Apache to Use CNG in Permian Basin

June 4, 2014 in CNG, Dual Fuel, E&P Operations by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Certarus Plant Will Support Patterson-UTI Cat 3512s with DGB

Apache Corp is preparing to step up the use of compressed natural gas for its drilling operations, working with Canada’s Certarus and Patterson-UTI Drilling in the Barnhart area of Irion County, Texas, in the Permian Basin.

Three Patterson-UTI rigs powered by Caterpillar 3512 diesel engines will be upfitted with Caterpillar’s DGB (dynamic gas blending) kits to enable them to operate on a mix of natural gas and diesel fuel, Apache says.

a Patterson-UTI drill rig

a Patterson-UTI drill rig

Apache says it “plans to have six rigs operating in this manner by year-end, displacing an anticipated 50% to 70% of the diesel fuel requirement with natural gas.”

‘We Significantly Lower Our Fuel Costs’

Apache is preparing a site on company land next to an existing EnLink gas plant in Garden City, Texas for a Certarus high flow-rate CNG installation.

Apache will arrange an extension from the gas plant’s high-pressure pipeline, install the metering and complete all necessary site work. Certarus will employ twin 300-horsepower IMW compressors to fill tube trailers for delivery of CNG to the drilling sites.

“The massive development of unconventional resource plays with horizontal drilling has created an abundant domestic supply of clean-burning and economic natural gas,” Apache Permian region VP Michael Bose says in a release. “By transforming our drilling rigs to utilize natural gas power, we significantly lower our fuel costs and reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.

Early Autumn Start-Up

“With our experience powering drilling rigs with a blend of natural gas and diesel fuel, we can assure Apache that this transformation should be very successful,” said Patterson-UTI marketing VP Doyce Haney.

The high flow-rate CNG unit should be operational by early fall 2014 to begin bulk CNG delivery to the Apache drilling rigs, says Frank Chapel, natural gas transportation fuels director for Apache. He describes Certarus and Patterson-UTI Drilling as “world class partners” and said, “Their previous experience should be of great benefit in assuring a successful implementation.”

Certarus said that it looks forward “to providing CNG to other E&P companies in the Permian Basin for their drilling rig and hydraulic fracturing engines.”

Apache has previously disclosed work with Schlumberger on CNG-powered fracking in the Granite Wash formation in Oklahoma (HHPi, January 8, 2013).

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Source: Apache Corporation with HHP Insight follow-up

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