CAMBRIDGE — Representatives of the EQT Corporation told the Guernsey Energy Coalition about the company’s focus on safety when members held their 19th meeting earlier this year in Cambridge.
Jo Sexton, president of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, introduced representatives of EQT Corporation: Andrew Place, corporate director of energy and environmental policy; Jessica Carpenter, community advisor; and Nathaniel Manchin, manager of community relations.
The company has been in the business for more than 120 years, but does not intend to rest on its laurels.
Carpenter and Manchin presented a brief history of company, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules for gas and oil drilling, and its latest endeavor to promote an industry in its infancy in the United States.
Carpenter said it was her job to “make sure we do things the right way. I do the legwork to get you to the right person to answer your questions.”
“EQT has 10,000 acres here and one well operating in Spencer Township — for now,” said Manchin. “Our focus is on safety, natural gas fleet conversion, natural gas drilling rig conversion and “green completion” technology.
“We are very excited about natural gas conversion,” he said.
“The EQT Corp. not only talks the talk, we also walk the walk,” said Place, who explained to attendees how the company is in the forefront of converting its transportation fleet’s fuel source from diesel and regular gasoline to compressed natural gas.
“Natural gas vehicles is not a new thing. NGVs have been around for some time in other parts of the world. It just makes sense. We know that natural gas is cheaper. The cost, equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, is about $1.77. It cost me about $13 to fill up my company vehicle. The average mileage for a tank of natural gas is 250 miles.
“It’s cleaner. We know that emissions from carbon dioxide can be reduced 20 to 30 percent. Air emissions from diesel fuel, used primarily for trucks and school buses is eliminated, there is no odor. And, we have an abundance of domestic local fuel right in our own backyard.
“We have opened our first natural gas filling station in Pittsburgh which supplies fuel for 60 of our company vehicles. It is very popular for fleets — ours and others. We are encouraging other industries to convert their vehicles. We are scheduled to add 80 more vehicles this year and to replace up to 10 percent of our fleet each year to use compressed natural gas.
“It is cheap, easy as filling up at a regular gas station, and eases environmental concerns.”
Retrofitting a car to accommodate CNG is not cheap. Cost for an automobile is $2,000 to $3,000; double or triple that amount for trucks.
In regards to “green completion,” EQT’s natural gas drilling rig conversion is a priority.
Place said the EPA passed new rules in 2012 banning the practice of venting gas into the atmosphere without burning or flaring. The new process filters out fracking fluids, debris and sand. He said drillers will be required to convert their well operations by 2015.
The environmental benefit of retrofitting is a 27 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide, 86 percent reduction in carbon monoxide and 6 percent reduction in particulate matter. The sale the captured natural gas, an otherwise “wasted product,” could save gas and oil companies millions of dollars.
EQT has five gas wells in Green County that are already in compliance with the new policy.
When asked about the company’s future plans in Guernsey County, Place said “The Utica Play is a game changer ... We are committed to the region in substantial numbers. We are pretty sure how much natural gas is there and what’s going to be produced. That knowledge is what pays for the operation.”
EQT does not own rigs, wells, water trucks, drilling equipment or anything else that it takes to operate a site. The company contracts for services for everything from drilling and transporting natural gas to “cracker” plants, where the gas is separated into other liquids.
EQT Corporation is one of the largest and oldest natural gas producers in the Appalachian Basin operating in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and now Ohio, with 14,000 productive wells and 5.2 trillion cubic feet of total natural gas reserves, and growing.