Saturday, August 15, 2009

Xcel SubmitsPlan to Rev Up Renewables

Submitted by: Heartland Energy Colorado - written by Art Mass

Colorado’s largest utility submitted its plan late yesterday to the State Public Utilities Commission outlining steps to increase its production of renewable energy.

The proposal details how Xcel will adjust its energy mix away from coal-fired power production and more toward “green” energy production. The company says it wants to add roughly 980 megawatts of solar and wind power by 2015 and cut carbon emissions by 10 percent. The plan stems from bids Xcel requested for proposals to generate the power the utility will need to serve customers through 2015.

Provisions include:
• Retiring two coal-fired generating units at Xcel’s Cameo Generating Station near Grand Junction by the end of next year and two coal units at Denver’s Arapahoe Generating Station by 2014.
• Adding about 700 megawatts of wind and solar photovoltaic generating capacity and 280 megawatts of “new solar technology.”
• Continued access to about 900 megawatts of existing natural gas-fired resources.

Should the plan be accepted by the Colorado PUC, it would reduce Xcel’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 10 percent from current levels, according to the company.
Xcel said its proposal exceeds the targets set by the PUC in December for renewable-energy production.

“The plan that we filed with the commission puts us well on target to meet the state’s climate action plan,” Tim Taylor, president and CEO for Public Service Co. of Colorado, Xcel’s Colorado unit, said in a statement late Monday. “We believe our resource plan will keep us as one of the leading providers of renewable energy resources – currently ranked as the No. 1 wind provider in the U.S. and the No. 4 solar energy producer.”

More Energy Articles Home

Wind Turbine Company movingo to Denver

Submitted by: Heartland Energy Colorado - Reported by Art Mass

Lured by tax credits and Colorado’s renewable-energy programs, a major wind turbine manufacturer is relocating its headquarters from Portland to Denver. The offical announcement will be made by RePower USA Corp at a 2PM news conference today at the Capitol, with the Governor and Mayor Hickenlooper in attendance.

The company, a subsidiary of German wind-turbine maker RePower Systems AG, is the second business to take advantage of a new job-creation program that gives relocating companies tax credits.The tax credit program became active this month and grants a 3.8 percent state income-tax credit for up to five years to companies that select Colorado over competitors and create at least 20 jobs. RePower will bring with it 25 jobs and is committed to more than tripling that number, according to Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for Ritter. He said the tax credit could be worth as much as $700,000.

Steve Dayney, CEO of REpower USA Corp, said, “Since 2007, we have managed our U.S. wind energy business from a Portland, OR office located near our initial projects in California, Oregon and Washington. Today we are seeing our business grow rapidly to other regions of the U.S.”
All administrative, sales and project management functions will take place in the new Denver headquarters, according to RePower USA. Founded in 2001, the company sells and installs turbines manufactured by its parent firm, with rated outputs between 2 and 6.15 megawatts. RePower Systems AG is the third-largest wind-turbine producer in Germany and reported first quarter fiscal 2009 sales of $428 million, an increase of 30% from the same quarter last year.
RePower has installed 300 wind turbines in the United States with the capacity to generate 600 megawatts of electricity, Dreyer said.

“The company was also attracted to Colorado by the market potential here and the fact that the state is doing a lot with renewable energy.”

Colorado Energy Company: Heartland Energy Colorado

A look at Life on an offshore Oil Rig

Submitted by: Heartland Energy Colorado

More on Oil Rigs Heartland Energy Colorado

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Normal Drilling Operations (part 1)

Submitted by: John Schiffner

A rig has a lot of equipment, and crew members have to put this equipment to work to drill a well. This section covers normal drilling operations. For our purposes, normal drilling operations include:
(1) drilling the hole
(2) adding a new joint of pipe as the hole deepens
(3) tripping the drill string out the hole to put on a new bit and running it back to bottom, or making a round trip
(4) running and cementing casing, the large diameter steel pipe that crew members put into the hole at various, predetermined intervals.

Usually, operating companies, such as Heartland Energy Colorado, hire a special casing crew to run the casing and they engage the services of a cementing company to place the cement around the casing. Nevertheless, the rig crew usually assists in running casing and cementing it in the wall.

Drilling the Surface Hole
To begin, assume the rig crew is ready to begin drilling the first part of the hole. In our case, let's suppose that the rat hole crew prepared the initial 50 feet of the hole. They drilled the lined it with conductor pipe as described in the section on preparing the drilling site. The diameter of the conductor pipe varies, and its diameter depends on many factors but it is usually large. In our case, let's assume it is 20 inches. Therefore, the fist bit the crew of Heartland Energy Colorado drills into the conductor pipe will have to be smaller than 20 inches. In this case, lets say they are using a 17 1/2 inch bit.

