HOUSTON – Baker Hughes Incorporated, through its subsidiary Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, has converted a fleet of its Rhino hydraulic fracturing units to bi-fuel pumps as a way to improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce health, safety, and environmental impacts.
The new pumps use a mixture of natural gas and diesel, reducing diesel use by up to 65 percent with no loss of hydraulic horsepower. The converted fleet, which meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards, also can reduce a number of emissions including nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter, according to the company.
Baker Hughes first converted a small fleet of its units in Canada. When results there were successful, the decision was made to convert an entire fleet in the U.S. The global oilfield services company is in the process of converting several more fleets of Rhino trucks to Rhino bi-fuel equipment. Additionally, Baker Hughes has a test program in Oklahoma, where a number of light-duty vehicles have been converted to natural gas.
"Baker Hughes has seen excellent results with this initiative," said Mike Davis, Baker Hughes' president of Pressure Pumping for U.S. Land. "The environmental benefits are significant. We're reducing emissions from the engines driving the stimulation pumps and less fuel is needed to keep our pumps going. In addition, this has the added value of improving job site safety by eliminating re-fueling demands during operations."
Using the converted Rhino Bifuel units, Baker Hughes recently completed a hydraulic fracturing job in the Eagle Ford Shale for Cheyenne Petroleum Company. Cheyenne was interested in using some of the converted units given the potential savings by cutting diesel consumption, as well as the long-term reduction in emissions. Baker Hughes was able to pump 35 stages using three of the converted Rhinos during each stage. Throughout the job, Baker Hughes saw a 65-percent substitution (diesel fuel was replaced with liquefied natural gas) rate with no loss of horsepower. By substituting natural gas into the converted diesel engine, the bi-fuel alternative can operate twice as long as engines running solely with the on-board diesel.
"The use of the converted Rhino Bifuel units was transparent during the job," said Greg Presley, Cheyenne Petroleum Company's senior operations engineer. "The job pumped the same as a 100-percent diesel job with many environmental benefits."