Cummins for PGE-Universal Fracking

February 7, 2013 in Dual Fuel, E&P Operations by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

QSK50 Engines Being Converted for Dual Fuel in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania General Energy and Universal Well Services are using Cummins QSK50 engines converted to dual fuel operation with Cummins kits for hydraulic fracturing. The target is 70% diesel displacement.

More than a dozen frack pump engines like these are being converted by Universal Well Services and Cummins to run on a dual-fuel blend to support PGE’€™s operations in Lycoming County, Pa.

PGE and Universal say they’re are on schedule to convert one-third of the fracking engines by mid-February, “with plans to achieve a 100% conversion by May 1.” They plan to put five engines into operation at a PGE well this month, using field gas transported via the PGE pipeline network. The converted equipment will be used at PGE locations in the Tiadaghton State Forest in Pennsylvania’s Lycoming County.

A total of 18 pumps are involved, says Shane Cannon of Cummins, who is helping spread the word about the resource-saving project.

Pipelines for water and natural gas help reduce the amount of truck traffic into frack spreads like this one in Pennsylvania.

Duel fuel pares diesel use, and the pipeline transfer of economical field gas helps cut back on the number of trucks necessary to support hydraulic fracturing in sensitive areas.

“By using a pipeline system for transporting water and natural gas required at its well locations, PGE has taken approximately 165 trucks off the road each day for the drilling and completion of an average unconventional well,” the company says. “When the hydraulic fracturing operation is fully converted to the bi-fuel system, an additional 20 trucks will be removed from area roadways.”

“Benefits,” says a release, “begin with a savings of 7.72 gallons of diesel fuel by replacing that fuel with the equivalent of one thousand cubic feet of natural gas.”

“PGE has already worked with Helmerich & Payne in developing a purpose built bi-fuel rotary drilling rig to use natural gas, saving more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel each day starting in early 2012,” PGE president and CEO Douglas Kuntz said in the PGE-Universal announcement.

“Applying this new technology to our fracturing operations,” he said, “will more than double that reduction of diesel fuel.

Drilling, then Fracking

“Reducing the amount of diesel by replacing it with cleaner natural gas, produced right here in Pennsylvania, is something that will become more commonplace thanks to conversions like these. In PGE’s case, we estimate we will use 750,000 gallons less diesel fuel each year through this new technology,” Kuntz said. “That’s fuel that can be saved.”

According to universal president Roger Willis, “The process of effectively implementing an engineered solution to allow for the use of natural gas in hydraulic fracturing while maintaining the torque and horsepower achieved with an all-diesel engine was a technical challenge our entire team embraced.”

The firms have found that a bi-fuel mix made up of approximately 70% natural gas and 30% diesel fuel in a 2,250-horsepower engine “achieved the amount of compression and torque necessary to create pressures required for hydraulic fracturing.”

PGE says its that because of its pipeline network, it is “uniquely positioned to use natural gas.”

“Natural gas from these lines can fuel the rotary drilling rig while the well is being drilled, as well as the hydraulic fracturing operations to complete the well.”

Universal Well Services is a unit of Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ:PTEN).

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Source: PGE-Universal release and Cummins with HHP Insight follow-up

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