Drilling pads with lower OPEX, reduced carbon footprint and higher safety

Drilling pads with lower OPEX, reduced carbon footprint, and higher safety

Pad drilling has been around for over a decade across various drilling sites, and has already revolutionized drilling operations and the oil and gas industry overall. Its initial benefits around avoidance of cost associated with moving the drilling equipment was later coupled with increased hydrocarbon production, thanks to the ability to drill in batches. Today, pad drilling is the norm across many drilling sites. 

Given how pad drilling has favorably impacted the operational expenses (OPEX) of drilling contractors and the oil and gas industry, you might be asking yourself: how can drillers further reduce OPEX, but also improve safety and sustainability? 

The answer to this question comes from the application of proven technologies from other sectors in the oil and gas industry; let’s start with microgrids.

Microgrid powered drilling sites have reduced carbon footprint

Microgrids have already been in operation across many facilities ranging from healthcare campuses to mining sites. In a nutshell, a microgrid is a local energy system capable of producing (potentially storing), and distributing energy to the facilities and equipment within the network. You can find out how microgrids work and their benefits in our previous article

At a drilling site, microgrids can help operators integrate renewable energy sources such as solar panels and windmills into their power generation mix. In this scenario, intelligent control systems track the demand of the drilling site, monitor the production of power through different assets, and make smart choices on which power producing assets to use when. 

Microgrids could provide the energy needed at a drilling site through distributed energy resources (DERs)

The immediate benefit of microgrids at a drilling site is sustainability, reducing the use of fossil fuels. The secondary advantage of microgrids at a drilling site is economics; since the use of renewables while they are available could reduce the OPEX for the drilling contractors. 

Connected drill pads will deliver improved safety and financial benefits

Connectivity is already being deployed by many industries to address opportunities ranging from reliability to customer and product support. Our previous article details  how connectivity and digitization solve different problems depending upon your power systems’ utilization profile

For drilling pads, connectivity offers two-folded benefits. First is critical for every drilling contractor: safety. Thanks to the new digital products embedded in equipment including engines and power systems, the need for an actual driller to be on the rig during drilling is being minimized. Instead, the drillers can manage the majority of the operation from an office. Second benefit is around financials; with low risk comes the low cost associated with managing that risk, in the form of lower OPEX.

These connectivity solutions vary in their capabilities. The entry level systems offer remote monitoring and diagnostics; for example, your power system’s oil pressure is low and here are possible causes. The more advanced systems offer condition-based-maintenance (CBM) and prognostics. These systems can notify operators before an issue rises, and can even recommend ways to mitigate the forecasted issue.

Drilling sites to be powered by a diverse set of fuels instead of being diesel-heavy 

Today, diesel is the primary fuel used to power drilling operations, from the rigs to the nearby facilities and vehicles. Meanwhile, two technologies are increasingly becoming prominent to create drilling sites powered by a diverse set of fuels: dual fuel and hydrogen. The underlying benefit within dual fuel is the use of gaseous fuels in addition to diesel; which results in reduced OPEX and environmental impact. Use of hydrogen takes sustainability to the next level as the emission of any greenhouse gases is reduced drastically. 

We will cover these two technologies and e-fracking in more detail within upcoming articles.

The oil and gas industry is well positioned to take advantage of technologies that have succeeded within other sectors in recent years. The tested and proofed nature of these technologies minimize the risk for the industry. Meanwhile, their benefits ranging from reduced OPEX and improved safety to reduced carbon footprint deliver tangible outcomes for the industry.

To learn more about oil and gas power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Dispelling Myths: SCR and DEF simplicity in the Oil & Gas market

SCR and DEF complexity in the Oil & Gas market

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems are not a new concept in every industry. The emissions regulation option first appeared in the on-highway space in 2012 and is slowly creeping into the industrial spaces. In the Oil & Gas industry, Cummins has made the switch to supporting EPA Tier 4 emissions standards by implementing SCR systems. 

But making this advancement in such a mature industry can be a big change for both manufacturers and for customers. When the products have looked, operated, and felt the same way for decades, a change like this one can seem to disrupt daily functions. However, Cummins is here to dispel any myths or misunderstandings about SCR systems that could make customers weary about this newer technology. 

First, why are SCR systems that require Diesel Exhaust Fluid necessary?

Without getting too technical, EPA Tier 4 emissions standards for Oil & Gas applications that provide 700hp or less require a chemical reaction that only SCR systems can support. SCR systems operate as an aftertreatment system that reduces the emissions produced from the engine. This is done through a chemical reaction completed within the tank that requires diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Essentially, the exhaust enters the SCR system and, when combined with DEF, removes the carbon monoxide from the fumes and emits a fraction of the emissions that would occur without the aftertreatment system. 

