GE’s Gas Engines Powering First LNG-Fueled Drilling Rigs In Giant Unconventional Gas Field

To reduce the environmental impacts and improve the economic performance of their U.S. unconventional gas production activities, energy developer Seneca Resources Corp. and drilling partner Ensign Drilling have installed two of GE’s (NYSE: GE) Jenbacher gas engines to power the first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fueled drilling rigs of their kind in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania.

Seneca converted the power plants of two existing diesel-powered rigs to use cleaner-burning LNG in GE’s 1-megawatt Jenbacher J320 turbocharged natural gas engines. The Jenbacher units were combined with Ensign Drilling-designed rig packages to provide all the electricity needed by each drilling rig. The J320 represents GE’s first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified technology for mobile and stationary drilling applications.

Seneca Resources is a wholly owned exploration and production subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, while Ensign Drilling is one of the world's leading land-based drillers and well servicing providers for crude oil, natural gas and geothermal projects. Prometheus Energy Group, one of North America’s largest and fastest growing industrial LNG suppliers, is Seneca Resources’ turnkey supplier of the LNG and related equipment and services.

In October 2012, Seneca Resources and Ensign Drilling converted their first rig, which is operating in Lycoming County, Pa. The second rig was converted to LNG in November 2012 and was assigned to Seneca’s Marcellus Shale gas leases in Forest, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties.

The gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation is located in sections of Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.

“We are excited to work with our partner Seneca Resources to implement this innovative project that is using LNG in GE’s proven Jenbacher gas engines to reduce the environmental impacts of energy production while giving communities in Pennsylvania the opportunity to share in the economic benefits of developing the Marcellus Shale gas reserves,” said Robert Geddes, president and CEO of Ensign Drilling.

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