Focused on growth: Compass Compression opens new service branches in the Bakken

3550 HP Xtreme North Reciprocating Compressor Package
Established in 2001, Compass Compression has been in business for more than a decade and has grown from providing low-horsepower screw compressor packages to having one of the most comprehensive offerings in the industry. The company provides everything from sales, engineering and design to fabrication, installations and field services, offering a wide range of compression, process and refrigeration products to oil and gas producers and midstreamers around the world. Large enough to handle the most sophisticated project, yet small enough to deliver personal, one-on-one customer service, Compass has the experience and expertise to deliver solutions.

"We have standard product lines, as well as custom products, to meet all of our customers' needs," says Kirk Dunn, Director of Service for Compass. "We also have retrofit capabilities, offering customers flexibility to change applications and meet new or changing conditions in markets or locations.”

In the last few years, Compass has expanded operations to ramp up its product supply and has extended services for a wider geographical reach. Compass has several facilities located throughout North America, including fabrication plants, parts warehouses and offices, as well as field service branches. In 2013, the company's assembly space increased by 67 per cent, for a total of 68,000 sq. ft. between three facilities.

"Our approach to growth has been to keep it controlled and steady, so our customers receive the same excellent service," Dunn says. "By having facilities and staff in place to meet demand, we can be sure that our high standards, both in quality products and service, won't be compromised."

Compass’ service area extends from northeastern British Columbia to throughout the entire Bakken region. Recently, Compass opened service branches in Casper, Wyoming, and Regina, Saskatchewan, with another in Dickinson, North Dakota opening soon. The new service branches provide customers with local support and faster on-site repairs and service. Original Equipment Manufacturer-trained local field service technicians work out of strategic locations to ensure that customers receive prompt service, and can perform on site overhauls.

"Customers can depend on us 24/7 for parts and service, so downtime is minimized and there is limited interruption to operations," Dunn says.

Producers also have the option of renting equipment from Compass Compression's rental fleet. Rental options range from three months to five years and include rent to purchase opportunities. The option to rent, rather than own, makes good economic sense in certain scenarios, particularly when conditions change over a well's lifetime, giving clients greater flexibility in financing their operations. A preventative maintenance program includes preventative and corrective maintenance, field service calls, equipment overhauls and the cost of returning rented compressor packages, so that there are no surprises and clients know the total cost of their equipment.

"Sometimes it's in a customer's best interest to rent and, when the term is up, a different unit can be provided to meet new needs," Dunn says. "This works well for companies with a set budget, so they can put more money into infrastructure."

Compass carries the leading product lines, including Ariel, Frick, RoFlo, Caterpillar and Waukesha, with all packages assembled from components manufactured by leading OEMs. Compass builds packages to their own Xtreme North specifications for cold weather applications.  This includes fully enclosed, insulated and heated packages that are designed to increase production and extend the economic life and recoverable costs of equipment, by avoiding cold weather related problems.

1380 HP Xtreme North Reciprocating Compressor Package
"Our Xtreme North packages are designed for operation in colder temperatures and withstand minus 40 degree weather," Dunn says. "This is what sets Compass apart from other packagers and is why we’ve been so successful in North Dakota and Wyoming. We're experienced in supplying products to northern British Columbia and it's what's needed in the northern U.S. Warm weather packages simply don't offer the same reliability."

By Lisa Fattori

1380 HP, 3 Stage, Reciprocating Compressor Package

1380 HP, 3 Stage, Reciprocating Compressor Package (Custom Unit)
Compass Compression Model No.CT1380-RAE4-3
ApplicationGas Gathering
LocationNorth-eastern United States
ObjectiveDesign and Engineer a 3-stage, 1380 bhp reciprocating compressor package to ship within a limited shipping envelope
Design ChallengesTo fit a package which is typically 24 feet wide x 20 feet high (peak height) into a envelope of 14 feet wide x 12 feet peak-height
Compass Compression Solution
We designed a fully assembled unit with the building installed for shipping, including a fully functional 3-ton overhead crane assembly. 

