ESCOs – Energy Services Companies

Since the early nineties we’ve seen the immersion of energy service providers. An energy service company (ESCO) is a company that offers a diverse range of energy solutions such as designs and execution of energy cost savings jobs, retrofitting, energy efficiency, energy infrastructure freelancing, power production and energy sources, and risk assessment. An energy services company is a company that boasts extensive energy solutions for its clients, this includes auditing, redesigning and implementing modifications to the ways the customer utilizes energy, the main end goal being improved efficiency.

As oil prices surge to levels prior to COVID, we can see this particular raising trend will likely stretch well inside 2022 according to numerous Canadian energy news outlets. Having said that there still remains very much opposition from federal governments such as Canada, which are executing policies that conflict with the industry in efforts to achieve carbon neutral status in the coming years. A good example of a dispute can be seen between the province of Alberta and the government. Alberta is by far the largest producer of oil in the country while the national government continually obstructs development throughout the sector in that particular province by not granting pipelines and various high valued work.

The ESCO of today is in perpetual flux and forever evolving with new energy service providers being presented as the industry advances post COVID-19. Innovation has a substantial function in the energy market and consequently energy services company (ESCOs) have adapted to serve this now technically sophisticated market.

Energy services companies are primarily distinctive from consulting technicians and equipment contractors: the former are commonly paid for their recommendations, whereas the latter are paid for the tools. With deregulation in the USA energy market in the ’90s, the energy services company enjoyed a quick boost. Utilities, which for many years valued the shelter of monopolies with guaranteed profits on power-plant assets, now were forced to compete to supply power to many of their biggest clientele. Three years in to the Trump presidency we’ve witnessed a sizable extensive deregulation in the energy industry which evidently benefits energy service companies.

In 2006 the trade group NAESCO reported energy service firms expanded by 22% and stated $2.6 billion in revenue marking a paramount moment for energy service companies all over the states. In Canada the popularity of ESCOs also expanded significantly primarily in the oil full province of Alberta.

There’s a number of variations of the sorts of service providers supplied by energy service companies. Some incorporate sustainable energy, commissioning and startup, environmental site evaluations, boiler rentals, fuel flare vent and others. The fact is we can easily go on all day about the broad list of providers ESCOs offer.

The AER – Alberta Energy Regulator, has a program called the Enhanced Production Audit Program (EPAP) which helps companies comply with requirements and supports compliance assurance program. Created through Directive 076: Operator Declaration Regarding Measurement and Reporting, EPAP

  • encourages operators to improve their measurement and reporting processes, which leads to greater compliance and may reduce the number of noncompliances found in field inspections and audits; and
  • helps operators avoid the costs related to enforcement activities created by Directive 019: Compliance Assurance—Enforcement [Rescinded by Manual 013: Compliance and Enforcement Program].

Consulting and negotiating energy rates is an additional in-demand service as energy management firms have already been springing up all over Canada and the USA to fill the need for lower prices. Contrary to popular opinion energy prices are in fact negotiable and it is energy consulting firms that can help companies see more affordable energy rates. These service contractors start with carrying out what is termed a base line of preliminary energy assessment. Energy consultants have a defined start point which is always to complete a full and thorough energy audit to be later made use of as a measurement of future energy cost savings. Generally you can find the energy consultancy firm working jointly with senior leadership in every organization they are contracted by. This allows for prompt important decisions. It is vital to see the benefit of immediate access to top management when reporting on energy finances and especially when negotiating rates.

Some of the services these firms perform might include things like turnarounds, pipeline leak detection, environmental impact studies, meter proving, mobile steam boiler services, transport and others. You don’t have to look very far to see the devastation created by COVID19. Tens of thousands of jobs in the energy sector were lost in the first half of 2020 throughout the US and Canada.

Gail Sayward is a field worker with Intricate Vegetation, an oil and gas weed control company based in Alberta, and this is what her thoughts were on the impact of COVID on the sector.

“Frankly it worries me with what the future holds for the energy industry in Canada. With political stress and the chance of a resurrection of COVID19 we are all susceptible to the government authorities of the planet.”

Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) are ostensibly different from consulting engineers and equipment contractors: the former are often rewarded for their help and advice, while the latter are paid for the hardware or equipment, and neither accept any work risk.

Since its creation in the 1990’s, a single U. S. government program identified as “Super-ESPC” (ESPC stands for Energy Savings Performance Contracts) was accountable for $2.9B in energy services companies contracts. With it being revitalized and modified in late 2008 they’ve granted 16 firms with what’s generally known as Indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity or IDIQ contracts valued at over $5 billion each on average. The business of energy service can indicate many things but the one commonality with them all is the common mission of lowering energy costs and making current processes more cost-efficient.

