Advances in hydraulic fracturing technology have powered the American natural gas boom. Now hydraulic fracturing could be increasingly powered by natural gas.
Companies from Pennsylvania to Texas are experimenting with changing the huge engines that pump water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet down wells from diesel to natural gas.
Drillers say fueling their drilling with natural gas will make drilling cheaper and eliminate the sooty exhaust of diesel engines.
Douglas Kuntz of Pennsylvania General Energy predicts the change will spread rapidly across the industry.
PGE, with contractor Universal Well Services, is converting a 16-engine unit. Meanwhile, Houston-based Apache says it just completed its first job with a natural gas and diesel-powered engine unit in Oklahoma.