The EPA has granted mobile certification to two of General Electric’s Waukesha gas engine models, approval the company says will accelerate the displacement of diesel for on-site energy used by the oil and gas drilling industry.
Drilling companies are already switching from diesel- to natural gas-powered engines to run their oil field equipment, GE says. The trend has sped up across the US and Canada because natural gas is cheaper and produces lower emissions. The GE Waukesha engine models also operate on field gas, which provides significant savings.
The use of Waukesha natural gas engines at drilling sites can save operators as much as 80 percent in fuel costs when field gas is used compared to diesel, GE says. That translates to more than $700,000 in annual savings for each rig conversion. The engines also run on liquefied natural gas.
The move to natural gas engines that use three-way catalyst technology also helps drillers lower their environmental footprint by 95 percent.
GE officials met in late July with Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, to discuss the EPA’s proposed emissions rules for new power plants, the Hill reports. GE makes gas turbines, and is warning of “potential unintended consequences of overly stringent gas standards.”
Earlier this year, GE announced plans to build a $110 million research center in Oklahoma to study oil and gas extraction technologies including hydraulic fracturing.
GE Oil & Gas is the company’s fastest-growing business, with revenues of more than $15 billion and earnings and new orders having each grown 16 percent in 2012, the company says.