Imagine working on a jobsite where the winds regularly exceed 100 miles per hour and temperatures drop as low as negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Now imagine you don’t just work there—you live there, too. That’s the case for 265 workers at the Black Gold Oilfield Services camp on Alaska’s North Slope, who are charged with oilfield construction and pipeline maintenance and support.
“The winters are dark, cold and intense with high winds and drifted snow,” says Doug Cissna, general manager of Black Gold Oilfield Services. “These are extreme conditions, and the men live and work here for long-term, extended periods.”
It’s no wonder they’re thankful for the two CG137-12 gas generator sets delivered to the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska site by Caterpillar and Cat® Dealer NC Power Systems in 2014. The Cat generator sets power the heat and lights at the camp, as well as its commercial kitchen and recreational facilities.
“The two Cat generators provide all the power for all necessary functions,” Cissna says. “We’re the only housing facility on the slope providing all operation power via generators.”
Given the results so far, chances are Black Gold Oilfield Services won’t be the last to rely on Cat generator sets. The camp previously purchased power from local utilities, which was expensive. Because the CG137-12 generator sets can operate on a wide range of gas quality, from wellhead gas to pipeline-quality natural gas, they operate more efficiently. In fact, during the first six months they were online, the two Cat generator sets saved Black Gold Oilfield Services in excess of $300,000 in operating costs—more than $50,000 a month.
They’re also proving to be more reliable than local power—an essential feature given the camp’s Arctic conditions.
“We’ve been able to avoid local power outages in the winter,” Cissna says. “The Cat gen sets allow us to be in control locally and in constant operation. They help us keep the camp running smoothly.”