Power when you need it

The ups and downs of upstream oil and industry call for safe, rapid and reliable support services; temporary power generation is no different, Emran Hussain discovers

Despite the recent dampening oil demand on the global markets due to a cooling Chinese economy, coupled with a 700,000 bpd drop in Saudi production in December, the need for oilfield services such as temporary power generation is looking buoyant. 

According to a representative of the Dubai based equipment rental specialist, Byrne, rising oil prices tend to drive up demand for its myriad services which include anything from accommodation spaces to generators to fencing. 

Chief operating officer, Patrick Fallon points out that the Gulf oil and gas landscape, at least for temporary power generation providers is anything but homogenous in its needs. 

“We faced different demands from country to country with KSA focusing on shut downs, Qatar on Gas, Oman on accommodation and UAE on power supply,” he explains. 

“There has been a significant demand in service related requirements specifically Power, due to the infancy of grid power in certain parts of some countries. Overall we see a growth in demand in this sector and we expect buoyant market conditions to continue.” 

Clients in the region, he says, are now asking for longer-term power plants as the marketplace is still challenged with raising capital or at least looking to better manage their capital expenditure. 

“In this regard clients will look to rent many applications from a package of 30kva generators through to 23Mva power grids for new communities awaiting municipality grid connection,” he adds. 

Hazardous safety

Recognising the clear dangers in the oil and gas industry, ensuring equipment is safe to operate is of paramount importance to both temporary power generation specialists and their clients, but there are other considerations as well.

“We believe some of the common challenges most temporary power solutions are facing can be summarised as reliability, mobility and safety,” says Chris Ridley, Group sales and marketing director for Specialist Services, the modular building and packaging provider for the oil and gas industry. 

Although not a manufacturer of power generation equipment, the company fabricates skids and modular housing for manufacturers such as Schneider Electric, Siemens and ABB.

“In the GCC region when most of the oil and gas fields are located in remote areas with harsh geographic and climate environments, clients need a power generation solution that is reliable and safe. That’s why we design, engineer and fabricate fire rated and/or blast proof enclosure to protect the valuable equipment from extreme whether condition as well as providing safe house in zone associated hazardous areas,” explains Ridley. 

“The aggressive oil production schedule often calls for a rapid solution that is reliable yet innovative,” he adds. 

“All Byrne generators are offered with hazardous working environments taken into consideration, by offering a variety of customer specifications including chalwyn valves, spark arrestors, crash frames, fire suppression and various other additions certified by third party inspection agencies,” says Fallon.

Remote monitoring

A concern for oil and gas operators is knowing that they have the right power generation capability at the right time, as and when required. Fallon explains how Byrne understands this innate demand of this industry. 

“Byrne offer remotely managed and controlled generators; remote managed equipment allows Byrne to respond quicker to breakdowns, schedule preventative maintenance by assessing operating parameters of equipment in real time scenarios. Oil and gas operations are all about visibility; this service gives our clientele peace of mind when our equipment is on their respective projects.”


Ridley explains how such demands have augmented the size of its modular products which clearly reflect the increasing power generation capacities expected by oil and gas operators of their equipment suppliers. 

“In the last few years, we have seen a trend in the industry that more and more large scale modules are required driven by the vast oil and gas   production demand. The average size of our product has grown from six to eight metres in length to up to 35 metres long and can weigh up to 90 tonnes upon completion,” he says. 

Naturally this has made the transportation, lifting and site installation of such equipment a major logistical challenge. Ridley says that customers have often asked Specialist Services for help in this regard.

 “Specialist Services has developed a range of certified frames, skids and enclosures to ease the transportation of generator sets, battery tanks and fuel tanks for both onshore and offshore installations,” he says reassuringly.


Looking ahead at the bigger picture, Byrne’s Patrick Fallon expects there to be more strategic partnerships between major contractors and third-party suppliers within the oil and gas sector in order to provide an all-in-one solution.

 “Due to Byrne also providing temporary camps and buildings to a variety of onshore and offshore clients, we have seen an increase trend in packaging total solutions for clients to ease demands on client’s requirements to deal with multiple service providers,” he explains. 

“Byrne therefore sees these bespoke services in high demand going into the future. The upside for the client is reduced interaction with multiple providers and streamlining communication with a single line supplier.”


"Transportation of power-gen equipment is a major logistical challenge ... clients will look to rent many applications from a package of 30kva generators through to 23Mva power grids for new  communities awaiting municipality grid connection" - Patrick Fallon, Chief Operating Officer - Byrne

- By Emran Hussain, Pipeline Magazine

This article was originally published in the February 2013 issue of Pipeline Magazine 

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