Nowadays its not unusual to find ISP (Internet Service Providers) that are promoting bundles with television, cellphone,alarm systems and Internet, through just one company. It’s become widespread in Canada and the US that energy providers are now offering bundled service like mobile phones, home phones, internet and TV service but actually there is so much of this going on in the B2B side while society monitoring and security systems are also being supplied. We’re now observing the development and amalgamation of utility and service providers.

So I know what you are thinking. Doesn’t this make energy solutions providers go the way of the dinosaur? Nope. Consider this like the battle of the Titans whereas the big utility organizations are the ones who will negotiate for the energy consumer dough. There are lots of service providers encompassed by the term energy providers company. Many, if not most, all correspond with boots on the ground industrial service providers like those in the oilfields. That being said we hope that 2021 brings much good fortune to the energy sector and we can look back at 2020 as a year of lessons.

The Rise of the Energy Service Provider

Among the fastest expanding sectors in the oil and gas arena is energy service providers. The beginning of the energy service providers company can be credited to the energy crisis of the late seventies, as business owners created methods to counteract the surge in energy prices. An ESCO is a company that offers broad energy solutions to their clientele, which include auditing, redesigning and developing adjustments to the ways the customer consumes energy, the primary aim being improved efficiency.

It is now very clear that the new normal post COVID-19 is compelling organizations to look at their company models and adjust accordingly. Advances in technologies have contributed to the industry’s progress as a whole.

As we have previously outlined, the primary goal for energy service firms boils down to lowering spending and create eco- friendly solutions for future years. In the ’90s with deregulation we observed the rise of energy service companies then things stunted during the Obama administration we observed reversals of regulations to again be deregulated by the current President Donald Trump. A couple of years in to the Trump presidential term we’ve observed a sizable extensive deregulation in the energy sector which clearly benefits energy service providers.

An interesting assessment between the US and Canada depicts the contrastive discrepancies within a deregulating government like the USA is as of today,, and the progressive leading government of Canada. In truth, as of this writing Total has said they will be writing off over $6 billion in Alberta oil sands investments in Canada.

With such a wide variety of O&G services these organizations offer, it is difficult to mention only a few despite leaving out a great number of other important varieties. However it is really worth keeping in mind that amongst this industry, technological advances has played a top role in encouraging the sector progression. A couple other services include water treatment, transportation, pipeline tracking, leak detection, midstream and downstream solutions and energy cost savings and administration.

Energy procurement companies also play a very important factor in the management of energy operating costs with the milestone of reducing expenses and making efficiency a top priority in most organizations. Contrary to popular belief energy prices are indeed negotiable and it is energy consulting companies that can help companies discover more cost effective energy rates. Energy consultants often initiate their contracts by doing a complete energy audit and creating a start line. Creating a documented starting position after a company runs its energy evaluation is imperative. The energy management consultants are generally, independent of the organization itself and work in unison with the executives. Whilst energy management consultants function singularly of the organization hiring them, it is a fact that energy consultants work close with administrators for a multitude of reasons.

Image created by Energy Services Marketing

Field energy services firms offer a wide array of service like meter proving, sampling and analysis, electrical and instrumentation, fabrication, automation and controls and even software solutions. Overall though we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift within this sector due largely in part to the pandemic that has gripped the world over the past 6 months.

We interviewed an executive with EnStar Energy Services who had this to say about our post-COVID world.

“What else can I say except that it has been a damaging hit to the market yet we do are of the opinion things will get better and we’re prepping for that now.”

Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) may be privately owned providers, either independent or an integral part of a large conglomerate, state-owned, non-profit, jv partnerships, manufacturers or manufacturers’ subsidiaries.

Debauched energy control devices plagues a large amount of industry buildings in the U.S. and this is for the most part because of the partially installed regulation systems, excessive energy loss a result of lack of insulation and dated heating and cooling systems. This is certainly an additional reason why getting an energy audit done is significant so it’s possible to then move to the next step by getting a skilled energy consultant. The underlying end goal for anyone in the energy providers company is to always attempt to save their clients, in some form or another, with lower energy rates. Now this could mean simply making present systems more cost-effective.