Okay, what kind of system is the SCR replacing?

The alternative to an SCR system is an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system. EGR options also act as an aftertreatment system to strip the exhaust of carbon monoxide and therefore reducing emissions. However, the EGR process cannot clean the fumes produced by an engine enough to meet EPA Tier 4 standards at rating below 700hp. At the moment, EPA Tier 4 requirements are only in place for products 700hp or less so EGR systems are still a viable market option above this horsepower range. 

What is DEF and why is it required for SCR and not EGR?

DEF is a solution used with SCR systems in order to spark the chemical reaction that strips exhaust fumes of higher levels of carbon monoxide. This solution is what allows businesses to meet the more stringent emissions requirements that EGR systems cannot currently accommodate. 

Does requiring DEF for my SCR system create more complexity in my application and is it more expensive?

No, SCR systems that use DEF are not more complex, require little to no extra effort and will not cost you more money in the long run.

DEF tanks come in various sizes to accommodate your operation. Whether that is a shift change after 12 hours, or between frac stages to be refilled if necessary, so as not to interrupt the any sequences of your operation. This event becomes seamless once it is introduced and your employees become fully trained.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid

SCR systems are not only better for the environment, but in the long run they are a more cost-efficient investment. The engines run cooler, achieve better fuel consumption rates and don’t require midlife overhaul injection changes. Even if you consider the price of DEF per gallon, Cummins SCR system is more economical than most competitor products on the market. 

Are there downsides to using DEF in SCR systems?

The largest drawback to using DEF is that the solution can freeze, which doesn’t exactly make it optimal for cold weather conditions. However, the DEF that is actually in the units during operation has a thermal system to ensure the solution maintains its liquid state. Additionally, for the DEF storage that will be on-site, related industries are creating pieces that can be placed at the location to keep DEF thawed. 

In the event that the DEF supporting the SCR system does freeze, the system will continue to operate as normal and EPA Tier 4 emissions requirements allow a 45-minute grace period for the DEF to be thawed. 

SCR products are going to continue to be a valuable force for change in industries where emissions are of utmost importance. Cummins application solutions in the Oil & Gas market are stepping up to meet the challenge for cost-efficient options that are better for the environment. Ensuring customers are comfortable and familiar with the products and processes that go along with meeting that challenge is part of the commitment. Count on Cummins to be at the forefront of technological advancements in the Oil & Gas industry and ensure your applications and products are always on. 

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. She joined Cummins in 2018 as a member of the trade show operations team, but now supports the Marine and Oil & Gas segments’ marketing initiatives. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie spends her free time watching Badger sports.

Digging Deeper: Technologies behind sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact

Sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact
Less fuel consumption and carbon emissions deliver sustainable mining

This edition of our 'Digging Deeper' series focuses on sustainable mining. It outlines some of the technologies the mining industry is using to progress in sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact.

Sustainable mining and reducing the environmental footprint are emerging priorities across the mining industry. For example, Glencore allocated 16 out of 93 pages in its most recent annual report to sustainability. Rio Tinto allocated 12 out of 75 pages to sustainability, and BHP allocated 11 out of 115 pages. This goes beyond the pages allocated. Each of these miners have also established commitments to reducing their environmental impact.

Similarly, Cummins Inc. also aims to reduce its impact on the environment. In fact, five years after announcing its first environmental sustainability reporting, Cummins has already surpassed the carbon dioxide (CO2) savings it expected to achieve by 2020. Cummins has partnered with customers on fuel economy projects and avoided 12 million metric tons of CO2 to accomplish this.

What is sustainable mining?

Let’s define sustainability as the lowest social cost of getting the job done. For miners, sustainability is to deliver results with the least environmental impact possible. Across types of mining, sustainability has many fronts. These range from emission of pollutants and disposal of consumables to preservation of water resources.   

Sustainability in mining industry
Sustainability in mining industry

Miners pursue a multifaceted approach to improve sustainability. Let’s look at three of the ways the mining industry makes advancements in sustainability.

No. 1: Stringent engine emission regulations reduce the environmental impact

Engine emission regulations got increasingly stringent in recent decades. These regulations have significantly reduced the emissions of particulate matter (PM), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC). Less NOx means less smog. Less particulate matter means less accumulation of these particles in the soil or in the water.

For example, a typical Cummins engine used in a mining application emits 90% less harmful gases today compared to engines produced before the year 2000. Moreover, these engines are in general more powerful and more fuel efficient than their predecessors. 

No. 2: Reduced disposal of consumables is critical for sustainable mining

Greenhouse gases (GHG) tend to get the spotlight when it comes to sustainable mining. Meanwhile, consumables are another big opportunity for sustainable mining. A mine haul truck could have over 50 gallons of engine oil and would need a refill every month or other. With hundreds of haul trucks working 24/7 in some of the larger mines, there are lots of consumables to refill and dispose. 

