Dual-fuel engines, which use diesel fuel to ignite natural gas, are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., where they are often used to power drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing spreads, says a new Navigant Research report. The report examines the market for such engines in oil and gas exploration and production (E&P), and it notes the technology reduces the amount of diesel fuel used in these applications and allows for the use of field gas that would otherwise be flared off.
According to the report, the U.S. E&P market's annual dual-fuel engine revenue is expected to grow to more than $58.1 million by 2024.
“Dual-fuel engines can make refueling easier and can also utilize a variety of fuel blends, thus increasing flexibility,” says Anne Wrobetz, research associate with Navigant Research. “In the United States, the market for this technology is expected to continue to grow, driven mostly by the perceived price security of using domestic fuels and from operating cost reductions for on-site field gas.”
The report says that because a traditional drill rig can require upward of $2.5 million a year in diesel fuel, using natural gas, whether liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas, or field gas, yields significant savings. According to the report, dual-fuel engines can reduce the total amount of diesel fuel used by up to 70%.