It is without doubt that we will be seeing a transformation, or an development per se, of energy utility companies whereas instead of selling just electricity or gas, utilities providers will begin to sell bundled services, which might include providers utilities didn’t considered before, service providers enabled by smart meters and smart home technologies, like home security, as an example, or monitoring the elderly. In the US & Canada this transformation has already launched with leading utility organizations bundling their solutions and mating them with discounted prices, so to lure people and organizations to entrust them with all their energy service requirements. We’re now experiencing the progress and fusion of utility and service companies.

You are likely wondering that if this indeed is taking place then wouldn’t that make private energy service companies obsolete? Still we hope that 2021 brings much prosperity to the energy sector and we can look back at 2020 as a year of lessons.

One of the companies referenced in this article is QuotEnergy. Below find their location within Google Maps.

The Many Facets to Meter Proving and Testing

Basically, meter proving is when the accuracy of a meter is tested. When we talk about meter proving there are lots of elements and the stats might change on impulse depending on the model of meter and technique of testing. For instance, a gas meter prover assesses the accuracy for gas meters.. It’s not as simple as you might think anytime meter proving, the provers have to assess and then compare with pre-calculated data as per their guide.

Meter proving and meter testing differ. Here’s why.

Anytime a qualified professional is confirming the correctness of the meter this is called meter proving. Points like verifying the proper quantity of disbursement to the meter results itself. Meter proving is achieved by contrasting the service meter to a accredited prover (master meter, dynamic or tank prover) which is traceable to a domestic meteorology institute including NIST. One of the more typical forms of proving is actually for fluid hydrocarbon and this is especially the case in pipelines carrying the gas. Particular prover joints are required right at the metering station permitting parallel measurement of the fluid in both the devices.

Ever since the early 1900s, bell provers had been the many typical resource criterion utilized in gas meter proving, and has presented guidelines for the gas field that is unfortunately vulnerable to all sorts of immeasurable issues.

There are many design criteria for calibration systems. These can sometimes include, but are not limited to, volumetric methods, gravimetric techniques, and master meter comparison. These processes can produce outcomes with a doubt of better than 4-to-1 as compared with the meter become tested.

In addition, there are requirements that rule and involve the calibration system that is entire. NIST and ISO 17025 define criteria and needs with varying quantities of sophistication for calibration facilities and procedures. Brent Gerds is a meter prover and Fort St. John turnarounds and maintenance specialist – he claims his best tool is the field documents NIST provides to ensure compliance at all time. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies, or NIST, defines requirements for traceability that real time using the lab that is individual upkeep or self-compliance. ISO 17025 is a more rigorous, third-party official certification. This standard includes the whole calibration system and produces metrics for the calibration rig components, administrative systems for procedure operations, personnel proficiency, and paperwork supporting the traceability and total measurement question for the calibration center that is entire. ISO 17025 standards ensure the known level that is greatest of self- confidence in accuracy and repeatability.

Gas provers verify gas meters considering that they are definitely the many frequent.Provers are frequently made use of gas meter maintenance companies, public gas meter shops, and public works service centers. The system where by meter proving workers assess the accuracy and reliability of a meter simply by transferring air through and after that reviewing those results to the meter’s own interior displacement. The prover then displays a proof, a rate depicted as a percent which compares the volume of air passed with the volume of air gauged to identify the meters precision.

As a Fox Creek turnaround contractors company, at Harvest we understand the importance of “getting it right” when it comes to proving.

Don Hebert, Harvest Oilfield Services Inc.

A bell prover has two layers, one internal tank encompassed by another external shell. There are actually two layers and while the outside layer is normally filled up with oil, the inside layer is called the bell. An air-tight is provided by the fluid seal. Bell provers are usually counterweighted to offer pressure that is positive to a hose and valve linked to a meter. We frequently see rollers for the bell that allows for soft linear motion devoid of risk of endangering the pressure developed by the bell seal shifting.

Uncertainness frequently experienced, and perhaps unaccounted-for within a test when using bell provers could bring about flawed proofs, by which an operator may possibly modify a gas meter incorrectly. Temperature inconsistencies among the bell air, meter and linking hoses can perhaps account for many meter proof errors. hardware, human, insecure pipes and joints, are commonly things that could also be to be blamed for inconsistencies.

Technologies has advanced an awful lot now, with the creation of PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), maintenance shops might automate the bell proving process. This is realized using automated methods of elevating and lowering the bell prover. Every one of the automated techniques are aided by serving relevant data in to a computer to see the results. In the early 1990s, the PLC was upgraded by PACs (Programmable Automated Controls) and modern computer systems. Eventually they add more digital sensors that would permit for additional automation and reducing more the need for humans in the testing function.

