Natural gas engines replace diesel on drilling rigs
HOUSTON -- Independent E&P company Antero Resources and onshore contractor Patterson-UTI Drilling have finalized the first installation of a natural-gas-fired engine with a well completion in Harrison County, W.Va. The two companies, seeking a viable option to reduce rising diesel fuel costs, opted to power their drilling rig with a rich-burn Waukesha VHP L7044GSI.
The engines, offered by GE’s Waukesha gas engines and Waukesha-Pearce Industries, meets stringent state and federal mobile emissions guidelines. The four companies have plans to replace existing diesel engines on drilling rigs in multiple other locations.
The natural-gas-burning Waukesha engines both reduce emissions and cut costs at the drill site, and can be powered by local fuel sources in the Appalachian Basin, including dry field gas, pipeline gas, LNG and propane. The gas engines have a reduced maintenance schedule when compared with other spark-ignited and diesel engines, and offer longer operational times between oil changes and overhauls.
The Waukesha engines are performance rated at altitudes up to 8,000 ft and use non-selective catalyst reduction technology to achieve lower NOx, CO₂ and VOC emission values than lean-burn engines. The rich-burn gas engines also produce substantially less methane than traditional options. Because the EPA requires the inclusion of both CO₂ and methane in carbon calculations, rich-burn engines deliver a better greenhouse gas profile.