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Equipment

Natural gas extraction and production requires a mix of resources and equipment.

Drilling rig

A single drilling rig 20-50 feet high is used to drill down to the target rock formation and then horizontally to multiple unconventional gas reservoirs.

Trucks

One of the essential pieces of equipment in the supply chain needed to hydraulically fracture a well is the “frac truck,” which is used to pump fluids down wells at high pressures and rates. A frac truck consists of three major components: the engine, transmission and pump.

graphic illustration of fracking truck

Well pad

well pad

The surface location where multiple wellbores are drilled. Through pad drilling, 4, 10, 20 or more wells can be drilled from a single, compact piece of land – minimizing the impact on the landscape.

After a leasehold is acquired, and once the underground geology is studied and an optimal well pad location is determined, the well pad is constructed. (The well pad is the area where drilling and other operations will occur, and on which the necessary associated equipment will be located.)

Cryogenic plant

Raw natural gas must be processed before it can be used as fuel by residential, commercial and industrial consumers. A cryogenic plant is a facility where natural gas is cooled to sub-zero temperatures to extract natural gas liquids (NGLs).  The cryogenic process of liquefying natural gas reduces its volume by 600 times. That is like shrinking the volume of a 17-inch beach ball down to a ping-pong ball. Liquefying natural gas makes transporting it by ship economical, and costs continue to decline as worldwide LNG shipping capacity grows.

Compressor station

A facility that helps the transportation of natural gas from one location to another. While being transported through a gas pipeline, natural gas needs to be pressurized over various intervals.

A compressor is a machine driven by an internal combustion engine or turbine that creates pressure to "push" the gas through the lines. Most compressors in the natural gas delivery system use a small amount of natural gas from their own lines as fuel.

Compressor stations are located approximately every 50 to 60 miles along each pipeline to boost the pressure that is lost through the friction of the natural gas moving through the steel pipe. Many compressor stations are completely automated, so the equipment can be started or stopped from a pipeline's central control room. The control center also can remotely operate shut-off valves along the transmission system. The operators of the system keep detailed operating data on each compressor station, and continuously adjust the mix of engines that are running to maximize efficiency and safety.

Natural gas moves through the transmission system at up to 30 miles per hour, so it takes several days for gas from Texas to arrive at a utility receipt point in the Northeast. Along the way, there are many interconnections with other pipelines and other utility systems, which offers system operators a great deal of flexibility in moving gas.

Well head

The system of spools and valves that provide pressure control of a production well.

Separator

Separates well fluids into gas and liquid. The liquid settles at the bottom, the gas rises to the top, passing through a mist extractor to remove the small liquid droplets in the gas.

Frack pool/tank/pond

The hydraulic fracturing process requires water. Frack pools, tanks or ponds are used on site to hold the water that will be used during the process.

Pump jack

Pumps are required when the formation pressure is not sufficient to allow for the flow of the produced oil or gas at the desired or necessary rate.

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