On either side of the package are (2) 3 foot wide building “bolt-on” modules, with no process piping or customer connections.  The modules, and building panels are fully assembled prior to shipping.  Field installation is limited to bolting the side modules to the main package, and flashing of the building modules together.  This is an easy process and only took a few hours on site for installation.
Major Equipment Specifications
CompressorAriel JGE/4 four throw, three stage natural gas compressor
DriveCaterpillar G3516TA-ULB natural gas engine rated 1380 bhp @ 1400 rpm
Air CoolerAir-X-Limited 96FF2 forced draft cooler assembly
Control PanelAllen Bradley – Compact logix PLC based control panel c/w accessories
Other FeaturesThe Caterpillar G3516TA-ULB were the first two Caterpillar “Ultra Lean Burn” engines packaged in Canada for Gas Compression Service.  As a result Compass Compression had to overcome many design challenges with respect to “conventional” packaging obstacles

Please contact our technical sales team to determine your compression package requirements.

How to operate a package in less-than-100% capacity to optimize efficiency and minimize wear? Speed first.

By Pooria Sattari

During the life cycle of a reciprocating compressor, conditions are likely to occur, which require running the compressor at less-than-100% capacity. For example:
  • If upstream supply (i.e. suction pressure) is increased, compressor's capacity may need to be reduced to prevent damage to the compressor and driver from overload or from operating outside permissible operating conditions.
  • Reduced level of supplied gas over time may require that the compressor flow capacity be reduced in order to maintain suction pressure at a minimum acceptable level.

Different methods may be used to reduce capacity. These methods are summarized in table 1 for an exemplary 3-stage, 4-throw unit.

(68.5% Open)
Suction Throttle
Single Acting
Frame: JGT/4
Stage 1: (2) 13-1/2ET, 13.500”
Stage 2: (1) 11-1/2ET, 11.500”
Stage 3: (1) 7-3/8ET, 7.000”
Table 1: Comparison of different methods for controlling compressor capacity
Among these methods, varying the operating speed is the first recommended method as it is an excellent way to control capacity without requiring additional equipment on the compressor. The advantages of this method are the reduced wear and tear of the machine, and increased compressor efficiency. For the configuration presented in table 1, for example, reducing capacity by speed will reduce compressor wear and tear, i.e. RPM, by 18%. In contrary, by using a VVCP, single-acting the cylinder, or throttling unit will unnecessarily run at full speed, whereby long-term maintenance costs are increased. Likewise, a recycle loop is very inefficient as the energy used to compress the excess gas is completely wasted and the bypassed gas also has to be cooled.

Flow versus RPM and BHP versus RPM curves of the above 3-stage unit with the following operating conditions are shown in Fig. 1.
  • Suction pressure = 40 psig
  • Discharge pressure = 1000 psig
  • Required Flow = 6.69 MMSCFD

Frame: JGT/4
Stage 1: (2) 13-1/2ET, 13.500”
Stage 2: (1) 11-1/2ET, 11.500”
Stage 3: (1) 7-3/8ET, 7.000”
Fig. 1: Q-RPM and BHP-RPM curves of a 3-stage compressor at operating conditions Ps=40 psig, Pd=1000 psig. Required capacity (6.69 MMSCFD) can be reached by different methods summarized in Table 1.

The typical procedure of selecting the optimized operating speed based on the compressor performance curve (Fig. 2) is:
  1. Find performance curve with appropriate discharge pressure.
  2. Find desired suction pressure and capacity point on applicable curve.
  3. Ratio the desired capacity to the maximum capacity (i.e. highest performance curve) at the specific suction pressure.
  4. Check to make sure the ratio multiplied by the engine speed is within the minimum operating speed of the equipment. If ratio multiplied by the engine speed is below the minimum operating speed, select the next lowest uploading step and repeat.
  5. Configure the compressor for the maximum capacity unloading step and reduce the speed to the calculated RPM.
For instance, in the example of Fig. 2, maximum capacity at 1500 rpm is 8.16 MMSCFD. Therefore the desired capacity ratio and speed are 0.823 and 1235 RPM, respectively.

Desired Speed = Capacity Ratio x Max Speed = 0.823 x 1500 RPM = 1235 RPM

Frame: JGT/4
Stage 1: (2) 13-1/2ET, 13.500”
Stage 2: (1) 11-1/2ET, 11.500”
Stage 3: (1) 7-3/8ET, 7.000”
Fig. 2: Q-Ps performance curve of a three-stage compressor at 1500 RPM, Pd=1000 psig. Required capacity (6.69 MMSCFD) can be reached by operating at 1235 RPM and 0% VVCP.

