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Innovating solids management to create a cleaner future for oil and gas

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Oilfield Technology,

Anders Arefjord, Founder & Business Development, FourPhase, explains why opportunities presented by remote and automated operations mean that a real window for change in solids management has opened.

Innovating solids management to create a cleaner future for oil and gas

The industry is under unrelenting pressure from all stakeholders to create a more sustainable sector, all the while continuing to deliver consistent results and profits. The ongoing drive to reach a net zero emission target by 2050 has essentially created a deadline for players to implement and demonstrate change in their business protocols.

Solids management is no different. With traditional approaches, such as coiled tubing (CT), coming under fire for increased emissions due to heavy logistical and personnel on board (POB) requirements, new technologies and approaches are gaining traction.

With all of this in mind, the opportunities presented by remote and automated operations mean that a real window for change has opened. One that will allow the sector to embrace new technologies, create new ways of working and prepare a future-proofed business model that is ready to take on a ‘net zero emissions’ world.

Delivering a cleaner tomorrow

FourPhase are actively challenging traditional approaches to oil and gas production in fields where solids are present. The company’s goal is to help clients become aware of the benefits derived from remote and automated solids management operations, promote strategies to reduce POB offshore facilities and develop solutions to streamline efficiencies.

Recovering hydrocarbons in a more sustainable way is the driver behind FourPhase’s solids management solutions and services, with several technologies in place that can be used on land and offshore to reduce the carbon intensity of oil and gas production.

Solids management

Solids management is estimated to impact more than 70% of fields globally, and traditionally has POB requirements to manage the operation. The company’s DualFlow desander is the first automated solids management system with automated and remote operation capabilities available on the market. The system delivers solids-free production flow while reducing operational costs and eliminating risks related to human error.

It ensures that traditionally labour-intensive manual operations, such as valve manipulation, flushing operations, measurement, and logging of solids production, can be removed, with the capability for them to be run automatically or remotely, either onsite or at a different location. The removal of such operations enables a reduction in human interaction, reducing POB and the associated carbon impact that comes from an increase in workforce. This also reduces the likelihood of personnel being exposed to harmful substances offshore.

Methane emissions during frac flowback

For onshore drilling, methane emissions are an ongoing issue during frac flowback. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the comparative impact of methane to carbon dioxide (CO2) is 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period. This makes it one of the most dangerous polluters among the greenhouse gases. With dispensations allowing the use of older equipment to continue into the near future, the incentive is not there to replace them until the equipment becomes obsolete. However, thanks to ESG reporting, a solution to the emissions must to be found or else operators will struggle to meet their reporting goals.

With a closed loop flushing system there is potential to avoid methane emissions entirely. This is because you are isolating the vessel before flushing and not draining out the oil and gas during the flushing process. Therefore, by using the DualFlow 5K, it is possible for operators to push towards carbon neutral in an affordable way, while still retaining use of older pieces of equipment.

Oil contaminated sand discharge to sea

FourPhase’s commitment to a cleaner tomorrow is not limited to reducing CO2 emissions. The company’s activity can also prevent detrimental environmental incidents like oil-contaminated sand being sent to the sea. Jetting of the production separator often results in hydrocarbon-contaminated sand particles entering marine environments. The average dispensation for total oil to be discharged to sea is roughly 7%. However, by deploying FourPhase’s separation and cleaning technology for jetting operations, the need for companies to avail of any dispensations can be removed entirely.

Normally when sand is drained using a desander, the solids are drained from separator tanks. The resulting water is not clean and must pass through several stages before it can be drained to a bucket and released to sea. By using the DualFlow 5K, it is possible to ensure that no contaminated materials are dumped to sea. This is because the patented separation and cleaning technology enables operators to remove and accurately log hydrocarbon-contaminated sand particles.

FourPhase’s commitment to delivering solutions also ensures the successful separation of oil-contaminated solids and resin-coated proppants, avoiding the discharge of resins to sea offshore, and in dump pits.


FourPhase are committed to a cleaner future. It is a stance that has supported innovation from the beginning, ensuring the company meets the needs of the sector, while providing a better process for how production activity is undertaken. With ESG goals becoming an increasingly important measure of a company’s worth, cleaner technologies and processes are set to become ever more central to shaping the direction of the oil and gas sector. By helping operators recover hydrocarbons in a sustainable way, FourPhase look forward to playing a continued role in ensuring the sector has the solutions available on its journey towards a cleaner future.

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