This is where advanced analytics and telematics come to help. Let’s consider two of the newest technologies from Cummins: PrevenTech Mining and FIT. For example, customers can use these technologies to adopt a condition-based maintenance (CBM) routine. Customers using CBM can change consumables only when needed instead of changing at fixed intervals. This results in optimized maintenance intervals. Optimized maintenance intervals allow miners to use consumables for longer durations and create less consumables to dispose. 

No. 3: Less fuel consumption and carbon emissions deliver sustainable mining

A large haul truck at a mine could have a fuel tank as large as 1,000 gallons. This is equivalent to the fuel tanks of over 60 passenger cars combined. Moreover, each haul truck could require a refill every other day. Given the scale and consumption pattern, improvements in the mining equipment’s fuel consumption yield into significant reductions in carbon emissions. 

For instance, a mining contractor in Australia’s Bowen Basin has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of six trucks over 500 metric tons a year. The mining contractor simply replaced the old fuel system with a Modular Common Rail fuel system (MCRS). This fuel system features the latest innovations in combustion technology from Cummins’ Tier 4 engineering programs.

Whether it is air, water or noise, environmental considerations are increasingly becoming a top of mind topic for miners. At Cummins, we have bright and diverse minds bringing innovations to tackle these challenges daily," said Bob Schaefer, Director of Mining Innovations and Growth Initiatives at Cummins.

"In addition to the environmental aspect, our sustainability efforts at Cummins also expand into safety. We build a culture of safety. This starts from our everyday meetings, where we kick-off with a safety share, all the way to providing safety education to our technicians specialized in mining."

Interested in additional mining perspectives? You might also like:  

Wanting to deepen and broaden your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry. To learn more about mining power solutions Cummins offers, visit The Power of Cummins Mining

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Digging Deeper: Reducing machine downtime in mining

Highest quality engines minimize machine downtime
Minimize machine downtime with trained technicians

Downtime of a mining dump truck or an excavator could cost the mine operator over thousand dollars per hour. With such high costs associated with machine downtime, it is crucial for the mining industry to improve machine uptime. 

What is machine downtime, uptime and availability?

Let’s start with equipment availability. Equipment availability as the duration the equipment is ready when it matters. This is important for many applications, including you being able to do something personal like drive your car when you need it. 

Equipment or machine uptime is the duration the equipment can work when it matters. We can consider machine availability and machine uptime the same for the rest of this article. 

Equipment or machine downtime is the opposite of machine uptime. Machine downtime is the duration the machine can’t work when needed.

Equipment uptime or machine downtime are critical for many industries. However, two factors make these exceptionally important across types of mining. These are costs associated with machine downtime and the continuous need for the equipment to operate. A typical mine works 24/7 throughout the year, for years to decades. A mining haul truck could work for over 600 hours a month. This is the equivalent of two years of driving for an average U.S. driver

Given the importance of equipment availability for miners, let’s get into five impactful ways to boost equipment and machine uptime.

No. 1: Begin with the highest quality engines to minimize machine downtime

Miners benefit from working with partners that offer extensive aftermarket capabilities. Meanwhile, the best starting point for mine operators to maximize machine uptime and availability is to have reliable engines. This is a proactive approach. It focuses on avoiding engine issues instead of trying to repair them.

Here is a real-life example on how engine reliability makes a difference. A customer from an Arizona (USA) mine site had concerns. It was because their non-Cummins engines powering their haul trucks were not performing at the quality needed. The customer has decided to switch to Cummins QSK60 engines. The customer consequently reported a 43% improvement in mean time to failure and a 69% improvement in mean time to repair. This is a great example of how reliable engines can help you minimize equipment downtime and maximize uptime.

No. 2: Reduce machine downtime by having access to plentiful spare engines

You can reduce equipment downtime and prevent financial losses by leveraging spare engines. Miners can use these spare engines while the primary engines are going through planned or unplanned service. You do not need to buy and own these extra engines. Instead, you can work with partners capable of offering this service to you.

Cummins offers over 1,000 support engines ready to be shipped to our partners in the mining industry. This number is higher than the annual engine production of some of the smaller mining engine manufacturers.

No. 3: Reduce rebuild time with capable and nearby rebuild centers

Rebuilding an engine instead of buying a new one helps mining operators reduce total life cycle cost of their equipment. Larger engine manufacturers offer the re-build service through dedicated facilities. Location and capability of these facilities are critical. This is because an average mining dump truck engine weighs 20,000 pounds, equivalent to five midsize passenger cars combined.   