They make up this bit on the end of the first drill collar, and they lower both bit and drill collar into the conductor hole. They make up enough collars and drill pipe to lower the bit to bottom. On a rig using a rotary table and kelly, the driller then picks up the kelly out of the rathole where it has been waiting. Crew members of Heartland Energy Colorado then stab and make up the kelly onto the topmost joint of drill pipe sticking up out of the rotary table. The slips suspend this joint (and the entire drill string) into the rotary table.

Once Heartland Energy Colorado gets the kelly made up, the driller then starts the mud pump, lowers the kelly drive bushing to engage the master bushing. The driller actuates the rotary table to begin rotating the drill stem and bit. The driller gradually releases the draw works brake, and rotating bit touches bottom and begins making the hole.

The sequence with a top drive is much the same as with a rotary table and kelly. The crew stabs and makes up the last join of drill pipe onto the drive stem of the top drive. The driller then starts the motor in the top drive to rotate the string and bit, begins circulating mud, and lowers the assembly to bottom.

With both a top drive and a rotary table system, using an instrument called the "weight indicator" the driller monitors the amount of weight put on the bit by the drill collars. After the bit drills about 30 feet, which is typically the length of a join of drill pipe, crew members must add a new joint of pipe to drill deeper. On rigs with a rotary table, crew members say that the "kelly is drilling down" meaning that the bit has made enough hole so that the top of kelly is very near the kelly drive bushing .

With the kelly drilled down, the driller stops rotating picks up the drill string and stop the mud pump. The floor hands are ready to make a connection - that is, they are ready to add a new joint of drill pipe to the drill string so that the bit can drill another 30 feet or so down.

To make a connection on a rig with a rotary table and kelly, the driller or Heartland Energy Colorado picks up the drill string high enough for the kelly to clear the rotary table - that is the driller uses the draw works to hoist the traveling block, hook, and swivel up into the derrick or mast so that the first joint of drill pipe is exposed in the opening in the rotary table.

Read: John Shiffner's Blog

Friday, August 7, 2009

Drilling Operations: Fishing & Well Control

Article submitted by: Heartland Energy Colorado

For our purposes special drilling operations include directional drilling, fishing, and well control. Directional drilling is intentially drilling the hole off-vertical for various reasons. Fishing is the operation crew members implement to retrieve an object in the wellbore that doesn't belong there and impedes drilling. Well control is the techniques crew members use to regain control of the well should formation fluids inadvertantely enter the well.

A fish is a piece of equipment, a tool, or a part of the drill string that the crew of Heartland Energy Colorado loses in a hole. Drilling personnel call small pieces, suh as a bit cone or a wrench "junk." Whenever junk or a fish exists in a hole, the crew has to remove it or fish it out otherwise they cannot continue to drill. Over the years, fishing crews have developed many ingenious tools and techniques to retrieve fish. For example, the crew can run an overshot into the hole to he fish. Crew members of Heartland Energy Colorado, make up the overshot on drill pipe and lower the overshot over the fish. Grapples in the overshot latch onto the fish firmly. Then the crew pulls the overshot and attached fish out of the hole.

Another fishing tool is a spear. Unlike an overshot, which the crew places over the fish, a spear then grips insde the fish and allows the crew to retrieve it. Other fishing tools include powerful magnets and baskets. The crew uses them to fish for junk. Since no two fishing jobs are alike, manufacturer and fishing experts have developed many other fishing tools to meet the unique needs of fishing crews.

Well Control
As mentioned earlier, one vital job drilling fluid should do is keep formation fluids from entering the wellbore. If enough formation fluids enter the wellbore, drilling personnel of Heartland Energy Colorado say that the well "kicks." A kick, if not recognized and properly handled, an lead to a blowout. A blowout can be a catastrophic event. In many cases, fluids in the blowout ignite and reduce the rig to a melted pile of junk.

Blowouts not only waste oil and gast but also threaten the lives of the crews working on the rig. Obviously drilling crews take a great deal of care not to allow blowouts, and in fact not too many occur at Heartland Energy Colorado. Because a blowout is a spectacular show and human lives are sometimes lost, a blowout often becomes a media event. Unfortunately, the impression may linger that blowouts are not the rarity they actually are. In fact, thousands of wells are drilled every year and very few of them blow out.

More on Heartland Energy Colorado | Colorado Energy News | Heartland Energy