Natural gas winning place as new oil field fuel
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, reports The Houston Chronicle. The newspaper quoted executives gathered Thursday in Houston in the middle of a three-day summit of heavy fuel users and producers. "Here's the first reason that large engines are going gas: large engines burn the most fuel. I could try to make it harder, but that's pretty straightforward," says Joel Feucht, director of gas engine strategy for Caterpillar's energy and power systems division. Oil companies alone use nearly 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year just for pressure pumping equipment that supports hydraulic fracturing, says David Hill, vice president of natural gas economy operations for Encana Corp. After the diesel used to power drilling rigs themselves has been added to the equation, the total is more than 2.8 billion gallons annually, says 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. Check out the full story here.
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