Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. said it is using natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Susquehanna County, Pa., to fracture wells via dual-fuel technology in a process that can displace as much as 70% of the diesel fuel traditionally used to operate hydraulic fracturing equipment.
The dual-fuel technology involves engines operating on a mixture of natural gas and diesel. The effort was a partnership with FTS International (FTSI) and Caterpillar Global Petroleum, Cabot said. Benefits are said to include:
• Reduced air emissions for a cleaner environment, due to a reduction in diesel usage.
• Reduced truck traffic when field gas at or near the well site is used due to a reduction in the transportation of diesel fuel to site.
• Reduced costs, as natural gas can be a less expensive fuel option than diesel, providing potential cost savings for industry and consumers.
“Cabot is continually searching for ways to utilize cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology during our operations,” said Dan O. Dinges, Cabot chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “We are already converting our vehicle fleet and currently have a drilling rig using natural gas as well, so the next step is to utilize the technology on a hydraulic fracturing site.”
In order to operate using natural gas, FTSI’s mobile pressure pumping unit at the site was retrofitted with a dynamic gas blending kit from Caterpillar. The system enables substitution of diesel fuel with natural gas during high-pressure pumping operations and is compatible with field gas, CNG, and LNG.