Noble Energy Evaluating LNG Dual Fuel

January 24, 2013 in E&P Operations, LNG by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Altronic-GTI on Caterpillars for Rigs in Colorado and Appalachia

Noble Energy, having demonstrated fuel cost savings of about $1.5 million per year as subcontractor Ensign used dedicated-LNG engines on two DJ Basin drill rigs in Colorado, is beginning tests of less capital-intensive dual fuel technology at two DJ basin and two Marcellus Shale drill sites. For both, Caterpillar 3512 engines were converted to liquefied natural gas-diesel dual fuel operation by BiFuel Power Solutions using upfit hardware from Altronic-GTI.

By bringing in and dispensing the fuel, Prometheus Energy is helping pioneer the LNG revolution.

“Overall the economics are very favorable,” Noble LNG and CNG development manager Curtis Rueter said at the World LNG Fuels conference in Houston.

“The interest is rising very very quickly,” said Ensign engineering manager Brian Murphy.

“The market’s growing by leaps and bounds,” Prometheus Energy LNG supply director Matt Barclay said at the Tuesday conference session. Prometheus supplied the fuel for the dedicated-LNG Noble-Ensign trials.

“The dedicated LNG program used Cat 3516s for the genset,” Rueter says – LNG-powered Caterpillar engines driving a generator to make electricity for the actual drill. “These rigs moved all over the Wattenberg field within the DJ Basin,” Rueter told HHP Insight, “basically northeast of Denver up toward Greeley (as well as the area surrounding Greeley).”


The new dual fuel tests will be in the same Colorado area, Rueter says. Encana is supplying the LNG fuel for the DJ Basin duel fuel tests.

The Marcellus rigs, operated by Precision Drilling, are running on diesel as a supply of LNG is arranged.

Looking to displace even more diesel with natural gas, Noble is talking with Halliburton and Baker Hughes about LNG for hydraulic fracturing with an eye to tests this year, Rueter said in Houston.

“Everywhere we use diesel,” he said, “We’re asking the question, ‘Can we use natural gas?’”

Also mentioned at the E&P session in Houston: Caterpillar engines in development, for 2014, for natural gas-fueled offshore engine applications, and the use of Westport Innovations-style high pressure direct injection technology for oilfield engines. HDPI allows greater diesel displacement than fumigation-type dual fuel systems.

“It’s a clear opportunity for HPDI and it’s really just a matter of time,” said Paul Blomerus of Westport, the Tuesday session moderator.

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Source: HHP Insight on-the-scene conference coverage

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