The Types of Fans Applied in the Oil and Gas Industry

Modern life depends on it, stop the flow and life as we know it comes to a standstill. Referred to as the petroleum industry, oil and gas are the perpetual life blood pumping through the economic arteries of the planet to the tune of around $86 trillion a year. There may be an ever-increasing push for alternative energy sources, but make no mistake, oil and gas will be the world’s economic backbone for many generations to come.

The industry is a global goliath covering exploration, extraction, refining, transporting via oil tankers and pipelines, and the marketing of petroleum products. Fuel oil and gasoline, or petrol, make up the lion’s share of the industry’s product output. In addition, petroleum is the base material for a multitude of other products which include, plastics, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic fragrances and a plethora of other cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. 

The industry is categorized into three distinct sectors, upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream sector largely concerns itself with exploration, drilling, and extraction.

Upstream mainly deals with drilling and production. upstream activities include exploration, drilling, and extraction, and, potentially at least, yield the highest margins of profit for the petroleum companies. 

The midstream sector is more concerned with the transportation of oil and gas, it’s storage as well as the marketing and wholesale crude and refined petroleum products. The area of transport will include sea going tankers, barges, pipelines and road haulage. In a healthy market, this sector will realize acceptably healthy returns for the companies involved.

The downstream sector of the petroleum industry concerns itself with refining crude petroleum oil and the purification of natural gas. It will also involve itself in the marketing and distribution of the vast array of products that can be derived from crude oil and natural gas. Although the downstream sector is as vital to the industry as any other element within it, with small margins, it exists the least profitable area for the companies involved.

The petroleum industry is certainly a global behemoth, it is however reliant on a multitude of facets which exist as a single, cohesive unit. However, there are two key elements without which it could not function. One is its workforce of highly skilled personnel, all experts in their fields. The second is the industrial fan and blower. This modern high-tech industry simply could not exist without them. 

Axial and Centrifugal Offshore platform Reliance

The safety of offshore drilling platforms, along with the health and wellbeing of its workforce, exist and function thanks to industrial fans. They undertake many vital tasks aboard these platforms. They are a vital component in the drilling and production, power generation, all working areas as well as the workforce’s accommodation.

Offshore platforms operate in a unique and challenging environment requiring industrial fans to be equal to the diverse demands put upon them. Enclosed areas need constant ventilation, extraction of particle and molecular contaminated air is essential. Heating and cooling to exact parameters is also essential for the safety and efficiency of the platform. Both axial and centrifugal fans offer the flexibility needed to operate with total reliability whilst optimizing both space and power resources.

Onshore Refinery Reliance

Onshore refinery plants present their own challenges when facing up to environmental and workforce safety along with the need of production efficiency. Compliance with agreed worldwide standards for industrial fans, API, ASME and ISO, offer challenges that the industry meets through the proper use of appropriate units for the varying demands of the refinery plant.

There are numerous diverse process in a refinery, all requiring safety and efficiency and each total reliant on the others. Areas such as combustion and pollution control, gas fired heaters and sulfur recovery units, which are a large sector within the chemical refining process, are totally reliant on axial and centrifugal fans and blowers

Transportation and Storage Reliance

Pipelines play a major role in moving gas and oil across vast distances. There are tens of millions of miles of these pipelines across the globe, 2.6 million miles in the United States alone. These vital arteries rely on compressor stations to keep their life blood flowing. Within this operating environment there is a risk of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the atmosphere.

Pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, and other greenhouse gases need extraction and filtration. This, running in unison with clean air replenishment, is essential for the safe operation of the compressor stations, the good of the environment and the safety of service personnel involved in their maintenance and operation. This can only be achieved with the versatility of industrial axial and centrifugal fans which can operate with reliability and longevity.

Similarly, these challenges and solutions apply equally to bulk transport of oil and gas via ocean going tankers and barges. The confined spaces within these vessels and the unique, often hostile, environment in which they operate necessitate ultra-reliability and durability from the industrial fans. These fans and blowers, just as with their land-based equivalents within the petroleum industry, will all conform to ATEX directives (Equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres). 

Industrial fans and blowers that are used in the petroleum industry meet extremely high standards of manufacture, installation and maintenance. The specific choice of materials in manufacture, such as aluminum and brass, reduce the corrosive effects of operating in hostile environments. Reduced volatility materials and anti-sparking couplings help towards making fans and blowers explosion proof and adhere to the strict declaration of conformity laid down by ATEX.

It is worth giving a thought to the fuel in your car, the furniture in your home and even the bar of soap in your bathroom, in fact virtually everything around you is in some way connected to the oil and gas industry. An industry that would not function, or even exist, without industrial fans and blowers.