Leveraging Marcellus Shale Natural Gas to Power Our Cars…and Rigs

There continues to be a great deal of national debate about how best to strengthen America’s energy security and provide consumers with more access to affordable energy while also identifying ways to protect our environment.

Across the Appalachia, the Marcellus Shale continues to provide real solutions to all of these pressing challenges. Using more clean-burning American natural gas – which is safely and responsibly developed to ensure our air and water resources are safeguarded – is a reality. The winners? Consumers, our environment and America’s ability to competitively compete in the global marketplace.

Today, in fact, EQT Corporation – a Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) member – announced the launch of a “pilot program to convert Marcellus drilling rigs to” liquefied natural gas, or LNG. This from their release:

EQT Corporation today announced the launch of a pilot program to begin converting drilling rigs to liquefied natural gas (LNG), displacing the diesel used to power equipment at the well site. This program marks the first LNG rig conversion in the Marcellus Shale and will provide a cleaner burning alternative fuel for the region’s drilling operations.

“We want to be a leader in reducing the environmental impacts related to drilling and we are proud to be the first operator in the Marcellus to launch such a program,” states Steve Schlotterbeck, President Exploration and Production for EQT. “Along with safety, protection of the environment is top-of-mind for our employees, contractors, and of course communities. We continually look for opportunities to improve our operations and displacing diesel, by introducing the use of alternatives such as LNG and field gas, is one way of doing so,” Schlotterbeck continued.

In EQT’s release, the company underscores the important fact that “the use of LNG also provides another means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil imports – with sourcing coming from various U.S. shale plays.” Further, “The LNG being used for EQT’s pilot program is produced locally from Marcellus natural gas reserves,” according the release.

And thanks to commonsense efforts by EQT, as well as a host of other MSC members, the region continues to realize the clear benefits of using American natural gas to fuel our growing transportation needs. Under the headline “Searching For Savings, Drivers Turn To Natural Gas,” StateImpactPA reports that “right now the gallon-equivalent of compressed natural gas costs less than  half as much as a gallon of gasoline.”

In the July 4 story, Scott Detrow highlights Governor Corbett’s leadership on this critical issue and the fact that  “nat­ural gas-run vehi­cles release far fewer emis­sions into the air than gaso­line or diesel cars and trucks” and that “they’re also a step, he argues, in the direc­tion of Amer­i­can energy independence.”

This from the story about MSC member company Waste Management’s compressed natural gas (CNG) efforts:

The con­ver­sion is hap­pen­ing in Wash­ing­ton County, where Waste Man­age­ment parks a fleet of more than thirty CNG-fueled garbage trucks. The com­pany is in the midst of a national effort to con­vert all its vehi­cles to nat­ural gas.

By the end of 2012, it will be halfway done with the goal — at least within its Wash­ing­ton County fleet. “In 2011 we got 23 CNG trucks. In 2012 we should get another 18,” dis­trict man­ager Rich Mogan told StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia. “By the end of the year we’ll have 45 to 50.”

In the simplest and truest of terms, safe, responsible natural gas development is Building a Stronger, More Secure America.