Experienced Large & Small Horsepower Compressor Packager

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2013 has been another year filled with opportunity and growth for Compass Compression. Nearly 40% of our new package sales were large horsepower units, of which, 75% included Caterpillar 3600 series engines. In addition, 60% of our new package sales were smaller horsepower units including sub 1000 HP rotary screw, reciprocating and rotary vane compressor packages.

Between June and December we packaged seventeen, 2370 HP shale gas reciprocating compressor packages at one of our three facilities. Following are the major equipment specifications;
2370 HP Shale Gas Reciprocating Compressor Package
Major Equipment Specifications
Compressor Ariel JGC/4 four throw, two & three stage natural gas compressor
Drive Caterpillar 3608LE engine rated 2370 bhp @ 1000 rpm
Air Cooler Horizontal multi-fan forced draft cooler assembly
Control Panel PLC based control panels

Below are some other examples of units we engineered, designed and packaged in 2013:

Compass Compression has been in business for more than a decade and has one of the most comprehensive offerings in the business. With extensive product knowledge, in-depth industry experience, multiple manufacturing facilities, in-house engineering, design and fabrication as well as field services, package rentals and retrofit group, we are capable of meeting all of your compression needs whether they are small, large, domestic or international.

Please contact our technical sales team to determine your compression package requirements.
We also increased our assembly space by 67%, in 2013, for a total of 68,000 square feet split between three facilities.

Compass Compression's 40th Street Facility34,000 square feet of assembly space
Compass Compression's 53rd Avenue Facility28,000 square feet of assembly space
Compass Compression 94th Ave Facility16,000 square feet of assembly space

Compass Compression  |
Toll Free 1-855-262-2487 | Calgary 403-262-2487 | Dallas 972-233-0500
Screw Compressor Packages |  Reciprocating Compressor Packages |  Vane Compressor Packages

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Compass Compression's Distributorship Agreement with Ariel Expanded into Northern USA

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Compass Compression announced today its extended Ariel Corporation (“Ariel”) distributorship agreement for cold weather compression packaging into the Northern USA.

Since the appointment of Dave Cruttenden, Director of Business Development USA, and Compass Compression's original Ariel distributorship agreement in 2010, Compass Compression has provided Xtreme North cold weather compression packages to Northern USA. 

1380 HP Xtreme North Reciprocating Compressor Package

Ariel and Compass Compression have been working closely together with special consideration for each of these projects; this distributorship extension by Ariel streamlines the process and allows Compass Compression to provide customers an accelerated time to market.

“We are very excited to have our Ariel partnership extended,” said Dave Cruttenden, “In addition to our recent field service expansion into Northern USA it enhances Compass’ ability to supply and service our Xtreme North cold weather compression packages to our US customers.”

About Compass Compression's Xtreme North Packaging

Xtreme North Logo

Compass Compression’s Xtreme North package is fully enclosed, insulated and heated, making it perfect for cold weather environments around the world.

With an Xtreme North compression package you can expect reduced project costs, reduced field construction time, built in noise attenuation, spill containment, increased production, and extended economic life and recoverable equipment costs by avoiding cold weather related problems.

Get more information on Compass Compression's Xtreme North packaging.

1680 HP Xtreme North Reciprocating Compressor Package

Compass Compression is a growth oriented company focused on capability, response and partnership.  Our highly technical team and significantly expanded packaging capabilities bring in-depth industry knowledge and hands on experience to any compression project.  Compass Compression offers standard and custom screw, reciprocating and vane compressor packages between 5 and 8,000 HP, and also provides comprehensive field services, large horsepower compressor package rentals and a dedicated retrofit team.

Compass Compression's Field Service Map

Compass Compression's Fild Service Map

Ariel Corporation Logo

Ariel Corporation manufactures world standard compressors. Their goal is to manufacture a compressor that will work in the field for the maximum number of continuous hours.  Each Ariel compressor has been built upon the field-proven technology of its predecessor.

The Ariel name is well established, with a reputation for quality products and highly qualified distributors.  This is an ideal alliance between two companies committed to delivering the best possible solutions to customers.

To learn more, visit

Compass Compression Solutions Ltd.  |
Toll Free 1-855-262-2487 |  Dallas 972-233-0500 |  Calgary 403-262-2487