wellsite design.

It is possible to eliminate methane venting from pneumatics all together by installing an air compressor on the wellsite to replace the high pressure gas in the pneumatic system with high pressure air (called instrument air). In Alberta, carbon credits can be generated by converting gas driven pneumatic systems to instrument air. On many wellsites the carbon credits earned would pay for the upfront capital cost of instrument air in less than two years. In British Columbia carbon tax payments can be significantly decreased by converting to instrument air.

Westgen Technologies is a remote power generation company and recently launched the EPOD, the lowest cost power and instrument air solution for remote wellsites. For more information about the EPOD or converting your wellsites to instrument air, please contact

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