As everyone knows, technologies is in continual flux and improving day-to-day. Now we have got the capability to test flow rates with consistency never seen before by employing vacuum provers. Moreover these advances eliminated the requirement of a bell in testing as everything can be done through the nozzles. When sufficient vacuum is applied to a sonic nozzle it creates a constant flow rate. Bernoulli’s principle is applied to calculate the chosen flow rates chosen by the user or automated by a computer. Automation of proving is excellent with respect to analyzing live incoming data thru internal networks that is collected from the PAC devices.

Intricate Energy Services is an electrical and instrumentation company in Fort St. John and they understand the importance of getting it right the first time. When it comes to an industry like oil and gas there’s no room for error and all incoming data must be precise to ensure the coinciding outgoing results are accurate to a T.

Meter Proving VS Meter Testing by Intricate Group

Put simply, meter proving is when the precision of a meter is tested. The considerations for Meter Proving and the anticipated results can vary based on the diverse kinds of meters employing unique features. For instance a propane meter prover checks the correctness linked with a propane gas meter. Various meter provers like to confirm their readings with a preset scope as defined in the guides.

Meter proving and meter testing are not the same. This is why.

Anytime a skilled expert is investigating the accuracy and reliability of the meter this is whats called “meter proving“. Items like confirming the recommended amount of disbursement to the meter reading itself. The moment the information has been obtained from the meter proving professional, he/she then compares that data to domestic meteorology data widely obtainable through institutions such as the National Institute for Standards and technologies. Among the more popular forms of proving is actually fluid hydrocarbon and this is particularly the case within pipelines carrying this gas. More widespread than not provers have data supplied from meter station workers to assess their data outcome with.

Ever since the early 1900s, bell provers have many certainly been the most prevalent resource standard utilized in gas meter proving, and has made available guidelines for the gas sector that’s sadly subject to a whole lot of non-measurable issues.

And then we have got the more common gas meter proving professional whom checks and confirms gas meters.The many prevalent applications of gas provers are the ones from municipalities and public works.The function whereby meter proving experts determine the precision of a meter simply by transferring air through thereafter analyzing those outcome to the meter’s own internal displacement. After that is performed the prover (meter) then provides the data he/she recorded in the per cent of air passed to compared to the value depicted on the meter’s own.

meter proving

Image courtesy of Intricate Group

A bell prover has two layers, one internal tank enclosed by yet another outside shell. There’s two layers and while the outside layer is ordinarily loaded with oil, the inside layer is known as the bell. The fluid is there to behave as a air-tight seal for testing. Bell provers are oftentimes counter-weighted to give pressure that is positive to a line and valve joined to a meter. Often times wheels or guides are mounted on the part that is moving of bell which makes it possible for for smooth linear mobility devoid of the potential for immeasurable pressure differentials as a consequence of the bell swaying back or forth.

There is plenty of assorted aspects of consideration anytime meter testing using bells. Things like air pressure level, temperatures and certainly the data of the bell size alone. Here’s the simple fact, bell scales are tailored for a unique bell and can possibly be employed on no other. Meter proving is exceptionally technical. The prover should give consideration to lots of elements such as for instance flow rate, leakage, sealed devices, air flow and fluid flow. All to end up being validated against trade set standards.

Harvest Oilfield Services, a boiler company in Whitecourt, Canada, is a division of Intricate Group, had this to say…

A prover is an automated system that provides on-site calibration to ensure flow meters in service to adhere to industry standard criteria. We pride ourselves in being the “go to” company throughout Alberta and British Columbia.

meter testing

Image courtesy of Intricate Group

The development of programmable logic controllers (PLC) allowed gas meter repair facilities to automate the majority of of the manual bell prover’s process and calculations. Instead of manually elevating and lowering the bell prover, solenoid valves connected to a PLC controls air flows through the meter. This is how we operate when meter proving in Calgary, AB, our central location. As is the majority of automation, computers process data inputed to them using testers. Since the 90s, computers and PAC (Programmable Automated Controls) had been utilized. In time they add more digital detectors that would allow for additional automation and limiting more the need for humans in the testing process.

Presently we have advanced and boast vacuum driven provers that have the means to provide us with very valid flow readings. Furthermore these breakthroughs eliminated the requirement of a bell in testing as everything could possibly be done through the nozzles. whenever testing utilizing machine-controlled methods with vacuum, this is achieved with a sonic nozzle and confirmed against industry standards like Bernoulli’s principle. Computers and PAC systems automate the process, and many sonic nozzle provers are efficient at displaying not only meter proofs to a user, but are also capable of transmitting proofs as well as some other important data to database systems throughout a computer network.