Energy company wins accolades for its natural-gas rig

WPX Energy was honored by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Wednesday for reducing air pollution by using natural gas to power drilling rigs.

WPX last year deployed a rig in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin that runs entirely on natural gas, using gas from existing well pads and cutting costs for the company, and reducing diesel fuel transportation and associated impacts. WPX since has converted six other rigs locally to dual-fuel engines that use both natural gas and diesel.

Its use of natural gas results in a 24 percent reduction in overall emissions and an 80 percent reduction in ozone compounds, the company says.

WPX has received 16 awards from the COGCC over the years, for water recycling, reclamation and other efforts.

The company has invested more than $7.5 billion in the Piceance Basin over the last decade and plans to spend close to half a billion dollars locally this year.

Others honored by the COGCC Wednesday include:

■ Swift Energy Operating, for its community outreach, environmental stewardship and regulatory compliance in drilling an exploratory oil well in La Plata County, resulting in no public complaints.

■ Anadarko Petroleum Corp., for measures ranging from redesigning locations in floodplains to prevent spills during floods, to expanding use of electric motors.

■ The Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Department of Energy, for a project to use wells to intercept methane migrating toward an outcrop, capturing an energy source that otherwise would vent to the atmosphere and act as a potent greenhouse gas.


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