Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. has launched a pilot program to begin converting drilling rigs to liquefied natural gas (LNG), displacing the diesel used to power equipment at the well site.
This marks the first LNG rig conversion in the Marcellus Shale and will provide a cleaner burning alternative fuel for the region’s drilling operations.
“We want to be a leader in reducing the environmental impacts related to drilling,” said Steve Schlotterbeck, president, Exploration & Production for EQT. “Along with safety, protection of the environment is top-of-mind for our employees, contractors, and of course communities. We continually look for opportunities to improve our operations and displacing diesel, by introducing the use of alternatives such as LNG and field gas, is one way of doing so.”
LNG, if exposed, evaporates quickly and leaves no residue on water or soil. Compared to diesel, natural gas emits between 20-30% less carbon dioxide and has a fraction of the emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulates.
There are other LNG benefits, such as a reduction in fuel costs – with LNG being about 40% less expensive than diesel. EQT’s initial rig conversion is now operating in northern West Virginia; and pending evaluation of the pilot program, the company hopes to convert additional rigs in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.