EQT Corporation recently announced that it has commissioned a second drilling rig powered by natural gas. This second rig uses gas from on-site production to lower fuel costs and reduce truck traffic related to diesel deliveries, which in turn lessens the overall environmental footprint.
At an operating well site in Wetzel County, WV, EQT Production crews tapped the well line and commissioned a gas conditioning skid that was designed by a team of EQT Midstream engineers. The conditioned gas is then safely piped to the generators powering the drilling rig operations.
“By using field gas, we’re able to reduce environmental impacts significantly by using a cleaner burning fuel and decreasing the need for diesel,” said Richard Hill EVP of Drilling and Completions Operations for EQT. “We’re continually looking for opportunities to make our operations greener and more efficient, and developing ways to use field gas is one way to make that happen.”
This new process means a 50 percent reduction in diesel truck traffic to the site. Hill estimates the fuel savings at $400,000 a year, and the protection of the environment it affords has an even greater return. Compared to diesel, natural gas emits between 20 percent and 30 percent less carbon dioxide and has a fraction of the emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulates.
This year, EQT launched a pilot program to begin converting drilling rigs to natural gas. The first rig was commissioned in June and operates on liquefied natural gas (LNG), displacing diesel used to power equipment at the well site. This drilling rig marked the first LNG rig conversion in the Marcellus Shale and provides a cleaner burning alternative fuel for the region’s drilling operations. EQT’s initial rig conversion continues to operate in Northern West Virginia.
EQT plans to utilize natural gas to power equipment at more drilling sites in the future, with additional rig conversions slated for 2013.