Ray Miller interviews on KGET

Energy Link - the Muscle for your Success

That includes the transition to Hydrogen Production in Kern County's Mature Oil Fields.

[4-minute read]

05/19/2022 The following was the prepared script for a live interview with Ray Miller, President, Energy Link Industrial Services as part of the KGET Energy Week.

Question: What does it mean when you say Energy Link provides Muscle to the Kern County oilfields?

Answer: Energy Link is a company primarily made up of Mechanics, Welders, and Crafts People. These are the folks that literally put their muscles into action every day to keep the Kern County oilfields in operation. Providing energy to Californians up and down the state takes a lot of people with a lot of commitment.

Question: Does the oil and gas industry in Kern County have a bright future?

Answer: Certainly. Even though a lot of us who work in the oilfields feel like we are being attacked just because we work in the oilfields, we know we can all hold our heads high and be proud of our hard work. Even as society embraces Energy Transition, the oil and gas produced in Kern County will be in demand for a long time to come. As a matter of fact, the local oilfields may very well become CLEAN hydrogen fields. Our oilfields contain a lot of Hydrogen and Hydrogen is quickly emerging as the Green and Clean energy of the future. The technology exists today that will allow us to effectively release Hydrogen from the existing Kern County oilfields and capture it for making clean energy.

Question: Can you tell us a little more about that technology.

Answer: The technology isn't new but the way we apply and combine existing, well-proven technologies and techniques is new. Using oxygen and membranes we can release CLEAN Hydrogen from existing depleted oil and gas reserves at a cost of about 20% of the current Hydrogen cracking methods such as Steam Methane Reforming, SMR, and Electrolysis. Think about that for a minute. A depleted well or a depleted field still contains copious amounts of oil and gas that are considered nonrecoverable.

With this technology, we convert a balance sheet liability to a balance sheet asset. The process requires liquid oxygen which is injected into the existing wellbore. Liquid oxygen is very cold and very dense. When I say cold I mean like -287F. As the liquid oxygen warms up it expands and begins to increase the pressure in the depleted reserve. This interaction of the LOX with the existing hydrocarbons releases the hydrogen from the oil and gas.

The pressure created by the expanding LOX creates a mode of transportation. The magic is in the membrane that only allows the very small Hydrogen molecules to pass through. The Hydrogen passes through the membrane and is captured at the surface and ready to go to market. The wonderful thing about this process is the carbons were never removed from the ground, only the CLEAN Hydrogen is released.

Question: This sounds like a great and very well-rounded solution to engaging our local oilfields to embrace and participate in the challenges of Energy Transition.

Answer: This truly is a very elegant solution because it has even more benefits. The air we breathe is made up of approximately 80% Nitrogen and 20% Oxygen. To get the oxygen we need for injection we push air through a membrane. On one side of the membrane, we have Oxygen and on the other side, we have Nitrogen. As such we have Nitrogen as a by-product of producing the Oxygen we need to release the Hydrogen from the depleted oil reserve. Nitrogen by itself is a valuable product but when you blend Nitrogen and Hydrogen you get Ammonia. Kern County has a robust agriculture industry and is a big consumer of ammonia to make fertilizer. Ammonia is getting a lot of attention these days too.

Question: What about jobs for the people who currently work in the oil and gas industry?

Answer: Kern County is a hard-working community that is rightfully proud of providing the energy that runs this great state of California. The beauty of converting existing oilfields to Hydrogen fields is we will be able to repurpose the existing infrastructure without creating new environmental disturbances. The oilfields that become Hydrogen fields will still need wellbores, piping, meters, compressors, pumps, pressure vessels, tanks, and other oilfield-type equipment.

The Hydrogen fields will need Engineers, Mechanics, Welders, Crafts People, Operators, Managers, and others that understand the equipment. The people of Kern County have been providing Energy for over 100 years and Kern County will still be the major source of Energy for California 100 years from now. Energy Link is proud to be the Muscle for Kern County's success and we plan on filling that role for many generations to come.

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