June 2016, Vol. 243, No. 6


Gas Turbine for Oil Field and Mobile Power Gen Applications

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal

Vericor Power Systems of Alpharetta, GA has developed a new version of the TF Series gas turbine, specifically aimed at the oil and gas market for pump, compression and portable power generation applications. The announcement was made at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Rated at over 5,000 hp, the TF50F gas turbine is changing the process of hydraulic fracturing, making it cleaner and more cost effective. The TF50F combines features from both of Vericor’s marine and industrial gas turbine product lines, making a gas turbine that is ideally suited for oil field applications, in particular, pump drive and electric power generation. Twenty years of service in one of the most demanding operating environments for a gas turbine, the U.S. Navy, landing craft air cushion or LCAC, has given the TF series engines a reputation for toughness and reliability.

Vericor considers these basic attributes a solid foundation for demanding oil field jobs. The compact size of the TF engine, which traces its roots to helicopter propulsion, makes the engine perfect for mobile power whether it is for driving a hydraulic fracturing pump or creating electric power.

To adapt the TF to the rugged oil field application Vericor revised some of the engine auxiliaries and their mounting locations, improving the engine’s adaptability to a trailer mounted power plant. The most significant addition is the ability of the engine to operate on both gas and liquid fuel, and to be able to changeover from one fuel to the other while operating. This flexibility is a significant benefit to oil service operators.

“This is engine will be a game changer in the oil field application,” said Richard Clinton, Vericor president and CEO. “Packagers will find that the compact size of this engine is a very attractive alternative to larger and heavier diesel engines.” “In fact, there are several customers who are planning new pumping equipment built around this engine.”

As with all Vericor gas turbines, the TF50F is a two-shaft, free-power turbine engine designed to accept the high torque necessary for hydraulic fracturing. Extensive factory and field testing has already proven that the TF50F  will deliver the required pumping power and operational flexibility for not only current 2,500 hp pumps, but also the new 3,000, 3,500 and 5,000 hp pumps that are being planned. The ability of a single TF50B to drive these larger pumps will change the whole dynamic of the franc spread.

“We envision that an oil field operator can significantly reduce the amount of equipment at a single spread by using gas turbine engines in place of diesels,” Clinton said. “Using treated wellhead gas, the TF50B gas turbine can significantly reduce the overall operating cost of a fracturing operation and demonstrate a very short payback period.”

Other applications of the gas turbine include gas compression and mobile power generation. The compact nature of the power plant is especially suited to single-trailer packages for use in a wide variety of applications and markets.

“A 3.5 MW single-trailer portable power unit weighing less than 60,000 pounds is going to be attractive in a variety of operations,” Clinton said.

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