Natural Gas Engines Replace Diesel On Drilling Rigs

Lower costs, reduced emissions drive innovative partnership

HOUSTON, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- With diesel prices remaining high, Antero Resources and Patterson-UTI Drilling were seeking a viable option to reduce fuel costs, a major expense when operating drilling rigs. That's when the companies considered an innovative solution: the Waukesha VHP L7044GSI. Offered by GE's Waukesha gas engines and Waukesha-Pearce Industries, the rich-burn engine is 100% natural-gas-fired, reducing fuel costs while also meeting stringent state and federal mobile emissions guidelines.


The four companies recently finalized the first installation of three L7044GSIs with a well completion in Harrison County, W. Va., and plans are in the works to replace diesel engines powering drilling rigs in multiple other locations.

"The low cost nature of switching to natural gas-fired rigs versus the conventional diesel-fired rigs and the intense focus on reduced emissions make the Series Four 7044 a terrific choice. When considering investment in new equipment or improvements to existing equipment, reduced emissions and cost-saving solutions have been identified by Antero as a major area of opportunity," said Kevin Kilstrom, vice president of Production for Antero Resources. "GE and WPI worked with us to identify a solution and all indications suggest this engine, with its fuel gas tolerance and no load bank requirements, provide those solutions and offer operational benefits including reduced fuel truck traffic at the drill site through consumption of a local Appalachian fuel source."

"The L7044GSI can be easily exchanged with existing rig power generation drivers, almost to the point that they're 'plug and play,' as we've seen in this project.  And it offers great cost advantages of natural gas versus diesel and dual-fuel, with natural gas available at less than half the price of diesel. Plus, you can reduce diesel transportation costs and potential liability because the engine can run on a much greater variation of readily available fuel sources, using everything from dry field gas to pipeline gas, including LNG and propane," added Fred Stow, director of sales for WPI.

Maintenance schedule helps reduce total cost of ownership

The L7044GSI gas engines also boast a reduced maintenance schedule versus other spark ignited and diesel engines, increasing its appeal to drill operators. "Compared to other spark-ignited lean-burn engines, rich-burn engines operate at lower cylinder pressures, providing longer operational times between oil changes, top-end overhauls and complete overhauls. This extends the service life of the engine to provide a higher rate of return on investment for the operational horsepower needs," said Brian White, president of GE's Waukesha gas engines.

Fuel flexibility also reduces emissions

With performance ratings at altitudes up to 8,000 feet with no de-rate, the L7044GSI uses Non-Selective Catalyst Reduction (NSCR) technology — commonly referred to as a Three Way Catalyst (TWC) — achieving NOx, CO2 and VOC values much lower than lean-burn engines, which typically must be equipped with an expensive Selective Catalysis System (SCS) to meet emissions requirements. As NOx permitting requirements approach 0.5g/BHP/hour and below, rich-burn engines equipped with TWCs operate more cost effectively and provide greater return on investment.

While CO2 is the most significant greenhouse gas addressed globally, methane has 21 times the effect on the atmosphere, an advantage for rich-burn engines as they produce substantially less methane than other options. And since the EPA requires the inclusion of both CO2 and methane in carbon calculations, rich-burn engines deliver a better greenhouse gas profile. Further, formaldehyde emissions (the most significant of all the hazardous air pollutants emitted by engines) can be 10% less when using a rich-burn engine.

"We firmly believe the natural gas solution will give drilling contractors a reason to consider the L7044GSI for a number of reasons," said WPI's Stow. "It operates with a wide margin for both knock and misfire and has a high tolerance for fuel composition. At lower NOx levels, lean-burn engines operate in an increasingly narrow window, and that limits fuel flexibility and makes them more sensitive to site conditions. This is an engine that has the power to change an industry."

Additional technical information about the L7044GSI is available at

About GE Power & Water

GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar; biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world's most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Numerous products are qualified under ecomagination, GE's commitment to providing innovative solutions that maximize resources, drive efficiencies and help make the world work better. Power & Water's seven business units include Aeroderivative Gas Turbines; Gas Engines; Nuclear Energy; Power Generation Services; Renewable Energy; Thermal Products and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE's largest industrial business.

About Antero Resources

Antero Resources is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas properties primarily located in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our website is located at

About Patterson-UTI

Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. subsidiaries provide onshore contract drilling and pressure pumping services to exploration and production companies in North America. Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC and its subsidiaries have more than 300 marketable land-based drilling rigs and operate primarily in oil and natural gas producing regions in the continental United States, Alaska, and western and northern Canada.

About Waukesha-Pearce Industries

Since 1924, WPI has partnered with world-class manufacturers to provide equipment and service solutions across a multitude of applications. With highly skilled technicians in 30 states, WPI effectively addresses and resolves runtime challenges, striving to surpass customer needs through maximized uptime.

Texas-based WPI and Canada-based Gas Drive International are exclusive North American distributors of GE's Waukesha gas engines, with strategically located operations that enhance the ability to offer customers timely and efficient support.

Media Contact:

Leslie Holland Power Creative, 502-523-2734,

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SOURCE Antero Resources



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