Why Variable Frequency Drives are Critical in the Oil and Gas Industry

Here’s how VFDs have been providing the oil and gas sector with game-changing motor efficiency, system protection and significant cost savings.
19 January, 2023 by
Why Variable Frequency Drives are Critical in the Oil and Gas Industry
T&T Power Group.

Oil and gas applications rely strongly on motor-driven pumps and pumping systems - and for a continuous, reliable motor performance, VFDs and motor control technologies are the key.

VFDs are efficient at managing energy usage due to their ability to regulate motor speed. Centrifugal loads, like pumps and fans for example, have a potential for generous energy savings in cases where the application requires under 100 percent pressure or flow.

And while not very many oil and gas applications actually require 100 percent flow continuously, a good portion of the motors used in such pumping systems are started up at full speed and continue to run needlessly at a full fixed speed during use. In these cases, users can integrate and employ VFDs in both low- and medium-voltage arrangements and realize a slew of benefits.

Using VFDs for flow control through the modulation of motor speed offers the potential for great energy savings.

For example, a 20% reduction in speed can help save energy use by as much as 50% - meaning that a variable frequency drive will often very quickly pay for itself and what you invested. In fact, the greater the degree of motor operating time and larger the variation in load duty cycles, the greater the overall energy cost savings will be.

Furthermore, when you consider that many large energy users are charged even higher peak-demand electricity prices under certain circumstances, VDS are excellent for lowering these power peaks through the gradual ramping up to required motor speed - with no unnecessary running at full speed - again resulting in generous cost savings and a more efficient operation.

Many customers of the oil and gas industry also employ VFDs for the purpose of tighter process control resulting in less power used, a reduction in overall waste and increased plant efficiency.

VFDs help to ensure reliability of equipment with no costly downtime

In oil and gas applications, every single minute of operations counts - and processes need to be running continuously. Fortunately, simple and user-friendly VFDs such as our Danfoss AC Drives can be packaged in rugged panels specifically designed to control artificial lifts and other typical oil and gas applications. These highly reliable units will provide the precise control, constant monitoring and maintenance access to system components that is required.

With the right VFD, your oil & gas assets stay protected

With their ability to keep track of motor current and speed, VFDs can perform protective and preventive actions based on this information - and with access to such detailed data over longer time periods, predictive trending can be better used to prepare for potential problems or disastrous failures.

In some cases, under more extreme conditions, the VFD will serve to protect the motor provided it has a built-in electronic motor thermal overload (which most do have). This feature can help to lower the output current or turn off the motor to protect it from any thermal damage or destruction.

And lastly, but certainly not least, VFDs play a fundamental role in ensuring the health and performance of your automated system - as converting processes from fixed to variable speeds can reduce wear and tear, as well as reduce maintenance requirements. As a result, a VFD can boost motor efficiency while extending the life of many rotating parts in a standard motor-pump combination.

As with any industry, oil and gas applications rely on an efficient performance approach

And VFDs are a critical component to these applications - playing a fundamental role in lowering production risk through asset protection, improving motor performance and operational efficiency, and perhaps the most attractive benefit of all: providing significant cost and energy savings.

Ready to purchase the right VFD to optimize your oil and gas application operations? Our team of experts is here to help. Contact T&T Power Group today to get started.

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