Skip to comments.Natural gas wins place as oil field fuel
Posted on 09/28/2012 5:41:24 AM PDT by thackney
The biggest, baddest engines in the world, long chained to diesel fuel, are on the verge of a mass transformation because of cheap natural gas with oil field equipment holding particular potential, executives said Thursday during a summit of heavy fuel users and producers.
Heres the first reason that large engines are going gas, said JoelFeucht, director of gas engine strategy for Caterpillars energy and power systems division. Large engines burn the most fuel. I could try to make it harder, but thats pretty straightforward.
Oil companies alone use nearly 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year just for pressure pumping equipment that supports hydraulic fracturing, said David Hill, vice president of natural gas economy operations for Encana Corp. Adding the diesel used to power drilling rigs themselves, the total is more than 2.8 billion gallons annually, said Pierce Dehring, a project engineer for Baker Hughes.
A single fracturing job can involve 7,800 gallons of diesel, at a cost of as much as $5 a gallon at some oil field operations, said Pat Osachuk, an engineer for Encana.
The savings of natural gas, which now is around $2 cheaper for the energy-equivalent of one gallon of diesel, inspired a wave of interest at the High Horsepower Summit 2012, a conference dedicated to natural gas use in high-horsepower applications. Hundreds of company representatives packed into conference rooms at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston to hear about developing engine technology and various uses of natural gas in large engines.
Feucht said that Caterpillar, which makes large engines for oil field operations, mining trucks and other uses, is committed to being a leader in natural gas-powered products.
We just decided to go all in on gas, he told an audience that included scores of potential customers. So if youre waiting for someone to decide, let me just tell you that we decided. The products going to come.
A crowd packed into a conference room to hear about oil and gas drilling companies that were switching away from diesel power and seeing big savings.
One drilling rig running on diesel, for example, consumes about $4,653 worth of fuel a day, said Brian Murphy, an engineering manager for Ensign Energy Services. But a drilling rig using gas processed directly from the well site would have a fuel bill of $1,322 a day, he said.
Ensign, which operates 15 drilling rigs exclusively on natural gas, is developing ways to increase the fuel efficiency of rig operations to further cut the cost of the fuel, which does not produce power as efficiently as diesel, he said.
Advances on the horizon are likely to wipe out efficiency differences and result in an annual fuel savings of nearly $1.3 million per rig by using natural gas tapped and processed at the well site, Murphy said.
Other speakers said theyre working with bi-fuel pressure pumps that substitute natural gas for as much as 60 percent of their diesel use, resulting in substantial savings.
Dehring noted that the substitution also cuts carbon and particulate emissions.
While discussion at the conference included greater use of natural gas to power trains, trucks and ferries, energy industry players said the biggest financial gains could be made in the oil fields.
David Ross, director of business development for EQT Corp., said drilling and fracturing present greater opportunity for conversion from diesel to gas than ferries, long-haul trucks and train locomotives combined.
Oh, wait a sec...
When I broke out roughnecking in the early 50’s most drilling rigs in Oklahoma were power by butane or propane, but if we were near a natural gas pipeline we would hook up to it and buy gas from the pipeline company because it was much cheaper than propane.
With the huge amounts of fuel used in today’s frac jobs I am sure that the use of natural gas would help reduce costs.
OK. What kind of tricks is the libtard government going to come up with to make this more expensive, more difficult, or impossible?
Article says 40% of all energy consumed on drill sites goes to fracking pumps. I had no idea it was that high.
I’m sorry but I will have to drive a truck powered by natural gas to see if it has the nuts to pull the hills that my diesel motor can run right over.
Only then will I be a believer.
If it cannot compete with the diesel motor it isn’t saving me anything
A similar engine will get much less horsepower and torque with NG.
The Westport (WPRT) technology uses high pressure direct injection (HPDI) of natural gas and has very similar performance to diesel.
spark ignition is not as powerful...
Yes, if you take an engine and switch its fuel to one with lower energy content, it will have less power.
But if you use an engine designed and rated for Natural Gas, you will get the right power output. That engine will have more cubic inches than the same horsepower diesel engine.
Yep. The same is true for ethanol.
NG trucks are much more appealing than NG cars:
I think the the HPDI (high pressure) technology that is proprietary to Westport makes up for the lesser energy density of NG vs diesel.
Remember your freshman Chemistry:
PV=nRT (pressure * volume = number of moles * constant* temperature)
(Number of moles is the quantity of the gas.)
So with high pressure you can pack more fuel into the cylinder for combustion.
Of course you still need an engine designed for the higher pressures, so still a engine built for the natural gas, not an diesel or gasoline engine switched to Natural Gas.
“Of course you still need an engine designed for the higher pressures”-T
The high pressure fuel before combustion is in the combustion chamber or cylinder. These pressures are low in comparison to what is present after ignition, which drives the piston. Internal combustion engines are inherently designed to deal with high pressure in the combustion chamber.
My point is that there are several converted engines that work just fine. Ford is offering them now. Some of them are bi-fuel and work on CNG or gas. There is really no reason for a well-designed conversion to not work.