Engine rebuild facilities help to reduce equipment downtime
Engine rebuild facilities help to reduce equipment downtime

Reducing rebuild time also helps with maximizing the mining equipment uptime. 

Cummins has 16 master rebuild centers around the world. These centers are capable to rebuild high horsepower engines. The certified rebuild process, from teardown to final inspection, is a detailed 600-step procedure to ensure the highest quality. 

No. 4: Minimize machine downtime with trained technicians ready for you

Even the most durable engines need planned and, in some cases, unplanned maintenance. Mine sites, with their remote locations, present a unique challenge for technicians to respond in a rapid manner. One-way Cummins addresses this challenge is to offer on-site aftermarket support for mining customers that aim to boost equipment uptime and availability. This comes in addition to having 1,000+ trained technicians at various Cummins locations.

The Julong Copper Mine is a great example spotlighting how Cummins goes to great heights. Cummins maintains over 10 aftermarket support team members on site, located at an altitude of 5,500 meters.

No. 5: Leverage advanced analytics and telematics to increase equipment uptime

How much money would you have saved if you knew what component to change and when? While you are reflecting on it, look at how a Chilean mine operator saved over $1M and minimized downtime. Simply by taking advantage of telematics and data-enabled services. 

Condition-based maintenance (CBM), offered through PrevenTech Mining, is at the core of telematics. CBM helps miners improve equipment availability and uptime. CBM helps miners to prevent unscheduled maintenance and to better plan scheduled maintenance.

Availability is and will continue to be a key driver for the mining industry to deliver superior financial performance. Miners interested in boosting their equipment’s availability can seek partners that can bring strengths in spare engines and parts accessibility, capable re-build facilities, and readiness of technicians,” said Kevin Spiller, Director of Mining Business at Cummins.

Interested in additional mining perspectives? You might also like: 

Interested in deepening and broadening your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry. To learn more about mining power solutions Cummins offers, visit The Power of Cummins Mining

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Deepen your expertise in mining. Sign-up to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Digging Deeper: Path to increased mining equipment productivity

Extended maintenance intervals deliver higher productivity
Engines to deliver high productivity in extreme conditions

Let’s define productivity as getting the job done faster. Increased mining equipment productivity helps miners do more with less. In the mining business, productivity is sometimes less space allocated to an engine, leaving extra room for more payload. Sometimes, it is less time for mine haul trucks to accelerate, thus maximizing the number of trips a day. 

Miners have several opportunities to improve the productivity of mining equipment and machinery. This article focuses on two specific opportunities to improve the equipment productivity. These are most relevant to equipment ranging from haul trucks to excavators that operate among different types of mining.

No. 1: Extended maintenance intervals deliver higher productivity

The longer miners can run their mining equipment, the higher their productivity is. In most cases, mining equipment operates near continuously through days, weeks and months. This creates the need for periodic maintenance events for filters, fluids and beyond. In this quest towards higher equipment productivity, even these periodic planned maintenance events are open to questioning. 

Higher mining machine productivity through improved service intervals
Higher mining machine productivity through improved service intervals

Dawson coal mine in Queensland, Australia had firsthand experience of productivity gains. A 74% reduction of maintenance hours, with the use of new filter and telematics technologies from Cummins Inc. A combination of advanced analytics and telematics have helped the mine operator extend service intervals for fuel, lube, water and air filters and for lube oil. 

No. 2: Engines that deliver high productivity even in most extreme conditions

Miners are familiar with extreme conditions whether it is the elevation, temperature or accessibility. Miners also understand how these conditions impact the productivity of their mining equipment. For instance, reduced oxygen in high altitude locations result in losses in engine power. Loss of engine power could lead into more trucks doing the same work or slower progression of work. Neither are good solutions. More trucks would mean increased carbon footprint. Meanwhile, doing the work slower means low machine productivity. 

Cummins engines accept the challenge of extreme conditions in a variety of applications at China’s largest copper mine site. Julong Copper Mine is located at an altitude of 5,500 meters, higher than the base camp for Mt. Everest. The mine features over 65 Cummins engines powering excavators, dump trucks, power generators, drillings and bulldozers. Haul trucks powered by Cummins QSK60 engines have continuous uptime in this severe environment. The productivity of these engines makes them the top engine of choice at Julong.

The mining industry will continue to find solutions to improve the productivity of its operations. Some of these, such as the extended maintenance intervals and engines capable to do more with less, will help miners both on sustainability and productivity fronts. This is a double gain for the industry,” said Steve Cummins, Director of Mining Business at Cummins.

Interested in additional mining perspectives? You might also like: 

Wanting to deepen and broaden your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry. To learn more about mining power solutions Cummins offers, visit The Power of Cummins Mining

Ground breaking

Deepen your expertise in mining. Sign-up to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

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