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First Use of NG to Power Equipment for Hydraulic Fracturing

Source: 5/20/2013, Location: North America

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation announces the use of Marcellus Shale natural gas to fracture wells via innovative dual fuel technology. This marks the first time "field" gas has been used in northeastern Pennsylvania for this purpose. The process of using clean-burning natural gas can displace up to 70 percent of the diesel fuel traditionally used to operate fracturing equipment. This successful effort was a partnership with FTS International (FTSI) and Caterpillar Global Petroleum.

Use of dual fuel technology, where the engines operate on a mixture of natural gas and a small portion of diesel, provides several benefits:

- Reduced air emissions for a cleaner environment, due to a reduction in diesel usage
- Reduced truck traffic when field gas at or near the well site is used due to a reduction in the transportation of diesel fuel to site
- Reduced costs, as natural gas can be a less expensive fuel option than diesel, providing potential cost savings for the industry and for energy consumers

"Cabot is continually searching for ways to utilize cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology during our operations," explained Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer for Cabot. "We are already converting our vehicle fleet and currently have a drilling rig using natural gas as well, so the next step is to utilize the technology on a hydraulic fracturing site."

In order to operate using natural gas, FTSI's mobile pressure pumping unit at the site was retrofitted with a Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) kit from Caterpillar. The system enables substitution of diesel fuel with natural gas during high pressure pumping operations and is compatible with field gas, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

FTSI Chief Executive Officer Greg Lanham said, "This is a terrific example of the oil and gas industry working together to develop and implement innovative technologies that are both environmentally conscious and operationally efficient. FTSI has been evaluating dual fuel conversion technologies for the last year to identify the best solution for our well completion fleets. Our goal is to increase efficiencies for our customers while ensuring the safety and equipment reliability our customers expect from FTSI."

"Caterpillar is pleased that the Cat Dynamic Gas Blend system has performed exceptionally well and met FTSI and Cabot's expectations," Bart Myers Caterpillar Global Petroleum product director commented. "The Cat well stimulation DGB system makes no compromise with performance, safety, and reliability while burning a mixture of diesel and natural gas fuels. User feedback has been very positive regarding engine performance, and the integrated safety features of the Cat DGB system."

"We congratulate Cabot on this remarkable accomplishment of using clean and abundant natural gas from the production process for an extensive hydraulic fracturing operation," said America's Natural Gas Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Marty Durbin. "Cabot's commitment to using natural gas to power its own operations is another in a long list of cost-effective and smart decisions ANGA members all over this country are making to use their own natural gas resources to save money, contribute to air quality improvements, and put an American fuel to work."

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